Floor patterns are important because things that are below us represent that which is fundamental. As a general rule, floor patterns should be subdued. Floor patterns that are visually arresting have the problem of pulling energy down because our eyes are drawn to the floor. Down implies down & out and it is almost never a good direction to move energy.
Stripes are very bad as a floor pattern—because they symbolize argument, and also because they can be extremely noticeable—imagine black & white stripes.
Checkerboard patterns do not have the problem of portending arguments, but they sure can be noticeable. Personally, I’m not sure I could stand living with a checkerboard floor day in and day out. I think it would work my nerves. However, if you like checkerboard patterns, I should say that I don’t think the visual busyness is a very big problem in the scope of things.
There are two floor patterns to avoid: Diamond and Starburst. They are never a good idea! A diamond pattern is like a checkerboard, except it has been turned 45 degrees. (Compare the photo below, left, with the photo above.) The right angles of the pattern then make poison arrows at every door—very bad feng shui. (So keep that in mind if you do happen to like checkerboards—the orientation is very important.) A diamond pattern is sometimes called a harlequin pattern, and it is often more of a parallelogram than a square (which makes the two of the angles sharper than 90 degrees, so more problematic). Starburst floors have the same problem of aiming poison arrows at all doors, and the arrows are sharper than right angles.
I recently consulted for a client who bought property only to find out that there was a tragic history associated with the lot. The previous owners had died in a house fire there. When I looked at the cement foundation, I noticed there was a steppingstone beside the patio and the stone was placed oddly. The cement had obviously been poured-in-place, so the orientation of the steppingstone was original to the house. The steppingstone was placed at a diagonal—it aimed a poison arrow at the house, so the fundamental energy of the old house was that it was turned against itself. The builders had installed a poison arrow on the ground from the get-go.
That covers the “don’ts,” so let’s move on to what you can do. Hex shapes can never make poison arrows, because the angles are too wide. Hex tiles come in large and small sizes and many colors, so you have many design options.
Floors can still be interesting and fun, without being chaotic or implying disharmony. This bathroom floor to the right is nicely active, but in a subdued way because of the color. The simplicity of the decor is perfect for a bathroom.
By the way, I devote a section of Feng Shui for Love and Money to the problem of a Wealth Corner in the bathroom. A wood floor is a subtle way to counteract the water-draining-away energy of a bathroom; wood comes from plants and they suck up water. (This “wood” floor is quite clever, too, since it is actually porcelain—much less maintenance and risk of damage in a wet bathroom. Porcelain and clay items are also excellent to bring into a bathroom, because they’re made of earth and earth controls water—think of an earth dam holding a pond.)