Universal Design

New buzz word the last 2 years in design- what does it mean?

Universal Design is a new way to look at your space when designing. In a remodel it may help you make your home ready for you to age in place or more marketable as it fits all stages of someone’s life- anyone can live there and be comfortable.

Factor’s to think of when remodeling your bath with this concept in mind are:

Ample clearance.

For a wheelchair to make a 180-degree turn in a bathroom, there must be at least 5 feet of open space.

Universal design Showers

critical in a bathroom design is safety, including slip-resistant surfaces, proper lighting and features like attractive grab bars that can work as a hanger for towels or a support in case you lose your balance. “The same logic with universal design bubbles up into overall space planning,” says Diana Schrage, senior designer at Kohler. “We are providing more creative solutions for the long-term that are beautiful and are not a trade-off

Curbless shower.

The Roman shower without a rim to step over is the best design for people of all ages, and especially those who use walkers or wheelchairs. The shower has no lip at the floor, which slopes down toward the drain (in some designs, an infinity drain.

Grab bars.

Forget the tubular, obvious bars that scream “senior.” Who couldn’t use the security of a grab bar in the shower, after all? This feature is suitable for all ages, and sleek grab bars can double as towel holders until the homeowner needs the extra support, Perrin says.

Slip-resistant floor.

You can maintain the cohesive look of using a single tile design in your shower for the wall and floor while improving traction by increasing grout lines on the floor for slip resistance, suggests Diana Schrage, senior designer for Kohler.

Hand-held shower.

A hand-held shower is a necessity for those who have physical limitations, and the fixture is convenient because it can be used for a quick spray-off (even replacing a bidet). But where the fixture is positioned makes all the difference. “Most of the time, the water supply is positioned too high,” Perrin says. “The hand-held reaches down to your knees and that’s it. It’s too short.” Be sure the hand-held sprayer reaches your feet when you sit on the shower bench.

Shower seat.

A bench in the shower gives you a place to sit and bathe. You can use it for storage or to prop your leg up while shaving if you don’t need the seat. A triangular bench or seat that runs along the length of a shower is an example of two configurations.

Walk in bathtub

easier to get in and out of, soothing to aching joints. New designs are more aesthetically pleasing and Kohler now has the lowest step-in thresh hold ever.
No barriers. Rather than soap dishes and shower shelves that protrude, Schrader designs niches so people aren’t tempted to grab on to these features for support if they accidentally slip. Even consider water tile shower heads that are flat. “I try to design as few items projecting into a showering space as possible,” she says.

In the rest of the bath important factors are-

Tall toilets.

Opt for a commode that is 16 to 18 inches high compared to standard 14- or 15-inch high seats. Once referred to as handicap toilets, these “comfort height” or chair height seats, as they’re not marketed, are ideal for most everyone in a household.

Wall-mounted sinks.

Wheelchairs and walkers can easily slide under sinks that are mounted to the wall. There are no cabinets or pedestal which translates to more leg room.

These design ideas don’t mean your bathroom has to look like a sterile hospital room. The options out there are endless and most lend to a “spa-like” feel that anyone of any age will enjoy!


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