Wood inlay flooring and furniture can be a beautiful, traditional accent. It's a very old art form, dating back to the Roman Empire. The real McCoy can be quite expensive, but today there are so many options to get the look and feel of this stunning technique. Above is the entry hall of world renowned designer Ellie Cullman. The design was inspired by a Russian inlaid marquetry floor in St. Petersburg. Instead of recreating the actual floor, it was faux-painted. I think it has a beautiful effect- you really don't want to cover it up! Image above courtesy of Cullman & Kravis, from the book Decorating Master Class.
Another time-tested application of inlay is on furniture. Here is an example from Pearson Company's new occasional collection. Sorry about the lousy image...
Above: The Compass Rose design is perfectly suited to a coastal home. Image courtesy of Traditional Home.
You can really take this technique in any direction- subtle or more decorative, as shown above. This is a center medallion, often paired with a border design to give a room the full effect.
I found this image on Czar Floors web site. It won the NWFA 2007 Floor of the year and is comprised of 45 feet of inlay. Talk about making a statement!