The goal of every home designer and builder should be to allow the homeowner to live independently and comfortably. A wide range of products exist and most need consideration when remodeling, or building a home. Universal design products come in many styles and there are a number of different types for every room of the house.
If the designer is building a home custom for a buyer, work with them closely. Their input and desires are valuable because they understand what they struggle within a day to day life. However, if the home is being built to be sold on the open market, it can be hard to know the best additions.
Listed below are 15 different products that go great in every universal home. It’s a fantastic starting point to put together a decent plan for updates.
All Over the House
- Light Sensors – Removing the need for light switches entirely, light sensors turn off and on when entering and leaving. This removes the stress of having to navigate to and reach a light switch installed on the wall. If it isn’t possible or affordable to install these, consider lowering the height of existing electrical switches to a height easily reached.
- Touch Drawers – These types of drawers allow for easy access to belongings in multiple rooms. The kitchen, bathroom, and other rooms all have uses that these drawers would be helpful for.
- D Shaped Handles – When touch drawers aren’t possible, installing d shaped handles are very important. The shape of the handles make it easy to grasp them and pull open the drawers. It is also easier for people in wheelchairs, as knob shaped handles can be awkward and frustrating to use.
- Door Levels – Every door in the home should have the knobs replaced with lever-action handles, like the Ultralatch. This allows the doors to be opened without the difficulty of trying to grasp the doorknob and turn it. A simple down push and the door opens. That allows privacy to be had by shutting doors, without the worry of not being able to open them again.
- Smooth Flooring – Don’t install any carpets or put down rugs. The fabric can catch on walkers, wheelchairs and cause a higher risk for falls. Use wooden floors, tiles or laminate so it easy to navigate the home anywhere. If the homeowner misses the addition of carpet and other soft materials, add plush dining chairs to make up for it.
Universal Design Bathroom
- Rising Bathtub Walls – Installing a bathtub with walls that can lower and raise would be appreciated by any universal homeowner. Retaining the ability to have a relaxing bath is important and rising bathtub walls will keep that possible.
- Special Toilets – Putting a toilet into the bathroom that is exactly seventeen inches high would be appreciated. For wheelchair users, that means they won’t have difficulty getting off and onto the toilet.
- Bars – Grab bars by the shower or bathtub, the toilet and sink are welcome additions. They help balance and prevent dangerous falls. They could also be installed in other rooms if needed, like the bedroom by the bed, or in the kitchen.
- Non-Slip Flooring – In the bathroom, there is a higher risk of falls due to water on the floor and the possible danger of entering and exiting the shower. Installing non-slip flooring would reduce that risk immensely. Not only that but now non-slip flooring doesn’t have to be ugly. This type of flooring is available in a wide range of colors and styles.
Universal Design Kitchen
- Non-Slip Flooring – Here too non-slip flooring would be important. Water and other messes can splash onto the floor. Laminate flooring is included in the options available, so it can easily match the decor of a kitchen without standing out.
- Touch-less Kitchen Faucet: A faucet that doesn’t need the handles to operate is important. It is much easier to wave a hand under the faucet to turn it off and on, versus trying to grasp the handles from a wheelchair.
- Freezer Drawer – Refrigerators that have an easy to reach freezer drawer are far better than ones with the freezer on top. The lower height and drawer are easier to use for wheelchair users. An even better addition would be to have the refrigerator and freezer side by side so that nothing has to be reached for in the kitchen.
- ADA Compliant Stove – These types of stoves make cooking safer, easier, and more comfortable. All of the buttons, numbers, and handles are on the front of the stove and close to the user as possible. There is no need to reach over hot burners to adjust the temperatures or turn the oven on and off.
- Cabinet Plate Drawer- Installing a series of cabinets lower down can store plates, bowls, and utensils at a lower level. Reaching up to high cabinets can be next to impossible for some people and giving them the means to reach all of their tools is important.
- Electric Jar Opener – There are many tools that can be bought for a kitchen to make baking and cooking easier. Tools like an electric jar opener add to the homeowner’s ability to make food for themselves without pain or struggle.
The products above are only the beginning of designing a functional, safe home. Every room completely customized for the homeowner’s needs. When designing a home from the ground up, it is important to balance functionality with decor. Install the additions that will help the homeowner keep their independence every day, but they would usually want their home to still be stylish.
There are options for additions that blend in well with the rest of the home and don’t stick out overall. But, even if it isn’t possible to install something without it being obvious. don’t hesitate to do so. The new owner would appreciate the help and understand that not everything can match in the home.