Future-proof your home with universal design
(ARA) - If you're a homeowner, you probably consider your home to be a long-term investment. But have you thought about future-proofing your house to maximize its value?
Is your house large and accessible enough to raise a family? Is it possible that your in-laws may move in one day? Are you planning to stay in your home after you retire? Applying the principles of universal design can improve access and security, enhance style, and ultimately help your home meet the needs of you and your family for years to come.
Universal design is a personalized type of architectural planning that ensures accessibility on a universal scale to all people who live in a space, regardless of age or ability.
"Universal design enhances people's lifestyles," says designer and author Mary Jo Peterson. "It helps them do all of the things they've always done but it makes the space work for them, for their parents, for their children - it brings aesthetics and accessibility together. In short, it's just good design."
A number of changes can make your home more safe and accessible for all. For example, you can create a no-step entry with sloped walkway and tactile paving leading to the entrances of a house. Wide, open spaces and larger doors in the interior of your home not only promote accessibility, but also enhance the appearance of your home.
In the bathroom, Delta Faucet Company's Bathing Systems inspired by Universal Design help make the user's experience functional, safe and comfortable without sacrificing beauty. The Traditional Shower System from Delta Faucet is a stylish multi-piece shower wall set and shower base designed to accommodate users of all ages and abilities. With a zero-threshold entry and trench drain, there is nothing for the user to step over when entering or exiting the shower, permitting easy access by foot and wheelchair alike. The system features an optional flip-up seat for added comfort and convenience. Various model sizes make the unit a practical option for any project, whether new construction or retrofit.
"Universal design is not simply a medical solution to a physical challenge," Peterson says. "Rather it is design of products and spaces that precede possible changes in the lifespan of a home and its residents."
Technology also plays a significant role in universal design products. For example, touch-sensitive technology enables the user to manually set the volume and water to a comfortable temperature and then start and stop the flow of water with a simple tap. Light switches with large flat panels rather than small toggles are easier to control. Verve Living systems, for example, incorporates wireless switches that are completely movable and can be placed wherever it is most convenient to control lighting or miscellaneous electric loads through outlets.
By applying the principles of universal design, you can increase your home's value while making it a welcoming place for people of all ages and abilities.
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