March 10, 2022
Every household has a unique living situation. But no matter who hangs their hat by the door, can it really feel like home if it’s a struggle to live in it? Enter: the need to design accessible homes.
The goal of making a home feel like home is to make sure that everyone can live comfortably in it. For some, it requires a few structural changes.
In 2022, more and more people are waking up to the reality that Universal Design needs to be baked into every home. Continue reading to understand the value of a universally-designed home.
Universal design is when something is designed to be usable, accessible, and understandable to everyone, regardless of their age or health status. The CIO Council lists seven principles of universal design:
Designing a home with these factors in mind helps to create an environment that everyone can comfortably enjoy. No one will feel inconvenienced and you can truly feel at home.
Maybe you don’t have issues getting into your house. Maybe reaching for things up high isn’t much of a problem. Maybe you don’t need much space to navigate. But depending on who lives in your house either now or in the future, that may not be true for them.
Does someone struggle or is unable to walk? You can see how difficult or impossible it would be to navigate your home if it has a lot of stairs.
Or maybe someone has a disability that makes grabbing and reaching for things difficult. If there aren’t tools or special designs to help with that, they’d need help often.
Are you thinking of sharing your home with a grandparent? They most likely want their independence. If they can’t live their lives without exerting a lot of effort, they’ll tire out quickly. Even worse, there’s the risk of accidental injury.
Universally designing your home takes away all of those inconveniences in a way that makes the home feel normal.
When remodeling your home, the goal is to not make it obvious that it’s accessible. Here are some easy suggestions to universally design your home.
Make sure all spaces are wheelchair accessible: Are showers and doorways wide enough?
Buy flexible appliances: For example, you can buy a fridge that has drawers underneath the doors. That lets wheelchair users get inside the fridge’s contents.
Use contrasting bands and night lights: Those with weakening vision could use some lighting to navigate the house at night without having to turn on all the main lights.
Handles over doorknobs: People with arthritis will have an easier time opening doors and accessing cabinets with handles.
Use adjustable shower heads and grab bars: Belvedere Health Services share that at least 60% of home injuries or death is from slips and falls in the bathroom. Installing these will reduce those chances of injury.
For outside, use small ramps instead of small steps: If entering and exiting your home requires going up and down a small step, cover it with a ramp. It’ll reduce tripping and make the doorway accessible to wheelchair users.
Automate your lighting: Oftentimes, light switches are placed too high for some. Instead, install sensors that automatically turn on the lights as you walk in. You could also turn lights on and off by remote or home security smartphone app.
Install slip-resistant flooring: As we said, falls are common among senior citizens. Replace the tiles and flooring in your home with slip-resistant floors.
Clear some space: Avoid having large objects in the middle of a walkway. Make your hallways as clear and spacious as possible so nobody bumps into anything.
The most important benefit is that everyone living in the home can live there without any struggle. They won’t have to feel like a burden to someone by always asking for help. Of course, you love your family so you don’t mind, but we’re certain they’d like to do things on their own.
However, there are other useful advantages to a universally-designed home.
One would be an increase in the home’s value. Let’s say you bought a new home. It’s worth the price you paid for it.
But as you make accessible changes throughout the home, it’ll now be worth much more. That’ll help if you plan to sell it in the future.
As a bonus, you bring awareness to others about the importance of an accessible home. If your guests have questions about why things are the way they are in your home, it might motivate them to make similar modifications.
If you’re selling, you can present these home features to potential buyers. You can mention features that buyers may not have considered to think about in their home search. Not only are you making that sale more appealing, but you’re also helping a new family have a more accommodating lifestyle.
Or if you don’t want to sell the home, universal design extends its longevity. You can age in place, meaning you can live in your home longer and the quality of good living stays the same even as you age. No longer will you fear needing to move out of the home you fell in love with.
A happy home is meant for everyone to be happy no matter what. And universal design is just the thing to make everybody comfortable.
Whether you’re designing your retirement home or making sure your resale value is high, email us at email@example.com to learn more about how you can design a beautiful, universally designed home in Pickerington today.
Heitmeyer Building & Design is a Construction company with over 100 years of experience in commercial construction and residential construction located in Pickerington, Ohio.
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