Of all available building materials, perhaps none is more well suited to the bathroom than tile. Not only is it easy to clean, waterproof, durable, and eminently practical; tile also carries rich color and has a reflective sheen that opens up small spaces -- which bathrooms most often are.
As designer Barbara Sallick observes, decorating with tile offers a host of possibilities. Machine-made tiles are durable and come in many shapes and colors, but handmade varieties offer a look that is, by definition, unique: No two tiles can ever be exactly the same.
Make sure to keep the size of the tiles proportional to the size of the room, and consider all of the creative possibilities of pattern. And, above all, hire an installer with excellent references who is willing to show you examples of his or her work, particularly projects that are similar to your own.