Slip-resistant tiles, grab bars, accessible and multi-functional toilets – these items aren’t generally synonymous with style, but if you’re looking to make your space inclusive of people with disabilities or mobility issues, these are often necessities. A growing number of designers have recognized the need for universal design, a concept that emphasizes the need for spaces that are accessible to the elderly, people with disabilities, and people without disabilities. Flexible, all-inclusive spaces are becoming the norm, and gone are the days when a safe space was doomed to a homely fate.
Bathrooms are a great place to start. Everyone needs them, and they present a unique set of circumstances that are especially difficult for people with limited mobility. Climbing into a tub, standing for the time it takes to shower, navigating a wet floor – these are just a few examples of strenuous tasks. Here are a few design solutions to make life easier (and safer) for everyone who visits your bathroom.
Beautiful bathrooms can comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. There are safety features in this image you might notice – they don’t necessarily stand out because the design and style make them a natural, effortless part of the room. These include:
- Grab bar in the shower
- Shower bench
- Handheld spray wand
- Travertine tile
- Shower niches for products
Also note the absence of any kind of threshold at the entrance to the shower, which will be tremendously helpful when using any mobility assistance devices, such as walkers or wheelchairs.
Shower additions such as benches provide opportunities to mix materials. This shower bench is made of warm-toned wood, and set against sleek grey stone and tile, creating a modern, yet warm vibe.
Here’s another brilliantly designed bathroom. In a range of tasteful blue-grays, this wide-open space has many amenities compliant with universal design and is laid out more like a wet room than a bathroom. Something worth noting is the toilet, which is wall-hung. This is a great idea for anticipating the future: you can place it at a higher position than a standard toilet so that it is easier to get onto and off of.
Lighting is also pivotal in universal design. For those who are vision impaired or easily disoriented, lighting in the shower will help them get their bearings. A setup such as these LEDs on the shower floor can be easily integrated into an ADA-compliant bathroom.
With its elegant and fluid convergence of form and function, the rise of universal design is no surprise. It presents a beautiful way to accommodate everyone, which is essential to creating a welcoming, wonderful home.