Universal Design Bathroom Concepts
Bathroom remodeling is a process. Starting with the realization your bathroom needs an update, all the way to the design process, and then choosing a builder, it’s a lot of time and money invested. Picking a design that will last you for many years will make the consuming process a little sweeter.
We talked a few weeks ago about Universal Design in the kitchen. Just like various-height kitchen countertops for every size family member, the design works in the bathroom to accommodate the entire family. The bathroom design works for children and adults, making getting ready easier for everyone. Universal Design even adapts to your needs as you go through the aging process, allowing you to age in place.
Including all Universal Design ideas at once may be out of your budget at this time. Adding concepts piece by piece is certainly do-able. Here are our Top Three Universal Design Bathroom concepts to include in your next remodel and why we recommend them:
#1 The Shower
When remodeling your bathroom, it’s good to make one element the focal point. This is what you want to spend the most money on, make the most custom, or whatever you decide. Essentially, it’s what you want to spend the most effort on. Choosing the shower to be the focal point makes sense. You use it every day for at least a half-hour. That’s 10,950 minutes – about 456 days – or one year and three months. Spending over a year in the shower, it needs to be comfortable and functional as much as it needs to look beautiful.
The first step is to make it a walk-in shower. If you don’t want to go barrier-free just yet, go with doors that can be easily removed. Curbless showers are always recommended as they look great and keep full functionality throughout the aging years. Having a curb on your shower will make accessing it difficult if you or a family member has balance issues, shuffle their feet or use a wheelchair. Remember to install controls and the hand-held shower head on the back wall with a diverter. Designing the shower in this manner will allow comfortable operation if a seat is installed later.
It’s better to have a flexible shower area, whether it’s for you to age in place or for aging parents or grandparents to have an easier time showering when they visit.
#2 The Toilet
It’s not the most glamorous element in the bathroom, but the toilet is very important. If you do nothing else to your bathroom, at least include a comfort height toilet. No matter your ability level, age or height, a comfort height toilet is welcomed by all. The height of these toilets is three inches taller than traditional toilets. Eighteen-inch toilets sit at a more convenient height—most important for those with mobility challenges. Bad knees from the golden days of playing sports will thank you as you won’t need to stoop down as low compared to other toilets. If your toilet doesn’t need replacing, risers are available to bring lower-sitting toilets up higher.
Wall-hung toilets are gaining speed with designers. Not only is their style clean and futuristic, but they are practical. The tank sits in the wall, allowing for the user to place the seat at the height most comfortable for them.
We also recommend toilet bidets. They’re luxurious and help keep the user staying fresh and clean. If you decide to install a bidet, make sure it has controls on the side as well as the remote control. It’s easy to walk off with the bidet remote and mistake it for the TV remote.
#3 The Vanity
An essential for any bathroom, the vanity is where you brush your teeth, comb your hair and wash your hands. Trending these days are floating vanities. Cabinets underneath the sinks are visions of the past. Clean, spacious designs are in style. The space created by a floating vanity is important to accessibility. It looks modern and allows people who use wheelchairs access to the sink as they easily roll under. If you’re not keen on the look, you can always hide knee space within the cabinetry or include a shroud around the plumbing under the sink.
Another feature to keep in mind is a backlit mirror. Backlit mirrors offer added illumination around the sink area.
Although they may not be necessary at this moment for you, grab bars eventually become an indispensable feature of every bathroom. They provide extra grip in areas of the bathroom where slipping tends to occur. We recommend having at least one at the entrance of the shower. Entering and exiting the shower are times we are the most likely to slip and fall. Having something stable to grab for extra balance will help prevent falls.
Consider installing non-slip flooring in the designs. Floors become slippery after showering and pose a serious threat to anyone, no matter their age. Non-slip flooring takes the worry out of slipping and potential injuries associated with falls.
Now You’re Ready to Design
Keep these tips at the forefront when designing your bathroom to create an ageless look that will stand the test of time.