When the term “design for all” pops up, you can broadly guess what it means. Even though the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed long ago, there are still some hurdles to clear for accessibility everywhere. “Design for all”, or, universal home design, seeks to change that.
If you are in the process of building a new home and are looking to do so with accessibility in mind, read on. We’ll go over everything to know about “design for all” when building a home.
Universal home design
When you are building a home using the ideas of “design for all”, you are designing a home that will be accessible to anyone at any point in their life. In fact, when designing a home using “design for all”, people are often doing so with the intent that it will be the house that they live in for the rest of their lives. This is what is known as aging in place remodeling. Because of a wealth of new home accessibility products, people can remodel their homes so that they can stay where they want, as opposed to moving somewhere that is more accessible to them.
Let’s go over some common elements in the home, and how “design for all” would come into play.
The older you are, the chances your vision will decline increases. With “design for all”, you would make sure that the level of lighting in each room was adjustable to fit a person’s needs. That means it could be as dim as you want, or as bright as you want.
One of the other things to consider when it comes to visibility is the height of the light switches in the house. For the sake of accessibility, you want them to be at a height that a person in a wheelchair could reach. You also want to consider the type of light switch. A person with arthritis might have trouble with a traditional light switch, therefore a sliding switch could be the way to go.
Everyday tasks require the use of everyday appliances. With “design for all”, you want to make sure that those appliances are accessible for everyone. For example, a front loader washer and dryer would be more accessible for more people. The same can be said for a stove. Having the controls on the front is much more accessible — and safe — than having them on the top.
Modern bathrooms are moving towards “curbless” designs. The actual show itself is typically bigger in a “design for all” home as well. This is for people with mobility issues or people in wheelchairs. By going curbless, there is easy wheelchair entry and less of a risk for those with mobility issues to trip and fall. Oftentimes people with the “design for all” mentality build bigger showers. A bigger shower allows room for all sizes of wheelchairs.
Curbless design can be seen in several elements of “design for all” homes. Anywhere there once may have been a threshold — entryways especially — you are now seeing curbless designs. This keeps people safe and is inviting for those who have mobility issues, vision impairments, or for people in wheelchairs. This way of living is known as barrier-free living.
Moving around the house
Hallways are the pathways to seeing different areas of a home. However, they can turn into obstacles for people of various disabilities. By making hallways wider, they are more accessible for people with mobility issues, spatial issues, poor eyesight, or people in wheelchairs. This makes the home that much more inviting.
The same can be said for doorways. By widening a doorway, you are making it easier for someone in a wheelchair or with mobility issues. Another thing to consider is the type of door handle on the doors. Typically, a lever is much easier to use than a knob.
If you are considering building a home using the “design for all” approach, please contact Lancia Homes today.