The rooms may be small, but a bathroom remodel demands more decisions per square foot than any other room in your home. Today, creating a functional and attractive new bathroom is more than choosing pretty finishes and fixtures; it also means addressing accessibility and safety issues.
Aging in Place Bathroom Design
When people hear the phrase “aging in place,” their first reaction is usually “I’m not old!” That’s why we prefer the term “universal design.” There are plenty of good reasons for choosing universal design elements when remodeling one or more of your bathrooms. When you choose to incorporate the principles of universal design into your St. Louis remodel, it ensures people of all ages, sizes, and abilities can conveniently use the bathroom.
Here are some great universal design features that look beautiful while making it easier to navigate and use the space.
Since most people prefer a shower to a bath, they’re at the top of the wish list for most homeowners. From prefabricated to doorless custom-built ins, they are easily accessible and simple to maintain.
A bench or seat in the shower is a luxurious spa-like touch that’s also practical. It can also be used as a footrest or a place to put bath products. ADA compliance requires that a bench be the entire length of the wall it is place along.
Most homeowners choose to install wall and/or ceiling mounted fixtures along with a handheld showerhead. One of our suppliers, Delta’s upscale line, Brizo, offers a full line of ADA compliant fixtures, including showerheads that are as beautiful to look at as they are functional for the whole family.
Great for providing stability in the shower and near the toilet, grab bars come in a variety of sizes and styles to complement any decorating style. Sturdy enough to support a person weighing up to 250 pounds, the bar’s position and height can easily be adjusted. Today’s grab bars often do double duty, like this towel rack.
Bathroom sinks work best when they’re accessible to everyone. Wall mounted or pedestal sinks not only provide more floor space, they’re also easier to maneuver. If you prefer a vanity, think about mounting the sink bowl closer to the edge.
Used on doors and faucets, lever handles are easier to manipulate, especially when wet.
Comfort Height Toilets
Featuring bowls that are 17 to 19 inches high, as compared to the standard 15 inches, a “comfort height” toilet can be good for people with knee and back problems.
Open storage shelves provide easier access to towels, washcloths, and bath products. At least some of your towel hooks or wall shelves should be placed within reach of a person in a wheelchair.
No floor is slip-proof, but slip-resistant flooring in both the bathroom and the shower is a must. Choose from ceramic, porcelain or stone tiles, or use vinyl flooring outside the shower. If you prefer wood, make sure it’s properly sealed.
Many manufacturers have developed hands-free faucets that use a sensor to detect hand motion. Others work by simply touching them with any part of your hand. Both options are great, but keep in mind they will require batteries that need to be replaced.
Finally, a word about walk-in tubs. Some people find it difficult to sit on the edge of a standard tub and sing their legs over the side. It’s true a walk-in tub makes access easier, but they have their disadvantages, including their less attractive appearance and the amount of hot water it takes to fill them. Alternatives might be a tub with a deck or a wide seat in the shower.
Ultimately, aging in place bathroom design allows you to create a space that meets the needs of everyone who uses the room, but without sacrificing aesthetics. If you’d like to learn more about incorporating universal design elements into your own St. Louis bathroom remodeling project, drop us a line. We look forward to meeting with you!