Universal Home: Creating Designs for the Aging-In-Place

A universal home is about creating an attractive, stylish design that everyone, regardless of age, size, or ability, can live in or visit. A home with Universal Design makes it easier for residents to live in, and for guests to visit now and in the future; even as everybody’s needs and abilities change. 

Did you know...

  • 49.7 million disabled people in the U.S. spec $40 billion on accessible products
  • 21.5 million of these are working-age individuals
  • 9 out of 10 people age 70 and over live in conventional housing

The days of generic designed products for universal design remodel projects are over. Today, these products are as functional as they are aesthetically pleasing for aging homeowners or those with physical limitations.

Universal design is designing for the needs of as many people as possible – those of different ages and abilities. The ultimate goal is to make the space convenient, safe, and functional for everyone who enters.

3 simple design changes that can influence aging-in-place designs:

  • Open floor plans with fewer obstacles
  • Create better access to storage
  • Use ample lighting

Mobility is key

Going from one room to the next might be a challenge, and it's one aspect many homeowners don't think about when getting older. One way to avoid this is to create floor plans that are easy for all people to use and spaces that can be adapted for people with specific needs. Areas where design can improve mobility include:

  • Widening doorways
  • Lowering countertop heights for sinks and kitchen cabinets
  • Selecting smart, intuitive appliances, and accessories that ease use and require minimal effort
  • Open floor plan, free of barriers, with fewer doors and hallways to navigate

Create better access to storage

Reaching up high or down low can be tedious and painful for some, but there are ways to overcome these hurdles through good design. Increase storage access by installing:

  • Cabinetry with features and technology to improve access to upper cabinets
  • Appliance garages or multi-use countertop areas
  • Storage where it’s reachable, so there’s an optimal storage level

Use ample lighting

Improving lighting to create contrast is crucial as we age, especially where there are changes in levels like stairs and doorways. Increasing the amount of light can prevent falls and improves overall safety by letting us see the details that escape us when it comes to performing everyday chores.

In kitchen and bathroom projects, it’s essential to plan for a combination of ample, layered, and natural lighting during the design process. Universal home design lighting projects commonly include:

  • Layered lighting with LED, which is ideal for longevity, energy savings, and safety
  • Ambient lighting with dimmable switches to control the atmosphere, intensity, and glare

It's no surprise that universal home design has become a hot topic as of late. The aging population in the U.S. is projected to reach 98 million by 2060. When incorporating universal design, it is vital to improving functionality by creating spaces that work for everyone’s needs.

Browse our Active Living Accessories to Create a Universal Design

active living prepares a home for the aging-in-place

Active Living accessories provided by Wellborn Cabinet is aimed at aging-in-place marketing. Active Living is available in select Wellborn Cabinet styles.

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