When color theory breaks down, when fashion trends reverse, when everyone else knows, just knows, the only right way to decorate your bathroom, only one question stands tall:

“How do you want to feel inside your bathroom?”

Answer that question. Then ask, “How can I use bathroom tile to generate that feeling?” Or, better yet, just take a look at the following five examples.

Shock & awe

Via bathroomjim

When you admit your proletarian neighbors into your bathroom, you want them to flounder in the luxury. Most people would lazily cover the wall with subway tiling and the floor with dirty white ceramic, but not you. You tile your countertops. Consider a straight-lay marble pattern with black grout lines, or maybe vinyl tile sheeting with an accent border. Just don’t overdo it. When in doubt, tile your countertop the same as the shower surround.

Home, sweet home

Asian-influenced bathroomVia Remodeler

You want a spa first and a bathroom second. Consider something Asian. Cover the floor with bamboo-look engineered tiles or a pebble stone floor. Dress up the wall with a roughhewn stone mosaic backsplash. To create a relaxed ambiance, choose earthy porcelain tiles and don’t use contrasting grout lines.

Manathroom (man + bathroom)

man_bathroomVia Durasupreme

Bubbles, smubbles. You get in and get out. Lavender is for losers. The key to a manly bathroom is straight lines and dark colors. Whatever pseudo-Hercules designed the above bathroom did it right. The same earthy tile covers the baseboard, the countertop and the left-hand wall. Vertical tiles emphasize the height of the bathtub enclosure, and behind the enclosure is a filleted wall that lets people know, “I’m a man, and yes, I know what travertine is.”

Retro Victorian

fancy_traditionalVia DoreenVolloInteriors

For a baroque look, let the tile speak for itself. In the above bathroom, the designer used the same stone-look tile for three purposes: a diagonal-lay floor, a brickwork wall, and a half-wall molding. The sheer wealth of stone-look tile screams British accents and NYSE and Porcellian Club. Note that Victorian-era bathrooms do not lend themselves to floor-to-ceiling tiling.

Ahead of the curve

red_bathroomVia BarneyB

In your not-so-humble opinion, only suckers pay four-digit figures for tile. You can create beauty with nothing but pattern: pinwheel, herringbone, windmill, basket wave — you know them all. The possibilities are endless. But, as you know, the best place to let loose is the shower or bath enclosure. Going all Jackson Pollack on the floor could turn the bathroom into chaos rather than art.

Which tile is your favorite? Comment below.