Five Tips For Universal Design

Universal design is the process of creating products, services, and physical spaces that are accessible to people of all abilities and characteristics. You must understand how to work universal design into your plans in the construction world, even if you’re not a licensed contractor.

Universal design can make your home more welcoming to everyone, regardless of their age, size, or ability. Use these five tips to get the universal design right on your next project.

Understand Your Family’s Needs

Take account of everyone in your family who may spend time inside your home. Childproofing a home includes installing smoke detectors on every level, covering outlets, placing cushions on furniture corners, and securing large appliances to walls. If you can have your way, childproof your home even if you don’t plan on having kids. The older you get, the more likely family and friends will be visiting with children in tow.

Kids aren’t the only group you should consider. On the other side of the spectrum, we have our elders. Falling is a significant risk for elders, with pets being the main culprit. Keep a dedicated area for pets away from the elders. Widening doorways and adding grab-bars may be an expense, but it’s a worthwhile investment.

Here are a few other universal design ideas you can implement

Light It Up

Starting with exterior lighting, don’t be afraid to light up your home. Exterior lighting near doorways and on the floor around exterior walkways ensures everyone can get inside safely. Speaking of entryways, make sure your driveway is free from cracks and changes in elevation. Even an inch drop or rise can spell disaster for someone lacking mobility and/or using a walker.

Modify Your Bathroom

You’ll want to elder proof at least one bathroom, preferably on the first floor. Add grab bars in the showers and next to toilets, increase the lighting, and purchase non-skid bathmats and non-slip strips. For children, install a lock on the door that allows you to lock it from the outside. Lock up cabinets in the bathroom, kitchen, and other areas of your home.

Smart Home Systems

Technology can make everyone’s lives easier. Voice control systems are helpful to clients with mobility issues. Being able to adjust the thermostat, open and close blinds, and turn on lights.

Final Thoughts

There are an estimated 291,000 people with spinal cord injuries in the United States. 7.6 million people have vision issues. Millions of children and elders with no health issues still need their safety put into account. Universal design allows you to accommodate a home for everyone. Good universal design starts at the beginning of the journey.