Universal Bathroom Design: Access & Beauty

Universal design bathroom, accessible shower, vanity, hand grips

Do you or someone in your household need a universal bathroom design? Many homeowners are choosing to go the route of hiring a Certified Aging in Place Specialist when remodeling their homes. These types of universal design modifications are more expensive to have installed later. During a renovation or remodel, it makes sense to confront current design flaws that inhibit the use of your space.

On Trend, Custom, and Low Maintenance Options

Curbless Showers

  • Accessibility has come a long way when it comes to aesthetics; for example, curbless showers—showers with no step up, and sometimes no doors—are on trend. These spacious and beautiful showers can be custom designed with gorgeous tiles, in whatever style you like. Built in bench seating addresses the need for seated bathing. Combine built-in seating and reachable alcoves for storing products with handheld hardware allowing users to have a safer shower experience.
  • Flexible, detachable shower heads also make cleaning the shower an easier task. Not to mention the soap and bacteria resistant glass that many curbless showers use. Universal bathroom design makes life easier for everyone. Consider using slip-resistant tiles on the bathroom floors. In the shower, using small, or mosaic, tile looks elegant and also provides a slip-resistant surface due to the large amount of grout in between tiles.

Pocket Doors

  • Pocket doors with a 36” wide doorway both save space, add character, and allow for family members with mobility issues to move freely into and out of the bathroom. One benefit of pocket doors that many people don’t consider is the added safety of being able to open the bathroom door and assist someone who has had a fall. Traditional doors may swing inward or outward, meaning someone who has taken a spill may be further injured by the door, or inaccessible. Pocket doors are also trending because of the amount of room they save and the attractive options available.

Toilets and Grab Bars

Accessible shower, blue, universal design bathroom
  • Comfort height toilets are necessary, and nearly standard in their application these days. Consider the addition of grab bars near the toilet, and also located at both the front and back of the shower. Unattractive, clinical-looking grab bars are a thing of the past. You can now purchase grab bars in a variety of styles and colors, and even semi-camouflaged as shelves. Sizes of grab bars are varied, with smaller bars easier for people with arthritis, or other grasping difficulties, to handle. A variety of materials are available, with coatings that help with grip.

    If you want grab bars installed, then there is no better time than during a renovation or remodeling project. Blocking has to be installed behind shower walls to support the grab bars, for any type of installed seating, floating toilets, or vanities used in your universal design.

Floating Vanities for Accessibility

  • Floating vanities are perfect for universal bathroom design, allowing someone seated in a wheelchair to roll up to the sink. Reachable faucets and hand towel holders allow people who are seated to wash their hands. Mirrors should be placed at a height where they are viewable from a seated position. Storage should reachable, either in drawers beside the vanity, freestanding shelves, or built-in shelving at reachable heights.

A Remodeling Option Growing in Popularity

shower corner shelf, hand grip for accessible bathroom design
This corner shelf by Moen doubles as a discreet grab bar in sophisticated bronze.

Consider universal design when you take on your next bathroom remodeling project. If someone in your household needs more accessibility the value in these types of renovations is an improved quality of life.

If you plan to age in place in your home, or accommodate aging parents in the future, it is worth considering the elements of your bathroom’s design that could make it safer and more accessible in the future.

For more on bathrooms, see our blog on tub selection. Are you ready to get started on a bathroom remodeling project in your home? Contact us today to get started!

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