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Universal Design for Bathrooms

August 1, 2019

In our last blog, we talked about the Universal Design Workshop we hosted for our design teams based in Newport News and Virginia Beach. As more and more homeowners opt to age in place, there’s a growing demand for universal design. This week, we’d like to share some examples of how universal features can be worked into the design of your remodeled bathroom.

Location, Location, Location

The fundamental principle of universal design states that the space should be accessible to all people, regardless of their age, size or ability. While many multi-level homes offer a half bath on the first floor, a universal home should have a full bathroom on the main-level. If your home is a single story, then you’re already on the right track!

Wide Entry

The average size doorway ranges from 30 to 32 inches. For a universally designed bathroom, opt for an entryway that’s at least 36 inches wide. This ensures ease of access for anyone who uses a wheelchair or other mobility devices.

Floor Space

Once IN the bathroom, there should be ample space to maneuver. A good rule of thumb is have enough open floorspace for a wheelchair to make a 180 degree turn.  Beyond the square footage of the floor space, it is also important to choose the right floor materials. Slip-resistant tile and wide grout lines help provide traction even when the floor is wet. If you like having some kind of floor covering in your bathroom, choose for a decent sized non-slip area rug instead of a flimsy bath mat.

Alterations

Bathroom features like your toilet, vanity and shower need alterations to make them universal. A standard toilet seat is only 14 to 15 inches tall. For a universal design, your bathroom should be outfitted with a potty seat that’s 16 inches from the ground. Floating vanities and ones designed specifically for wheelchairs will make accessing the sink easier for everyone. Instead of a tub, opt for a walk-in shower with a wide entry way. A curbless shower threshold provides the safest entry and exit.

Grabbable

Tiny knobs can be hard for people to use, so choose large d-shape door and drawer pulls that are easy to grab.

Speaking of grabbing, grab bars should be placed in the shower and beside the toilet to give your bathroom a safety boost. There is a wide range of metals and finishes available, so you don’t have to sacrifice form for function.

To learn more about the universal design options for your next bathroom remodel, reach out to our design team at Hatchett Design Remodel. Just call or visit our showrooms in Newport News or Virginia Beach… it costs nothing to ask!

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