Universal design focuses on creating spaces that are accessible and user-friendly for people of all ages and abilities. Its popularity is increasing as people recognize the importance of creating spaces that are accessible and inclusive for everyone. When remodeling, incorporating simple universal design upgrades can enhance the functionality and inclusivity of your home.

Here are some popular universal design ideas:

Open Floor Plans:

Removing unnecessary walls to create open spaces allows for easier navigation and accommodates mobility aids.

Zero-step entry:

Eliminate steps or level changes at entrances to make it easier for individuals with mobility challenges or those using mobility aids.

Wider doorways:

Increase doorways and hallway widths to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. Aim for a minimum of 32 inches wide.

Lever-style door handles:

Replace traditional doorknobs and faucets with lever-style handles, which are easier to grasp and manipulate, making them accessible for people with limited hand strength or dexterity.

Slip-resistant flooring:

Choose flooring materials that provide good traction, reducing the risk of slips and falls. Textured tiles, non-slip vinyl, or low-pile carpet are good options.

Accessible bathroom features:

  • Install grab bars near the toilet and in the shower or bathtub
  • Consider a curb-less or roll-in shower for easy wheelchair access
  • Use a handheld showerhead with an adjustable height
  • Incorporating accessible sinks enhance bathroom accessibility

Kitchen modifications:

  • Lower-height countertops to allow for seated workspaces
  • Install pull-out or pull-down shelves for easier access to items in cabinets
  • D-shaped cabinet handles that are easy to grip

Adjustable or varied height surfaces:

Allow for flexibility in the height of countertops, tables, and workspaces to accommodate different user needs.
 Incorporating varied height surfaces, such as kitchen islands with different counter heights, accommodates users with different needs.

Good lighting:

Ensure ample and well-distributed lighting throughout the house to enhance visibility, particularly in hallways, staircases, and task areas.
 Well-distributed and bright lighting helps individuals with visual impairments and benefits everyone by enhancing visibility.

Color and contrast:

Use color and contrast to improve visibility, making it easier for individuals with visual impairments to navigate your home. For example, use contrasting colors for walls, switches, and outlets.

Accessible switches and outlets:

  • Install rocker-style light switches that are easier to operate than traditional toggle switches
  • Place outlets at a convenient height, considering individuals who may use a wheelchair or have difficulty bending

Smart home technology:

Consider incorporating smart home features, such as voice-activated controls, smart thermostats or home automation systems, to enhance accessibility and convenience for people of all abilities.

Comfortable Seating:

Providing a variety of comfortable seating options with proper support benefits individuals with mobility challenges or fatigue.

Emergency Preparedness:

Including features like emergency alarms with visual and auditory cues enhances safety for everyone.

These popular universal design updates not only improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities but also contribute to the overall usability and comfort of a home for residents and guests of all ages and abilities.

By incorporating these simple universal design upgrades during your remodeling project, you can create a more inclusive and accessible living space for everyone and help future-proof the value of your home.

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