Have you heard of “universal home design?” While the concept isn’t new, the name is, and so is the scope of what’s involved. In simplest form, universal home design is a concept designed to make a home accessible and safe for all, regardless of physical ability or age. It also goes far beyond replacing exterior stairs with ramps or installing a few grab bars in the bathroom. Universal design elements remain largely invisible to the casual observer, making a home look just like any other.

Curious how you can make your home more user-friendly? Read on.

In the Kitchen

  • Use pulls on kitchen cabinets and drawers instead of knobs – they are easier on arthritic hands.
  • Choose drawers or pull-out shelves for lower-level cabinets to make locating items at the back  easier.
  • Varied-height cabinets and counters are appreciated by those in a wheelchair, young children who like to help cook, and for other tasks like baking – rolling out and kneading dough on a lower countertop is easier on the back.
  • Reconsider appliance placement. Microwaves built into base drawers below the counter, under-the-counter refrigerator drawers, wall ovens installed at various levels, and raised or drawer-style dishwashers are easier to access for all.
  • Adjustable height shelves, pull-down upper cabinet shelves, and Lazy Susans make reaching otherwise distant items a breeze.
  • Single level or touchless faucets are easier on arthritic hands.

In the Bathroom

  • Choose adjustable-height showerheads that can be positioned at a comfortable height for anyone. To prevent scalding, install pressure balancing or anti-scald valves.
  • Install blocking between wall studs so that grab bars can be added later if you don’t need them just yet.
  • Install a new vanity at a height to accommodate household members of all heights, including those in wheelchairs.
  • Consider replacing a bathtub with a curb-free walk-in shower, complete with a built-in bench.

Throughout the House

  • Choose lever handles over of doorknobs.
  • Make doorways at least 32” wide.
  • Eliminate changes in floor height, thresholds included.
  • Lower your light switches and raise electrical outlets so they can be reached from a seated position.
  • Install motion-sensor night lights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms.

As the American population continues to age, the need for universal home design has never been greater – and as a society, we’re just warming up. Here at Anthony’s, we can manage all your plumbing and HVAC needs, especially those that involve kitchen and bathroom plumbing. Call today for more information and to schedule service.