Universal Design and How it Benefits the Average Homeowner
January 18, 2019
Energy Efficiency vs. Energy Conservation
February 14, 2019

10 Benefits of Barrier Free Design

Custom Bathroom Remodeling

Barrier free design is for everyone. Together we can all make our homes (and other buildings and public spaces) as accessible as possible to those with or without movement disabilities.

If you aren’t familiar with barrier free design, you should take a few minutes and read a bit about Universal Design in our last blog post. In short, barrier-free design goes beyond what is required by the ADA and instead invites architects, contractors, and property owners to consider how they can make changes or prepare layouts that make moving (whether walking, running, or rolling) around a particular space as easy, simple, and problem-free as possible for those with full use of their limbs as well those who might be unsteady on their feet, wheelchair bound, blind, or who have other limitations or needs.

So, here are ten key barrier free design principles and how they may be helpful even for those without specific disabilities.

1. Stepless Entrances

Instead of steps homes should feature level surfaces or smooth grades. Even low steps can be surprisingly inconvenient or even dangerous, and adjusting designs to avoid them makes it much easier to move furniture, strollers, groceries, and more on a daily basis.

2. 1/2” / Flush Thresholds

From clumsy to toddlers to absent minded parents, everyone trips sometimes. Lowering the threshold rise at entrances and eliminating any other threshold heights at rooms or hallways within the house reduces the risk of tripping, and of dangerous trip and fall accidents in particular.

3. Large Curbless Shower

These hotel-style showers are great for several reasons. They open up the bathroom while also using space very efficiently, they’re easy to walk (or roll) into, look extremely modern, and can be quite romantic as well.

4. Bathroom Grab Bars

Today your legs and arms might work fine. But sometimes accidents happen and you or a child finds their leg in a cast for a few months. Or an elderly relative visits, and isn’t confident when it comes to getting in and out, or up and down. Grab bars, which can be installed very discretely to match your décor, are a tremendous help when it comes to safe, secure use of a toilet or shower. They also make great towel holders in a pinch

5. Kitchen Knee Space

By including at least 29” of clear space under your counters and sink you open up a nice storage space for trash can, bins, or extra storage. Or you can use that space for a stool and your knees, which perfect for long-dishwashing session or meal prep with no standing required. 

6. Full-Height, Adjustable Pantry Deign

A smart pantry design is one that allows a homeowner to maximize their space, and also the ease at which they can find and use the food inside. This might mean configuring shelves lower for those in wheelchairs or who don’t have much height, or simply putting favorite snacks up high and out of the reach of adventurous toddlers.

7. Extended Garage Space

Bigger garages make easy to fit a variety of vehicles without bumps or scrapes. They are also convenient for long-term storage of camping gear, lawnmowers, or hobby supplies. An expanded garage is something you’ll enjoy every day after your commute, and it can also make loading kids, the elderly, wheelchairs, strollers, and everything else far more straightforward.

Barrier-free designs just makes sense. If you’d like to explore barrier free solutions for your home or other property, contact Amber Valley Construction today. We’d love to help!

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