Home Designs For Life: Remodeling Ideas To Increase Safety, Function, And Accessibility In The Home.

Episode 43: Universal Design For Bathrooms

February 08, 2023 Janet Engel Season 3 Episode 43
Home Designs For Life: Remodeling Ideas To Increase Safety, Function, And Accessibility In The Home.
Episode 43: Universal Design For Bathrooms
Show Notes Transcript

Universal Design For Bathrooms is an idea that has been gaining traction in recent years. Its aim is to make bathrooms more accessible for people with physical disabilities, as well as making them safer and more comfortable for everyone who uses them.

This concept applies to a variety of design elements, such as layout, fixtures and fittings, safety considerations, and more.

As an occupational therapist working in the home health sector for over 10 years, I experienced first hand how the bathroom can greatly limit a persons independence, quality of life, and jeopardize their health.

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Hello everyone and thank you for being with me today. last podcast episode, we talked about universal design for kitchens. And for this episode, I am going to talk about universal design for bathrooms. let's start by saying that universal design for bathrooms has become more popular in recent years, especially with more and more baby boomers turning of age. Its aim is to make bathrooms more accessible for people with physical disabilities, as well as making them safer and more comfortable for everyone who uses them. And this also includes children. This concept applies to a variety of design elements such as layout, fixtures and fittings, safety considerations, and more. As an occupational therapist working in the home health sector for over 10 years, I experienced firsthand how the bathroom can greatly limit a person's independence, quality of life, and jeopardize their health. Traditional toilets, traditional tubs, lack of a handheld shower head and ill placed shower doors can all limit ease of use, and moreover, create safety hazards. Few current homes are being built with accessible design in mind by taking into account the needs of all users. Universal design elements can help create a space that is not just functional, but also enjoyable to use. let's move on to what are universal design standards for bathroom? While universal design for bathrooms is an approach to bathroom design that follows principles of universal. The main goal of this type of design is to create a space that is accessible and usable by people of all ages, sizes, and physical abilities. It considers the needs of individuals with disabilities or limited mobility, as well as those without them. This approach focuses on creating a space that is efficient, comfortable. And convenient for all users. some of the elements that Universal design includes is widening doorways and hallways to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Installing grab bars in the shower or bathtub area. And remember now there are many product lines that make beautiful grab bars that don't even look like grab bars. For example, Ponte Giulio makes them. Moen also makes some beautiful grab bars, so be sure to look online and see what's out there. moving on your toilet area as well as along walls to help people with mobility issues. Stay steady, designing bathrooms that are fully wheelchair accessible, including lower sinks and countertops, rolling showers and wide turning radiuses for easy movement between fixtures. Installing adjustable shower heads or handheld shower wands at different heights so that users of all sizes can use them comfortably. Installing non-slip flooring to reduce the risk of slips and falls, providing adequate lighting and using bright colors on walls, floors, and fixtures to increase visibility. Using lever handles throughout the bathroom for easier grip and manipulation. These elements have been designed to maximize safety, accessibility, convenience, and comfort for all users. Additional features such as grab bars, lowered mirrors, and L E d backlit mirrors raise toilet seats can further improve safety and access. did you know that there is free bathroom design software out there that you can use to design your bathroom? Well, yes there is. So I will give you examples of some of these. Free software platforms and this article will also be posted in the show notes of the podcast episode, and I have links to all of these different software platforms. we will begin by about some of the best free bathroom design software programs include room sketcher, Autodesk. Home Styler Design A Room and CAD Pro. Each program offers different features and tools to help you create your perfect bathroom. For instance, room Sketcher allows you to easily drag and drop furniture and fixtures into a 3D model of your bathroom. While Autodesk Home Styler offers a library of over 500,000 materials and finish. To choose from. Designing Room also offers customizable templates for quicker designing, along with features such as photorealistic, 3D models and virtual tours. And finally, CAD Pro provides step-by-step instruction for all aspects of bathroom design, from plumbing to flooring and lighting. let's talk about. What are the four types of bathroom options when it comes to design? number one, you have your traditional bathrooms. This style bathroom makes use of classic materials such as wood, marble, and ceramics to create a timeless look. That never goes out of style. Number two, your contemporary bathroom. This type of bathroom is all about creating a modern, sleek aesthetic with contemporary fixtures, fittings and accessories. Think glass chrome and stainless steel. Industrial bathrooms. The industrial bathroom look brings a touch of edgy sophistication to the bathroom with a mix of metal and raw materials like brick, stone, and wood. Number four, eclectic bathrooms. This style is all about making a bold statement. It combines eclectic f. Funky accessories and an inventive use of color to create a unique look that is sure to make your bathroom stand out. So no matter what type of bathroom you're looking for, there is something for everyone to choose from. And all of these different styles will accommodate universal design. All right, so now let's talk about the rules of a bathroom layout. When designing a bathroom, there are some key points to keep in mind. The most important rule of thumb is to create an ergonomic layout that promotes easy navigation and access. This means looking into the size of the room where doors and windows should be. And how much space is needed for bathing and dressing. It's also important to take into account the placement of fixtures such as sinks and toilets. These items should be placed in a way that allows easy access for everyone who may use them, and also doesn't impede movement when entering or leaving the bathroom. The design of the bathroom should also reflect its. consider how you plan to use it. If you're creating a luxurious spa-like experience, consider adding extra amenities such as a larger shower area. It is also a good idea to incorporate shelving and cabinets into your design. Bathroom layouts should also be designed to ensure proper ventilation, lighting, and acoustic. If you are using natural light, make sure it comes from the correct direction to prevent glare. Consider installing a fan or two to circulate air and use sound absorbing materials for floors and walls to minimize noise. Finally, remember that comfort should be your first priority when designing a bathroom. Universal design bathroom dimensions, proper dimensions in a bathroom are essential to provide full accessibility for people of all sizes and abilities. The goal is to create a space that allows users of different sizes, ages, and physical abilities to use the bathroom without assistance or modification. This includes making sure there is ample headroom clearance, adequate room widths between fixtures, and providing easy to reach ergonomic controls. Double check measurements when purchasing fixtures and accessories to ensure the layout is comfortable for everyone. A well-designed universal bathroom includes a five foot clearing. At the entrance, which allows wheelchair users to make a 180 degree turn. This also gives people with limited mobility room to move freely in and out of the bathroom without obstacles. When designing the layout, be sure to provide an access aisle at least 32 inches wide and 60 inches long. To ensure people in wheelchairs can use sink and toilet fixtures with ease. When planning the layout, consider the height for grab bars. The height should be specific to what the individual. If possible, the toilet should also be within a few inches of the grab bar. Additionally, the toilet should have an adequately sized seat with enough space for feet beneath it or a footrest if needed. Sinks and countertops should be between 29 and 34 inches from the floor. This makes them easily accessible to both seated and standing users. Mirror should be placed at a height that is easily accessible to wheelchair users. Faucets should be lever style and located away from the sink area so they can be reached without having to lean over. This also reduces the risk of slip or falling. Finally, when designing for a universal bathroom, be sure to include things like support features in the. Such as a shower bench grab bars, wherever you need them near the toilet area. All of these elements work together to create an accessible and safe environment for all users, regardless of their physical abilities. Now we're going to talk about universal bathroom design guidelines. Universal design features extend beyond the shower, bathtub, and toilet areas. Other elements to consider when designing your bathroom include floor materials that are slip resistant and easy to clean doorways wide enough for wheelchair users, properly placed mirrors and bright light. As well as incorporating color contrast. if you have listened to other episodes that I've created on how vision changes as we get older, I talk extensively about using color contrast to help us navigate our environment and decrease our fall. not only can we create color contrasts in our environment, but we can also create contrast using textures, for example, textures on the wall, or textures on your furniture. Also, sheen plays a role. For example, if there's sheen on a table, Or maybe the sheen that's on the paint that you use for the walls. Remember? high, sheen will create glare in your design and glare is going to reduce your visibility, especially at specific times of the day when the sun is at a certain angle, which would be in the morning and early afternoon. keep all of those things in mind when you're designing your space. The overall bathroom layout can also be designed to accommodate a wide range of users. In addition to fixtures, the layout of the bathroom should provide plenty of room for maneuvering. For example, all countertops and sinks should be placed at waist height or lowered to accommodate individuals with mobility impairments. Universal bathroom design guidelines also suggests adding accessible storage and adequate lighting inside the shower. And installing a shower chair or grab bar on the wall near the shower or your bathtub. So this is very important that you install lighting inside the shower stall that is rarely seen, especially in older homes and bathrooms, or people are relying on lighting outside of the shower stall. Even though they're in there taking a shower, that is not enough lighting. You also need to have lighting inside your shower stall, especially if you have a larger bathroom. this allows individuals with mobility impairments to maintain their balance while getting in and out of the bathtub or the shower. Having a shower chair in the bathtub. Additionally, installing a lever style faucet rather than a knob style faucet can make it easier for those with limited hand strength to turn on the water. Also, if you have a lever style faucet, you can use a closed fist to turn the faucet on, which is going to help someone. Let's say that is. A quadriplegic and has limited hand use, but they still have use of their wrist, so they would be able to use this, or let's say someone with rheumatoid arthritis that has inflammation in their fingers, or maybe they have deformity in their fingers. they would also be able to use the lever style. Handle much easier than if you have a knob and if you're perfectly healthy and have none of these issues with your fingers, your hands, or your wrists, it is still going to be easier for you to use a lever handle than it is for you to use a knob. All right, moving on. These modifications can help ensure that everyone has the same access to a safe and comfortable bathroom to the greatest extent. Universal bathroom design makes bathrooms accessible for all individuals regardless of their physical abilities. Universal design makes sure that no one is left behind when it comes to having access to clean, safe restrooms. This not only allows people with disabilities to have better access. But also encourages them to participate in more activities and be more socially engaged. Thank you so much for listening to my podcast today. If you have any questions, please email me. I would love to hear from you. If you have suggestions for future topics, please email me. homedesignsforlife@gmail.com. Thank you so much for listening. Bye.