News from the Block, Innovate Building Solutions Blog
News from the Block, Innovate Building Solutions Blog
Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block
Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block

The 10 Commandments of Bathroom Remodeling Success

10 Commandments of Bathroom Remodeling Success to Save Time, Money, and Get a Stylish Bathroom | Innovate Building Solutions | #BathroomRemodeling #ShowerTips #BathroomTransformation

Updated December 26, 2021

You’ve decided to venture out into the harsh-cruel world of bathroom remodeling for your own home or one of your rentals. You’re no longer willing to be a slave to an outdated, unsafe and flat-out ugly shower, tub, vanity, toilet – you name it. You desire the promised land of a Pinterest and Houzz-inspired bathroom. A space which is relaxing, well-light, safe for your family, with plenty of storage. This bathroom won’t have you on your hands and knees praying for a savior to liberate your hand from your scrub brush.

Making the decision to remodel is easy. Planning and doing the job -whether you hire a ‘professional contractor’ (you may debate if there is such a thing) or rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself – is another thing.

You need guidance and support.

At times you need a savior to bail your butt out. Ouch!

How can you move from the vision of a beautiful spa-inspired bathroom, minimize the trials and tribulations of the construction process and be ‘saved’ from the nastiness which is your current space?

You could go into the Mojave Desert looking for a stone tablet with words of bathroom remodeling wisdom. I doubt you’ll find anything useful. You will locate funky lizards, cougars and tasty prickly pears (if you haven’t tried this fruit, you should – but I digress). Bathroom remodeling inspiration will be in short supply.

A better strategy – crank up your electronic tablet and put into practice the 10 Commandments of bathroom remodeling success below. Will they save you from all trials and tribulations along the way? I doubt it. They will get you a more inspired bathroom with less hassle along the way. Your friends and family may exalt you and your bathroom transformation – and even want to check out your ‘throne’ (I’m getting too flowery here). Let’s check out the 10 Commandments.

Commandment #1 – Thou shall not start without a plan  

A big reason people waste time and money in a bathroom remodel is they start tearing things out and buying showers, tubs, vanities and tops without a plan. Then they suck up more time returning things or trying to make something ‘work’ because they already dumped money buying it. This ‘no-strategy-strategy’ is a bad idea for your pocketbook and finished project.

Do not start without a plan.

Think through the following:

  • What features are useless or dangerous in your current bathroom?
  • What do you hate about the space?
  • Who(m) does this space need to be designed for to function flawlessly as you, and your home ages (gracefully, of course)?
  • Is the space large enough to do what you want to do?

Put together a rough sketch. It doesn’t have to be on a fancy 3D computer program. A simple sheet of notebook paper will do. Measure all the walls and locate your drain and plumbing lines. Figure out (at least conceptually) where you’d like the toilet, vanity (single or double bowl), shower and tub. Put basic measurements to everything. Talk to contractors and/or suppliers about your design to gain wisdom. If you have an architect for a boyfriend it can make this process go even smoother. The diagram below shows a curved glass block shower wall which was designed and built by Jonathan Nelson (an architect) for his girlfriend Kerry Danielson). If you don’t have an architect as a boyfriend (I’m guessing most don’t), a hand-drawn sketch will do perfectly fine. Now, you’re ready to proceed to commandment 2.

An architectural plan for a small bathroom which used a glass block walk in shower | Innovate Building Solutions
An architectural plan for a small bathroom which used a glass block walk in shower

Commandment #2 – Thou shall get wisdom (not from rookies)

You will not reach the ‘promised land’ of bathroom success with input from construction rookies – who may be cheap – but are clueless.

If you’re like most homeowners, you will remodel your bathroom every 15 to 20 years. This will not make you an expert on the latest and greatest products and installation techniques.

In addition, just because the contractor you’re looking to hire – “Billy Ray Bob’s Remodeling’ is thought to be ‘pretty-good’ – doesn’t mean they are on top of the latest trends to make a cost-effective, inspirational bathroom. Don’t be led astray by your contractor’s false testimony if they don’t have a clue. The question is how do you get the best wisdom without spending anything to get it?

Billy Ray Bob Remodeling Services | Innovate Building Solutions | #Contractors #BathroomServices #RemodelingServices
Crazy remodeling contractors like this you need to avoid!

Simply – start researching, start calling.

Pull out your tablet and search for articles and videos on the product(s) which interest you. Bloggers and video creators are often the most up-to-date resources in today’s marketplace (it’s their job for them to write and teach you about what’s hot).

Start calling based on searches on Houzz, Angie’s List and Yelp for reputable contractors and read their reviews. Call the best out to your home (note – only do this if you’re looking to hire a professional remodeler – otherwise you’re using someone – which will give you bad Karma). Get their input. A more refined design plan will evolve.


Bathroom Remodeling Ultimate Guide

Making the Most of Your Bathroom Makeover!

Commandment #3 – Thou shall design it to work for generations (or least for a good number of years)

Since you don’t want to ‘re-remodel you remodel’ (not sure re-remodel is a word – but I’ve seen it happen) you need to think about your needs down the road. Will this bathroom work if Mom or Dad need to move in? Is this space safe and easy to get in for all family members (the ones who are bigger than they wish and the little ones)?

One Level Wet Room | Innovate Building Solutions | #OneLevelBathroom #BathroomTips #AccessibleShower
A one level wet room shower system which used a base former to slope this pan. It was set directly on the support joists below the bathroom floor.

Learn about universal design remodeling (designing bathroom spaces which work for everyone). Find out about wet room systems, barrier free shower pans or low profile shower bases (see the picture below). Use products like shower wall panels so there will be less maintenance involved. More thought today saves you big bucks tomorrow.

Shower Base Basics cover page

Get Our Ultimate Shower Base Guide!

Step Up Your Bathroom by Stepping Down Your Shower Pan!

Low profile solid surface offset shower pan with a solid surface custom vanity top in a remodeled bathroom in California - Innovate Building Solutions
This low profile cultured marble shower base makes it simple to enter your shower

Commandment #4 – Thou shall not design it alone  

Decisions made in vacuums (without input) lead to costly mistakes or simple features missed which cost more to do after the fact (if they can be added at all). To get this input ask members of your family what they HATE about your current bathroom. What features do they need and what features would they ‘love to have’ – but could live without.

As a guy that’s been married for 35 years I’m getting better ‘trained’ on the concept of getting my wife Rose’s input -even though my wife Rose says I’m 100% correct. Yes – you heard that – I’m the first guy in the history of 35-year marriages whose wife says he is 100% correct. The problem is Rose says I’m 100% correct from my perspective (which is not always one she agrees with). What’s the moral of this short story?

If you’re married, have a partner or significant ‘utter,’ get their input. If you’re designing a shower for a vacation home rental or Air BNB you own with others make sure to include them. Keep yourself out of hot water AND make better remodeling decisions. Happy wife (husband, partner or significant ‘utter’) = happy life.

Commandment #5 – Thou shall not be a slave to resale remodeling myths perpetuated by others  

You must have a bathtub, says Sally ISellALotofRealEstate (she has a funny last name, doesn’t she?) when you tell her you’re remodeling your bathroom and want to convert your tub into a shower. While it’s nice to have a tub – most people don’t use them. A tub increases the risk of falling and doesn’t get you as clean as a shower (note: if you want more reasons why a shower is better than a tub read 4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Listen to Your Realtor (why a shower is better than a tub).

Home Realtor | Innovate Building Soltuions | #BathroomTransmation #ShowerRemodeling #ClevelandRemodeling

While I have a lot of respect for realtors – just because they (or friend of family member) tells you something doesn’t mean it’s the best decision for you. Don’t be fooled by someone else’s truths for your life. Get wisdom – but have the courage of your convictions to make the best decision for you. Don’t be a pawn to someone else’s POV (Point of View).

Commandment #6 – Thou shall not forget the pain of maintaining your current bathroom when choosing products for the new one

I hear prospective customers hate of tile (and the it’s evil-stepsister the grout joint) daily. They want to blow up tile in no uncertain terms. They are tired of using nasty cleaning chemicals and a scrub brush to clean joints. Then, because of poor time planning – or bad information about selection options of grout free tub and shower panels – they put tile back in. They begin the ‘cycle of woe’ …. again.

If you hate tile, there is no reason you can’t do something about it this time. Wall panels are no longer relegated to ugly, white and fiberglass. Check out durable and colorful solid surface shower walls. Contemporary high gloss panels are another nice idea. New laminated wall panels give you the look of tile (that’s why there also known as ‘The No Tile Tile Shower) and will help you hold a retirement party for your scrub brush. Since these panels install simply with a click, seal and lock together system, they’re perfect for either your own home or a vacation home rental shower or Air BNB bathroom.

Large format laminate shower and bathroom wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions | #GroutFreePanels #ShowerWallPanels #BathroomRemodel
Laminate wall panels for single family, vacation rental or Air BNB’s


PVC Back Composite Shower Panels | Innovate Building Solutions | #WallPanels #BathroomRemodeling #ShowerTips # RemodelingSuccess
Decorative faux stone shower wall panels with a classic marble look

Commandment #7 – Thou shall understand the need for the light(ing)

While your bathroom will not elevate you to the light of a higher power – it can illuminate (OK – that’s a bad pun right there!) you to a better bathroom. As you and I age, improved lighting is critical (we don’t see anywhere nearly as well as our teenage kids or grandkids). Where can/should you improve your lighting? Consider these ideas:

  • Improve task lighting above your vanity countertop. Task lighting above the sink reduces the chance of cutting yourself shaving. I must, however, admit there is a downside. You will see more wrinkles also (bummer).


  • Motion detected LED in drawer lighting. Can’t figure out what’s in the back of your bathroom storage cabinet? Install a motion detected, rechargeable LED in drawer lighting system. They are cool and practical.


  • Lighting in the shower. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over 235,000 injuries happen per year because of slips and falls in the bathroom. These incidents will be more frequent for parents and those with poor mobility. A proven way to lessen falls is to and improve lighting is to add a transom window. Another idea is a shower head with a light built in. More lighting in the shower = less falls.
Glass Block Window Guide cover

Ultimate Glass Block Window Guide

A Clear Way to Transform Your Home!

Transom Window for Bathroom Shower | Innovate Building Solutions | #ClevelandRomedling #TransomWindows #ShowerWindows

Commandment #8 – Thou shall not abandon your uniqueness

Bathroom do not have to be boring. You use them every day. Why shouldn’t this room fit your personality? As New Yorkers like to say – ‘fuggaboutit’ – when it comes to doing your remodel based on resale. Enjoy your bathroom. Enjoy your life. The bathroom below is one example of this (check out the quirkiness of the pennies in the floor!).

Unique Bathroom Remodeling | Innovate Building Solutions |#ShowerRemodel #UniqueBathroom #ClevelandDesign

Remember you only live once – unless you’re Shirley MacClain and believe in reincarnation, and think your dog was once an Egyptian God!

contemporary bathroom remodeling cover page

Get Our Contemporary Bathroom Guide!

Tips, tutorials, and how-tos for the hottest design trends

Commandment #9 – Thou shall not forget you need multiples places to store your stuff  

Is your bathroom cramped beyond belief? Just like the bully at the neighborhood playground might have said to you back in the day, “What are you going to do about it?” My advice – look for storage everywhere you can find (or manufacture) it. Here’s 3 ideas to consider:


  • Manufacture storage in a shower wall cavity. Recessed shower niches save space and allow elbow room in small showers – and eliminate ugly, white plastic shower hangers over your shower head. Make sure you don’t put these niches on an exterior wall – especially if you live in a cold-weather city. Otherwise, you’ll have a cold shower and cold shampoo which look like a frozen daquiri – but doesn’t taste nearly as good. This first picture shows a fun tile niche, however – if you really want to blow up the need for maintenance look at the second pic with a contemporary brushed stainless niche which was used inside a low maintenance shower wall panel system.

Shower Wall Cavity for Bathroom | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerNiche #WallCavity #ShowerTips


laminate wall panels to get ride of tile grout | Innovate Building Solutions | #Laminatewallpanels #Groutfreepanels #WallPanels #DIYShowerPanels
Brushed stainless recessed niche inside a laminate shower wall panel system
  • Look above the ‘throne’ for storage opportunities. A little used storage space is above the ‘john.’ A few simple shelves provide a convenient place for towel or supply storage.


  • Vanity storage which comes to you. My master bathroom vanity cabinet is a mess but I’m not going to blame it completely on Rose and me. You see our insider the drawers of our cabinet is just one big open box. Rose and I go digging and digging for things and ‘attempt’ – mostly in vain – to keep it organized. A way around this dilemma is to install pull out shelves. They keep things more organized and your storage comes to you.

Commandment #10 – Thou shall not buy ‘pieces-parts’ which don’t work together  

Buying a shower system can be stressful – especially if you’re not sure if the shower pan, the shower wall panels AND the glass shower door will all work together. Who wants to get ‘caught’ buying the wrong sized product and ends up with big restocking fees and costs to return products? This would be NOBODY!

To protect against this type of problem – look for a high quality shower kit where the components are designed to work together (meaning the shower pan, wall panels and glass doors work in conjunction with one another). Also – when you buy this shower kit, don’t settle for a cheap kit which isn’t any better than your existing shower you HATE, HATE, HATE. And if you want to make sure you don’t buy a sub-standard shower replacement kit read, 13 Shower Replacement Kit Problems You Can Avoid

Shower Kit Replacement Guide

The Ultimate Shower Replacement Kit Guide

Clear advice on bringing your bathroom to the next level

13 Shower Replacement Kit Problems You Can Avoid


Bathroom remodeling is not simple – especially when you only do it every 15 to 20 years. Even if it takes you longer to get the ‘promised land’ of bathroom success don’t short-change the process without a sound plan and advice. Don’t forget to put the ‘you’ in your bathroom. Think beyond today in your design so your bathroom will ‘live’ well for you tomorrow (and you won’t have to redo this project)

I’d love to hear your words of wisdom. Please add an 11th, 12th and 13th commandments in the comments below.

How can I (or my team) help you?

If you’re overwhelmed by decisions and products in a bathroom remodel you’re not alone. However, we’d love to help. On a nationwide basis call us for input and shower wall panels, enclosures and aging in place products at 877-668-5888. For a local bathroom remodel call Cleveland Design and Remodeling at 216-658-1270 or The Bath Doctor in Columbus at 614-252-7294.

If you’re a remodeler or builder and want practical advice on remodeling products, industry trends, marketing and sales tips to grow your business (and cut day to day hassles), start reading my newest blog – Innovate Builders Blog. It’s packed with ideas you can use now. Click here to Sign Up for the Innovate Builders Blog.If you’re interested in growing your remodeling business – click here to learn how to become a shower wall panel dealer or call 888-467-7488 and ask for Mike.

If you’re looking for shower panels for modular homes or bathroom panels for assisted living communities we’d love to help. Call us at 888-467-7488.

If you like to hang-out on Twitter follow me @Mike_Foti or my companies @InnovateBuild or @InnovateHomeOrg for more bathroom advice (and a bit of bad humor).

Mike Foti

President of Innovate Building Solutions a nationwide supplier and regional (Cleveland and Columbus) remodeling contractors. Some of our product lines include glass counters, floors, backsplashes, glass blocks and grout free shower and tub wall panels

Comments (4)

  • Hello Mike, you comment about the saab th alone had me sold, this means you know a thing or two on the importance of the sabbath. God Bless and success to your business endeavors.

  • Gary – that’s a good point. A tub is a good feature to have when bathing little kids – but once those kids get old enough to shower themselves, usually the shower function is preferred. Appreciate your input! Mike

  • Your comment about not needing tub may be misleading in the fact that every house needs one tub. This is to accommodate young family’s with small children. After that, all other bathrooms need not have a tub. Just my two cents as a retired plumber.

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