Universal Design is all about creating supportive spaces for everyone. Not only because by 2030, the population aged 65 and over is projected to surge by 65%, but also to create beautiful, flexible spaces for the rest of us. We need to design homes that are accessible to everyone from grandma to grandkids.
What is Universal Design?
When you employ Universal Design principles – the flexibility of the spaces supports the users, instead of users having to adapt to how a space is designed. For instance – a family may have a person who is 5 feet tall and a person who is six feet 3 inches tall. If you plan the kitchen and the master bath carefully, you create comfortable spaces for both. You also want to design your home for “visitability.” Think about your relative or friend who has trouble going up stairs. Maybe there is a friend of your child who is in a wheel chair. Or taking care of your mom after hip surgery with a pleasant and accommodating space to recover.
Why is Universal Design so important to New Construction?
- With a greater variety of people living in a home today, there is a demand for flexibility and multi-tasking within spaces so it works well for all the people who come into it.
- Most people want to age-in-place in their home. Universal Design concepts support and inspire us to continue a healthy and active lifestyle in our own homes.
- Sustainability is a factor. A universal home design will last without major future remodeling. Less future cost and waste. When planning your home, think how the needs of the space can change throughout a family’s lifetime. It is better to plan the design right the first time instead incurring large remodeling costs later because the hallway and doorways are not wide, you didn’t plan a space for a future elevator, and didn’t plan for a shower without a threshold.
- Higher resale value. If you want to sell your home, a home that is universally designed has many more potential home buyers.
Universal Design is best and most easily incorporated during the planning phase of your home. At this point it will be the least costly and most natural. Basically it will be invisible and more of an enhancement to the overall home design. Outside of the kitchen and bath areas; also consider the entries to a home, improving the lighting and creating easy access to storage.
The Universal Design principle is simple: To create a home that anyone could live in.