Did you know: Annual home improvement spending has increased on average since 2008? As baby boomers are spending more money at a faster rate than younger homeowners despite the housing bubble burst, the home improvement sector has flourished.
Fact: spending on home improvement projects by younger homeowners has improved moderately over the past decade; however, Baby Boomer consumer spending has nearly doubled.
“According to the American Housing Surveys. Given their greater longevity and higher incomes, the baby-boomer generation will seek to improve their homes for comfortable and safe aging, helping bolster demand for the Home Improvement industry. (IBISWorld report 44411). IBISWorld a global business intelligence leader specializing in Industry Market Research projects industry revenue will grow at an annualized rate of 3.1% to $191.5 billion over the five years to 2018.”
Which brings us to the reason for writing this blog post. We want to help clarify and give our own interpretation to the “Universal Design concept.”
A technical definition for Universal Design would be – the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.
The whole idea behind Universal Design is to make life as simple as possible for everyone. This is done by creating products, infrastructures, and working with the environment around us in more efficient ways to serve everyone at little or no extra cost. Universal design will help improve the lifestyle and welfare for your future needs.
Universal Design Features
Installing varied height countertop – Vary kitchen counter heights when applicable, for easy use by both tall and short people. A dual height kitchen bar can serve as a great conversational area.
Contrasting beveled or curved edges with contrasting color treatment eliminates sharp corners and defines the counter edge.
Designing zero-threshold entries: Thresholds that are flush with the floor make it easy for a wheelchair to get through a doorway. They also keep others from tripping.
No-step entry – No one needs to use stairs to get into a universal home or into the home’s main rooms.
What are your specific needs and must-haves for your home? How do you live in your existing environment? How can you design your home to better suit your needs?
Many of the universal design qualities just make common sense and are easily able to incorporated into your existing home. Once you bring these designs into your home, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. Take for example:
- One-story living – Places to eat use the bathroom and sleep are all placed on one level, allowing open space to flow in.
- Wide doorways –Doorways that are 32-36 inches wide let wheelchairs pass through. They also make it easy to move big things in and out of the house.
- Wide hallways – Hallways should be 36-42 inches wide. That way, everyone and everything moves more easily from room to room.
- Extra floor space – Everyone feels less cramped. And people in wheelchairs have more space to turn.
- Safety First – Floors and bathtubs with non-slip surfaces help everyone stay on their feet. They’re not just for people who are frail. The same goes for handrails on steps and grab bars in bathrooms.
- Quality Lighting – Good lighting helps people with poor vision. And it helps everyone else see better, too.
- Convenience and Ease – Lever door handles and rocker light switches are great for people with poor hand strength. But others like them too. Try using these devices when your arms are full of packages. You’ll never go back to knobs or standard switches.
What we look for in design is simple clarity with innovative ideas using a consistent approach to simple and pleasing design. Incorporating these simple Universal Design features will help create an ideal transformation with amazing functionality well into the future.
If you’re looking to integrate universal design into your home remodeling project or would like to learn more about our universal design services, please contact us to schedule a free in-home consultation.