No Shower Wall Panel Dealer Left Behind – 6 Hot Remodeling Trends You Need to Use to Grow Your Business

Have you ever had a moment in your life (or in your business) where you’ve felt behind the times?

I can remember when I was a 25-year-old guy trying to sell my blue pearl Slingerland drum set (which I still assumed was hot). I remember a younger guy on the other end of the phone asked me what color it was. I said, “blue pearl.” He said, “Dude, you’ve got be kidding me, right?”

Reality slapped me in the face. The times, styles and popular manufacturers of drum sets had changed. I was old school. Left behind like a relic. I was beat down like an old drum head.

Conversely, if you’re a shower and tub wall panel dealer today pushing ‘Bath-in-a-day’ acrylic wall panels, swirly cultured marble systems which were were hot in the 80’s and 90’s, maybe there’s a reason your sales are sucking wind. Maybe these products today are as hot as old obscure glass framed shower doors and drop in tubs, like this image below.

Outdated bathroom | Innovate Builders Blog | Innovate Building Solutions | #OldBathroom #outdatedbathroom #BathroomRemodel #CrappyBathroom

Ask yourself, “Am I promoting the wall panel version of the ‘blue sparkle’ drum set? Have homeowner’s tastes shifted and left me behind? Do my products take advantage of today’s hot trends?

In this article I’m going to dish out 6 key trends in remodeling you need to know. When you look at these trends grade yourself from 1 to 10. Give yourself a ‘10’ if you’re rockin’ the trend. Give yourself a ‘1’ if what you’re offering is a relic (it’s the ‘blue sparkle drum set’ version of a fashion-forward remodeling product).

If your total score puts you in the ‘N.I.’ category (that’s Needs Improvement who those haven’t had the pleasure of seeing young kids report cards) let’s talk.

Remodeling Trend #1 – Matte is magnificent, gloss is going south

What do matte black, oil rubbed bronze and brushed nickel have in common?

  • They’re all hot hardware finishes.
  • None of them are glossy.

If you sell acrylic shower and tub wall panels, what’s the ONE finish you offer? It would be gloss.

Glass green high gloss shower wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Builders Blog | #HighGlossPanels #ShowerPanels #LaminateWallPanels

If you sell cultured stone walls and shower pans which finish is lower cost today? That would be gloss. It’s priced less (in many significantly) than matte.

Don’t get me wrong. Gloss finishes can look ‘ultra-cool’ in contemporary bathrooms (see below). However, your Millennial and 55+ buyers are overwhelming choosing matte finishes over gloss. If you don’t believe me, read 7 Critical Questions You’ll Want to Know Choosing Between Matte and Gloss Finish for your Bathroom or Shower.  

To ramp up your sales, you need matte finished wall panels. These laminate shower panels give you the relaxed matte look and come in multiple interior design styles.

Matte finished laminated shower wall panels | innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Builders Blog | #BuildingTips #LaminateWallPanels #NoTile #TileShower

Do you need matte finished panels to be a larger part of your offerings?

Remodeling Trend #2 – It’s all about size…when it comes to creating the ‘tile look’

You’ve just visited with a new prospective customer. They HATE their ‘1960’s special’ 5’ x 8’ pink and gray bathroom.

The mosaic tiles on the shower floor are dark, dingy and moldy. The 4” x 4” wall tiles are dated to say the least. Your customer moans their teeny-tiny tiles are not only a pain to clean and make the bathroom look outdated, but also causes their small bathroom to feel even smaller.

That’s why they called you for a free estimate. Their bathroom is ugly, high maintenance and dated.

Given this situation, what’s the last thing they want to see? It’s your 4” x 4” simulated tile acrylic wall panels. Talk about behind the times. I’m sure the only reason the manufacturer offers this ‘gem’ (sarcasm intended) is because they invested in the mold…years ago.

So, you decide to bring out your 12” x 12” cultured marble (or granite) stone tile pattern. However, your prospect stops you dead in your tracts. They say,

“That thing looks fake!” Ouch (you think). They go on to say. “The fake joint is the same color as the supposed tile. Yuck. It doesn’t look real at all.”

You listen to them and think (to yourself), they’ve got a point.

You need a tile surround shower panel which looks and feels like – well – real tile! You need a tile surround shower panel which comes in popular large-format sizes (24” x 12”, 24” x 18” and 24” x 24”) and makes small bathrooms feel bigger.

Large format faux tile stone shower wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Builders Blog | #TileShower #FauxTileshower #InnovateBuilder #BuildersBlog

You need to stop showing 4” x 4” simulated tile acrylic panels. You need to stop showing fake-looking cultured stone panels. Pull out of your sales kit these 3/8” thick wall panels which have a life-like grout joint (of a different color). Your customer will appreciate the realism. They’ll like that they’re available in large ‘faux-tile’ sizes (24” x 12”, 24” x 18” and 24” x 24” sizes).  

Remodeling Trend #3 – The Modern Farmhouse bathroom look is HOT!

Your customer wants to de-stress after a long day.

They want (no – they’re going to demand) their bathroom has the comfortable, lived-in, Joanna-Gaines-type look they’ve seen on TV. But there’s a catch. They want this lived-in-relaxed-look, but they also want it to be low maintenance. They love, love, love the Modern Farmhouse vibe.

Now there’s a challenge for you. What wall panels are you going to show them for a relaxed, low maintenance look?

You stare blankly into your sales kits and make these ‘genius-bar-like’ deductions:

  • Your glossy acrylic wall panels certainly don’t create the ‘weathered’ look.


  • Your cultured stone matte finished panels look OK. However, when you present the price, it’s not exciting enough for them to want to give you a deposit check.


  • Your decorative PVC panels are smooth and distinctive, but they don’t exactly conjure up the ‘rustic-feel’ your prospects want.

Is there a wall panel alternative to get the Modern Farmhouse look? Not until now.

These textured Shabby Chic wall panels look (and feel) like wood and are waterproofed. You can not only use them in the shower but can extend them into the bathroom as wainscoting or run them to the ceiling if your gutting the space.

Shabby chic modern farmhouse shower and bathroom wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Builders Blog | #ModernFarmhouse #LaminateWallPanels #ShowerWallPanels

Remodeling Trend #4 – The rich are getting richer. There’s higher growth in the upper income segment of the remodeling market.

When you sell a wall panel job in a middle-income town do you find getting a deposit check can be an uphill battle? There’s a good reason for this.

Although (according to the Economic Policy Institute) there has been job stability (a good economic indicator for in-home remodeling sales) in the United States, there hasn’t been real wage-growth (uninflated) in middle-income households.

And when you see your own payroll deductions for health care costs, this tightening noose around wage growth hits home. Sure, health care costs were going to be ‘reigned-in’ through Obama-Care, but how exactly has that worked out?

‘Back-in-the-day’ my Italian immigrant father-in-law (without a good command of English – he spoke broken English until the day he died- and an 8th grade equivalent education) was able to eek out a middle-income life by working 2 jobs. However, if Poppy (as my kids used to call him) was alive and working today, I’d bet money, he’d have a hard time with his lack of education earning even middle-income wages.

While I’ll say I absolutely love selling to the middle-income market. These people are real. They’re down to earth. However, they’re pocketbooks are getting squeezed.

If you sell wall panels (which have historically been sold to the middle and lower-middle homes), you know money is tight. You may be wondering, is there a way to sell wall panels to higher income people who want a higher-style, more customized looks?

The answer is yes.

You can now find decorative higher-end wall panels like the ‘Tyvarian’ cultured marble process.

You can find high gloss acrylic wall panels for owners who want a sleek, contemporary look.

Luxury market shower wall panels in a high gloss look | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Builders Blog | #BuildersBlog #HighGlossShower #GlossyLook #BathroomIdeas

You can gain access to the higher-income segment market IF (and only if) you’ve got products which fit the look they want. Your ‘Bath-in-a-Day’ acrylic walls ain’t gonna cut it!

Remodeling Trend #5 – The movement to Minimalist and Zen-Inspired Designs is Real

If your life is too cluttered, too crazy and too busy – then you’re just like your prospects. For the ‘sandwich generation’ (those in their 40’s and 50’s who have parents over 65 and are raising kids under 18) – a key market segment for bathroom remodeling – raising kids and taking care of aging parents makes a stressful life.

The sandwich generation (and I would add the Millennials also) crave simplicity. They need simplicity. They want to enjoy life (and experiences) and not get bogged down cleaning their bathroom (can you say high maintenance tile showers!).

They want a relaxed, uncluttered, spa-like bathroom which can ‘take them away Calgon’ (for those of you not familiar with that reference I’ve included this funny – yet old – commercial below).

They want natural-looking, simple bathroom products which reduce stress. They want to be ‘taken away’ (even if it’s not using Calgon).

You need shower panels which has a natural, simplistic look to grow your sales. Here’s 2 ideas you’ll want to think about:  

Cracked concrete minimalist shower and tub wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Builders Blog | #CrackedConcrete #LaminateWallPanels #ShowerWallPanels

Textured wood bathroom wall panels for a zen design | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Builders Blog | #BathroomWallPanels #LaminateWallPanels #TexturedWallPanels #BuilderBlog

How much more successful could you be if your wall panel styles fit the relaxed vibe your customers want?

Remodeling Trend #6 – The move to off-site production and less labor-intensive construction products isn’t going away any time soon…or ever

You’re talking to your buddies in the remodeling biz and you say, “Wow – I’ve got qualified installers banging my door down looking to work for us. I just wish I had more jobs so I could hire them all!”

You know this pipe-dream isn’t the construction business world you live in right now.

The more likely situation is you’re turning work down (or doing this without even realizing it) because you don’t have the people to get the job done quick enough.

Qualified field labor is a pain to find. Qualified field labor is costing you more to hire (IF you can find them) every day.

If you’re finding it difficult staffing 2-person installation crews to haul 130 pounds, 60” x 96” cultured stone back panels up a flight of stairs and into a 5’ x 8’ bathroom without cracking the panels or scuffing the walls, you’re not alone.

Is there a way to reverse (or at least make it less of a burden) to find the field labor you need?

The simple answer is to use wall panels which are modular, straightforward to install and can be put up by one person.

Check out these 2’ x 8’ shower panels. They click, lock and seal together. They make it possible for one person to install a shower or tub wall panel job alone. Does this sound like a good idea to you?


After reading these 6 trends how up to date are your shower wall panel offerings? Are you rockin’ it, or are you stuck with the ‘blue sparkle drum set’ version of shower panels which need a makeover RIGHT NOW?

If you’re products score a solid N.I. (Needs Improvement) I’d love to help you kick up your wall panel game. Check out this line of laminated wall panels. Call about becoming an innovative wall panel dealer to differentiate your business and take advantage of today’s growing trends.   


Call 877-668-5888 and ask for that wacky dude who writes those articles (AKA Mike). I’m looking forward to getting to know you and helping your business grow.  

If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn, you’ll find me

If you’re into Twitter follow me @Mike_Foti or my companies’ @InnovateBuild and @InnovateHomeOrg.

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Building Solutions.

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Building Solutions.