Are you familiar with the term “universal home design?” It’s a design concept that focuses on making a home safe and convenient for all it’s inhabitants, regardless of age or physical ability. You may picture grab bars in the bathrooms, comfort-height toilets, and ramps in leu of stairs. But while such modifications may be included, many universal design elements remain largely invisible to the casual observer. The finished product is a home that can be enjoyed by the young and the old, those with mobility issues and marathon runners alike, and will continue to be a comfortable, accessible place even as a family’s needs change.
Wondering how you can make your home more user-friendly? Read on.
- Install pulls on kitchen cabinet doors and drawersinstead of knobs as they are easier to use for those suffering from arthritis.
- Drawers or pull-out shelves installed in lower-level cabinets make locating and reaching bake wear, dishes, storage food containers, and pantry staples easier.
- Varied-height cabinets and counters make kitchen tasks easier for all. For example, someone in a wheelchair will appreciate a lowered counter while a higher counter eases back strain for taller individuals.
- Rethink appliance placement.An over-the-stove microwave can be difficult to access while one built into base drawers below the counter makes reheating food a breeze. Under-the-counter refrigerator drawers, drawer-style dishwashers, and wall ovens installed at various levels are a few other examples to consider.
- Pull-down upper cabinets, adjustable height shelves, and pull-up small appliance storage make reaching otherwise distant item less of a hassle.
- Touchless faucetsare easier on arthritic hands and help prevent the spread of germs.
- An adjustable-height showerhead with a removal hand shower can be positioned at a comfortable height for anyone and makes showering while seated safe and comfortable. Install a pressure balancing or anti-scald valve to prevent scalding.
- When remodeling the bathroom, install blocking between wall studsso that grab bars can be added later on.
- Similar to varied-height counters in the kitchen, install a new vanityat a height that can accommodate all household members.
- Replace the bathtub with a curb-free walk-in shower, complete with a built-in bench.
- Choose lever handles over of doorknobs to make opening and closing doors easier
- Make doorways at least 32” wide to allow ample room for a walker or wheelchair.
- Eliminate changes in floor height throughout the home, including thresholds.
- Raise electrical outlets and lower light switches so they can be reached from a seated position.
- Install motion-sensor night lights in entryway, garages, hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
As the American population continues to age, the need for universal home design is greater than ever. At Pann Home Services, we can manage all your plumbing, HVAC, and remodeling needs, customized entirely for your needs. Contact us today for more information or a free consultation.