Whether it’s finally time to update a family bathroom that’s seen better days, or you’ve decided to add some much needed extra facilities in your basement or new home addition, there are a number of universal design features that you should consider implementing in your bathroom remodeling plan.
But first, what is Universal Design, and why is it such a good design principle for bathroom remodeling in 2020?
Universal Design is a construction and design theory paradigm that seeks to make indoor (and outdoor) environments as safe and accessible as possible for everyone, especially individuals with any form of physical limitation or disability. It’s a wide-ranging approach that covers everything from the layout of a space to the materials, fixtures, and even lighting that goes into the final design, and the benefits that Universal Design brings can be amazing!
In terms of bathroom remodeling, some Universal Design elements for you to consider include:
Built-in floating vanities are an excellent choice to give your space that perfect modern touch. They’re also uniquely convenient when it comes to bathroom cleaning, as they provide fewer corners to dust around. But, just as importantly, they can be a lifesaver for those in wheelchairs, as the wheelchair user can simply roll up underneath the vanity and use the mirror and sink as normal.
Sitting on the toilet is the work of a moment for most of us. It’s not even something we think about But for those with disabilities ranging from vision impairments to poor flexibility, strength, or mobility, getting on the john can be a serious challenge.
Raising the toilet up helps with this process more than you might expect. Because the toilet is higher, individuals have to bed their knees and drop down less, and much less strength is required to get back up afterwards.
Standard doorway passages are between 30 or 32 inches wide. Unfortunately, this width is often too narrow for comfortable walker or wheelchair access. Expanding your doorway access to 36 inches opens up more space for easier mobility, and can make it that much easier for lots of family members to jump in and out on a rushed Sunday morning before church, or a Monday with the school bus fast on the way.
Bathrooms and showers are extremely high risk areas for aging homeowners, with most problems coming from slip and falls or tripping due to the difficulty in stepping over the curb or rim between the floor and the shower or tub surface.
Curbless showers, also called walk-in or Roman showers, fix this issue by providing a flat, level entrance to the shower that’s gently sloped to bring water to the drain. Just imagine how much easier this layout would be for someone transitioning to a shower seat from a wheelchair, or who was unable to lift their foot more than a few inches. Plus, these showers have a naturally premium, high class look, perfect for spa-style remodels.
Upgrading to a hand-held showerhead is simple and painless change, but there are many in the world who rely on hand-held showerheads on a daily basis due to mobility issues. Just imagine trying to clean your back front, and bottom side while seated, without the proper use of your legs.
Plus, hand held showerheads can be extremely useful for other routine tasks like washing family pets or simply cleaning your shower walls.
While many homeowners use non-slip pads or floor mats for different surfaces in the bathroom, bathtub, or shower to provide traction and prevent slipping, the best approach is to use flooring materials that are naturally non-slip and provide good, secure traction and easy cleaning in both wet and dry conditions.
There are a number of options to consider, with textured vinyl or grouted tile as popular selections.
While the other elements on this list can fit into any design, grab bars really demonstrate that you’re planning ahead and being proactive with your design choices. Aging and accidents happen to everyone, and homes usually serve many occupants over the years. You never know when a secure handhold could make the difference and prevent a serious incident.
Stylized grab bars can be installed in strategic locations around the shower and toilet area to provide an easy and secure grip point when transitioning onto or off from the toilet, or into the shower. And, if you aren’t using them any time soon, they can always double as towel holders.
If you’re considering a updating your bathroom or building out a new, accessible bathroom addition for your home, contact Amber Valley Construction today! Our team can help you create a Universal Design-friendly space that balances style and function, meeting your needs today and long into the future.