What exactly is “Universal Bath Design”? It’s a term you might have come across if you are looking to plan a bath remodel. Simply put, a universal design makes the bathroom accessible for all, without sacrificing style or compromising on function. It is a practical solution for a house with multiple users and takes aging and physical ability into account. If you are interested in a design that suits your whole family, while embodying your style, then universal bathroom design is ideally suited to you.

Location, Location, Location

In order to avoid climbing stairs, your universal bathroom design should be on the main level of your home. It might mean enlarging an existing powder room, re-purposing another space, or knocking out a wall to add on a new bathroom.  Make sure it’s large enough for a wheelchair to enter and move around fully. It also needs to accommodate a tub, so young children can be bathed, as well as a thresholdless shower that allows for those with mobility issues to move in and out easily. Incorporate furniture that can be removed or replaced as your needs change.

bathroom design with blue vanity cabinet

Vanity Fair

Floating vanities make bathrooms feel clean and calm as well as providing access for wheelchair users. Make sure your vanity and mirror are at the right height for children also. An adjustable floating vanity can be raised or lowered. It’s also important to make sure it can take an adult’s weight if leaned on for support. Choose faucets in any material or color to suit your bath design, but single lever or sensor models conserve water and are ideal for everyone to use.

engineered quartz countertop

Aim High

A universal bath design requires a slightly higher toilet, at least 16” tall. You can add a step, a removable seat or grab bars for accessibility or install a wall-hung at this level. Spray jets under the rim are a good feature but remember to keep toilet paper easily reachable for all.

rustic bathroom design

Brighten Your Prospects

A mix of strong and soft lighting is important in any lighting scheme. Layering your lighting design ensures low lighting for a soothing effect in areas such as the tub but bright lighting around the vanity. In a universal bathroom design, however, strong lighting is also needed in the entryway as well as the shower for safety reasons. It’s essential that the pull cords and switches are accessible to all or incorporate sensor lights so no-one has to worry about turning them on or off.

white bathroom sink

Shower Power

Curbless, open showers are very popular for bathroom remodeling, being sleek and easier to clean than enclosures with doors. They also easily allow wheelchairs and walking aids. Benches and niches, at the right height for everyone, are perfect for seating and storage. Multiple shower heads with anti-scald settings and extra-long hoses mean the shower is suitable for all. Tubs that have watertight openings mean no-one must climb in and out, so bathing is not a problem.

shower bench and floor

Store It All Up

Include niche storage as much as possible to avoid bumping into or leaning on shelving. Assess what you need to keep in your bathroom and then work with your bathroom design expert to create custom storage solutions that will take care of everything. All hooks, cabinets and shelving should be at a height to suit all users of your universal bath design.  Once you have custom and accessible storage, choose the latest styles, materials and colors to give your bathroom that wow factor!

bathroom vanity storage

Floored for Choice

While a floor’s appearance is paramount, so is safety, especially in a universal bathroom design. Marble is slippery when wet but there are plenty of other equally sophisticated options. Textured surfaces such as wood, mosaic tiles, or larger textured tiles with wider grout lines provide grip, so are much safer. Keep your new floor clear of unnecessary clutter too. Rugs are attractive but can present a trip hazard or get caught in wheels, so leave them out or be careful where you place them.

bath design with large shower

Universal bath design embraces both form and function, equipping your bathroom for each family member and eventuality. It avoids needless remodeling in future years and its simplicity ensures a timeless aesthetic which can be adapted to whichever style you favor.

Click on our bathroom remodeling gallery for further inspiration and contact us today to discuss how universal bath design can transform your family bathroom into a space that will fit your family’s needs for years to come.

McDaniels Kitchens and Bath

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