Universal Design for Bathrooms

April 2, 2023

As our loved ones grow older, many of us find ourselves wanting to provide them with a safe and comfortable living environment that they can enjoy for many years to come. For this reason, more and more homeowners are choosing to age in place and remodel their homes to meet their changing needs. One key element of aging in place remodeling is universal design, which involves creating living spaces that are accessible and safe for people of all ages and abilities.

At Hatchett Design Remodel, we believe that everyone deserves to live in a home that’s safe and comfortable, regardless of their age or physical ability. That’s why we specialize in creating universal bathroom designs that incorporate features like wider entryways, ample floor space, and accessible fixtures. Whether you’re looking to remodel your bathroom to meet your own changing needs or to accommodate an aging loved one, our team can help.

In this article, we’ll share some examples of how you can incorporate universal design features into your bathroom remodel, making it a space that’s both functional and beautiful.

Key Features of a Universal Design Bathroom

Garrett Bathroom Addition | Hatchett Design Remodel

First Floor Bathroom with Curbless Shower | Remodel: Garrett Bathroom Addition


On the Main Level

The core principle of universal design is accessibility for all, regardless of age, size, or ability. For this reason, a full bathroom on the main level is a crucial feature for a universal home. If you live in a single-story home, you’re already on the right track!

Need to add a bathroom? A universal bathroom addition is a wise investment. Learn more about the value of a bathroom addition.

SHELTON HALL BATH COMPLETE ultra craft vanity coastal gray plainview shaker style charlotte pull chrome fantasy brown top enduring light gray tile

Wide Doorway | Remodel: Shelton Bathroom Remodel


Wide Doorways

The average doorway size is typically around 30 to 32 inches wide. However, for a universally designed bathroom, it’s recommended to have an entryway that’s at least 36 inches wide to ensure easy access for those who use a wheelchair or other mobility devices.

Hunting Bathroom

Double Vanities in Spacious Master Bathroom | Remodel: Hunting Master Bathroom Remodel


Open Floor Space

Once inside the bathroom, there should be enough space to move around comfortably. A general guideline is to have enough open floor space for a wheelchair to make a 180-degree turn.

Hunting Bathroom

Curbless Shower with Grab Bars | Remodel: Buchanan Bathroom


Slip-Resistant Flooring

Additionally, it’s essential to choose the right floor materials, such as slip-resistant tiles with wide grout lines to provide traction, even when the floor is wet. Non-slip area rugs are also a better option than flimsy bathmats.

Hamilton Master Bathroom - After - View of Vanity and toilet from inside the shower

Comfort Height Toilet | Remodel: Hamilton Master Bathroom


Accessible Fixtures

To make your bathroom more universal, features like your toilet, vanity, and shower may need alterations. For instance, a standard toilet seat is only 14 to 15 inches tall, but for universal design bathrooms, a higher seat of around 16 inches is recommended.

Floating vanities or those designed for wheelchair accessibility can make sink access easier for everyone. A walk-in shower with a wide entryway and a curbless threshold is also a safer option than a tub.

Hamilton Master Bathroom - After - View of Vanity and toilet from inside the shower
CALLAHAN HALF BATH COMPLETE wall paper wall hung sink Duravit WE moen voss single lever faucet chrome client supplied wall paper oval mirror gray paint
Moen Wall Hung Teak Bench in shower
Top Knobs Cabinet Hardware, Riverside Pull in Flat Black

Riverside Pulls in Flat Black | Remodel: Johnson Bathroom Remodel


Improved Grabbability

For easy access, choose large D-shaped door and drawer pulls that are easy to grab, instead of small knobs. Additionally, grab bars should be installed in the shower and next to the toilet to enhance bathroom safety. You can choose from a wide range of metals and finishes to match your bathroom’s decor.

Brooks Master Bath and Hall Bath Remodel

Recessed Shower Storage | Remodel: Brooks Bathroom Remodel


Recessed Storage

Recessed storage within a shower can be designed at a height that is easily accessible to seniors, eliminating the need to reach high shelves or bend down low to access items.

This also reduces the risk of an injury because items are kept off the floor, avoiding a tripping hazard, and within reach, reducing the risk of a slip.

As aging-in-place remodeling becomes increasingly popular, more and more homeowners are seeking out certified aging-in-place specialists who can help them design homes that are safe, comfortable, and accessible for many years to come. One key element of aging-in-place remodeling is universal bathroom design, which includes features like wider entryways, ample floor space, and alterations to bathroom fixtures to enhance accessibility and safety.

If you’re considering a bathroom remodel and want to incorporate universal design features, our design team at Hatchett Design Remodel can help. Our certified aging-in-place specialists have the expertise needed to create a bathroom that meets your unique needs and preferences. We offer a wide range of options and materials to choose from, and our team will work closely with you to create a design that fits your budget and style.

To learn more about the universal design options available for your bathroom remodel, get in touch with us today. Contact us to schedule a consultation with our design team. Remember, it costs nothing to ask, and we’d love to help you create a bathroom that’s beautiful, safe, and accessible for many years to come.

FAQs About Aging-In-Place

What does it mean to be a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist?

NKBA Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) can help you create a safer and more comfortable living environment in your home using universal design principles. Their expertise goes beyond design considerations to include common remodeling projects, accessibility issues, product recommendations, codes and standards, and the process and resources needed to provide a complete aging-in-place solution. With a CAPS professional by your side, you can trust that your unique needs as a senior will be met with reliable and effective solutions.

Learn more: https://ageinplace.com/aging-in-place-professionals/what-is-an-aging-in-place-specialist-and-how-can-they-help/

What are some other ways I can make my home safer and more accessible as I age?

There are several ways to make your home more accessible as you age. Kitchens and bathrooms are the most used spaces that can be modified to meet your unique needs and preferences. From larger entryways and grabbable drawer handles to walk-in showers and non-slip flooring, our team of designers can help ensure your home is safe and comfortable for you.

Learn more about the different home modifications you should consider if you’re considering aging in place.

Why is it important to consider aging in place remodeling?

According to a recent AARP survey, Data shows that 77 percent of adults 50 and older want to remain in their homes for the long term. To accomplish that, many homeowners across Hampton Roads need to make home modifications to ensure a safe and functional aging-in-place design.

Additionally, it can increase the value of a home and make it more marketable when it comes time to sell. Incorporating universal design features into the remodeling process ensures that the home is accessible to people of all ages and abilities, not just seniors.

What are the universal bathroom design guidelines?

There are no set guidelines for universal bathroom designs, but there are key features to consider: wide doorways, first-floor bathroom access, recessed storage, and slip-resistant flooring to name a few.

What are universal design bathroom dimensions?

While there is no official dimension requirement for universal design bathrooms, for overall maneuverability, the bathroom should be designed with a minimum of 60-inch turning radius.

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