Universal Home Design Ideas Benefit Everyone

Real Estate


1Universal design incorporates features at home provides accessible and safe rooms for all ages, regardless of physical mobility or stature. Including universal design upgrades in your home can also add value to your property and attract more potential buyers. Today many universal design features are quite stylish and can enhance the architectural design of a home. Other aspects of universal design are subtle yet just as impactful. Listed below are some universal design ideas worth considering for your next home update.

Wider doorways. If you’re planning a remodeling project or an addition, keep door-width in mind. Doorways that are at least 32 inches wide leave room for wheelchair accessibility. What’s more, wider doorways make for a more open feeling floor plan. Your home will feel bigger. And more spacious.

Change out the knobs. This is a simple change which can be completed quickly with great impact. Just painting over old cabinets can freshen up a room, new handles on doors, drawers and cupboards will give your home a whole new look. For a universal design approach, stick to lever handles and drawer pull options. These are easier for gripping and maneuvering; ideal for those with arthritis or other physical challenges with their hands.

2Update cabinets. Installing pull-out cabinets and cupboards will up the ante greatly when it comes to accessibility and incorporating a popular amenity in your home. Whether you’re physically challenged or not, with pull-out cabinetry it’s much easier to reach stored items and it’s a better use of the space overall. They also help keep these storage areas more organized, enhancing function and style together.

Make room below. Standard cabinet toe-kicks don’t take wheelchairs into consideration. A simple change in design, rising the height of a toe-kick is all it takes to allow for better maneuverability. Installing a lower countertop in the kitchen or bath with an open space below in lieu of cabinets will also bring more freedom of movement. Incorporating varying counter heights can also make family cooking easier for those with kids.

3Let counters stand out with contrasting edge-banding. This can be a unique design feature where you can add a bit color to your home, as well as function. Contrasting edge-banding along counter tops makes the edges stand out, something those with poor eyesight appreciate in dimmer light or late-night hours.

Focus on safety in the bathroom. For the young, elderly and physically challenged, the bathroom can be one of the riskiest rooms in the house. Installing some key safety features can benefit everyone. Install anti-scald pressure valves and if your space allows for it, replace your old shower or tub with a walk-in unit. Make access to shower and tub controls easier by installing them just outside the unit, as do adjustable shower heads. And yes, grab bars are still a key safety feature, but now there are more design options available, so they will blend in easier with your sense of style.

Discover more about the benefits of universal design with this article published by PBS Hometime. When you’re ready to sell or buy a home, you want to work with a Realtor® who understands the market and puts their experience to work for their clients. We’re ready to put our expertise to work for you. Learn more at our website, DriscollProperty.com, then contact the Driscoll Properties Team at 847-533-6786 to help you discover the home of your dreams.


Photo attribution Photo 3- new bath- By Alexander lau [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons