A residence that is designed with universal home design in mind takes into account the unique needs and abilities of all residents and visitors. Those of any age or with any handicap should be able to visit or live in such a home without any difficulties accessing that home's amenities.
It's a good idea for those who are building a new home to consider the possibilities of universal design. This is especially true if a home must accommodate residents with a handicap.
Below are a few specific ways that universal home design can be incorporated into house plans:
- No-step entries- Having at least one entrance in a home that is step-free makes it easy for those using a wheelchair to enter the home. This step-free entryway may be placed wherever convenient, possibly at the front door, back door, or garage door.
- Wide hallways and doorways- Wider passageways in a home help those with mobility problems or those with a wheelchair to make their way through hallways and doorways.
- Controls and switches at a reachable height- Thermostats, light switches, and outlets that are located too high will not be reachable by shorter individuals. Therefore, universal design involves placing these features low enough for universal accessibility.
- Easily accessible kitchen storage- Many traditionally designed kitchens have cupboards and cabinets that are placed high up. A kitchen with universal design will feature storage compartments that can be accessed by everyone.
- Front-loading washers and dryers- It can be difficult for shorter individuals to reach into the bottom of a top-loading washer or dryer. For this reason, homes with universal design usually have front-loading units that can easily be emptied and filled.
- Non-slip floor surfaces- Non-slip surfaces on floors and in bathtubs and showers keep everyone safe and prevent falls. This safety feature is especially important for the elderly and those with mobility issues.
- Locks, handles and switches that are easy to use- In some homes, control switches and door handles are overly complicated and make it difficult for individuals with dexterity issues to access parts of the home. Lever-style faucets and door handles are a popular means of simplifying bathroom fixtures and doors.
- Adequate task lighting- Those with vision problems might have trouble seeing in areas of a home that are not well lit. For this reason, universal design often involves paying special attention to lighting in areas like the kitchen and the study of a home.
Talk to a company like South Florida Design, INC to learn more about universal home design and how it is incorporated.