When I worked at Paper Source and had daily access to fantastic patterned paper, I fell in love with gift wrap & ribbon. Now, it's hard to shake the habit of putting effort into my wrapping, but I don't always have a chance to shop for large sheets of perfect paper. My solution? Paint it.
I bought a roll of brown kraft paper at my local art store for a few bucks and just use inexpensive craft paint to make simple patterns whenever I need something wrapped. Some baker's twine and washi tape always finish the packages off perfectly.