A well-designed bathroom will provide a lifetime of comfort and relaxation and it should accommodate everybody throughout each stage of life.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to incorporate what are known as Universal Design features during the initial phase of design.
In addition to using the tips below, it’s important to evaluate the bathroom to see where else you might benefit from adding Universal Design features.
The first aspect to consider is the size of the room. When it comes to Universal Design, bigger is always better.
A larger room translates to more space to move about comfortably or assist a family member who may need help from time to time (for example, getting in and out of an accessible bath.)
If you are remodeling a small-sized bathroom, consider borrowing space from surrounding rooms or closets, or bumping out an exterior wall to enlarge the bathroom.
If you are designing a new bathroom, keep in mind that, at a minimum, the space should be large enough for two people to comfortably share the grooming area and to incorporate a separate toilet areas for privacy as well.
Follow these five steps below for a safer, more comfortable bathroom:
1. Opt for rounded vanity edges to prevent injuries that can result when you bump into sharp corners.
2. Add an illuminated light switch on the wall just outside the bathroom to light the way into the room at night.
3. Lower light switches a few inches to place them within reach of young children.
4. Tilting vanity mirrors mounted on swivels can accommodate family members of all heights.
5. A shoulder-level recessed niche built into the shower wall eliminates the need to bend over to reach soaps and shampoos.
Bonus Tip: Storage units in the bathroom with many levels are ideal for a family where members might range in age from very young to old. Here there is a space for each to reach.
Since more fall-related injuries take place in the bathroom than in any other room in the home, take particular care when choosing the flooring.
Look at the qualities of resilient, low-maintenance, slip-resistant surfaces that reduce the chances of a fall, particularly when the surface is wet.
Matte-finish ceramic tile, tumbled stone, and embossed vinyl all offer nonslip surfaces that provide traction.
Simply stated, the goal of Universal Design is to create safe spaces accessible to every member of the family regardless of age, size, or physical ability.
The bathroom is no exception.
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