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Incorporating Universal Design Into Your Home

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By : Matt Barker    99 or more times read
As our population ages, it becomes more vital to take different levels of ability into account when building or renovating our homes. By incorporating universal design elements into a new home or renovation project you can not only increase your number of potential buyers if you sell your home later on, but it will make your home more accessible to you if you find yourself having mobility problems later in life.

Universal design isn't designed specifically to be a home style for disabled or elderly residents however. The purpose behind the philosophy is that the designs are to work well for everyone, no matter their ability level, from the very young to the very old. Many of the differences that would be important in a universally designed home would be overlooked by someone without any disability. However, it is amazing what a difference that small changes can make in someone's day to day life.

One of the most important aspects of universal design is that of the entrance way. It is essential that at least one entrance way into the house be at ground level to make it easily accessible to anyone, including those with mobility problems. Along with the entrance height of the entrance way, it is important to ensure that the doors and halls in the house are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair and allow it to navigate through the house.

The bathroom is also a vital area that requires enough space for wheelchair accessibility as well as certain other safety features. At least one bathroom on the main floor of the house should be set up with a wheelchair in mind. It should have a raised toilet, lowered counter tops, and a curb-less shower for easy entry. Non-slip floors in the bathroom, particularly the shower area are also beneficial.

Most of the design changes that would be needed to make your house more universal design friendly are things like making space for a wheelchair to maneuver, large rocker switches, lever door handles, loop-style drawer and cupboard pulls, and other easy design choices that have an eye toward being use able by everyone. It's not hard to finish your house with some universal design elements, try to keep the principles in mind when planning your new home or renovation for best finished results.
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