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I have seen some small plugins which will change the background of a folder in windows and tried to find are there any such things for Ubuntu and found that their is an inbuilt option for changing the background of a folder in Ubuntu 10.04 .Step 1:
Go to places option in the menu bar on the desktop of your Ubuntu and then open any folder from it.
Now open Edit in the top of your file browser which opens a drop down menu you will find a option "Backgrounds and Emblems" at the bottom of the edit menu. Click on it.
Now you will see a dialogue box with 2 different types of backgrounds namely patterns and colors .You can select any one from them and you will find different patterns and colors.To change background to specific pattern or color click and drag outside the box the color or pattern thumbnail and your folder background is changed.
You can add your favorite backgrounds,images,patterns by clicking on the "Add new pattern" which is at the bottom in patterns division.You can also assign emblems to each folder to specify the type of files in the folder.To assign emblem to a folder open the emblems division and click on any emblem and drag and drop into the folder you like.