Universal design is the act of creating environments that are usable by all people without the need for adaptation or special design. Essentially, universal design means creating a space that is accessible to everyone - from the able-bodied to the elderly, to those with physical limitations due to special needs, etc.
A Younger Take
Typically, we think of universal design as a form of “aging in place.” However, as home buying trends change, universal design is taking on a fresher face and appealing to a younger demographic.
Gone are the days of starter homes - millennials are waiting longer to purchase, meaning when they do, they’re typically further along in life than in generations previous. For example, many millennials have already started a family by the time they’re ready to buy.
And, since homeowners are staying put on average for around 13 years before moving again, it’s likely that many are purchasing and designing homes with those future needs in mind.
What Does This Mean For Home Remodeling?
Universal design isn’t limited to a walk-in tub or shower, or easy to grasp handles and slip-resistant floors. While those features might be included in many instances, there are other remodeling trends that fit the mark as well.
Kitchens with enough space to comfortably move around an island or dining rooms with seating for eight instead of four help families prepare for future children or the possibility of mom and dad moving in as they age.
Converting a first floor half bath to a full bath in anticipation of future needs is also something that might be considered. Renovating a garage into a third or fourth bedroom means adding space for the future, or could allow for first floor laundry. Similarly, space could repurposed in a walk-in closet or larger bathroom for laundry.
The demand for universal design in remodeling has greatly accelerated. While the specific needs will vary by individual, there are many ways to accomplish a home environment that is truly evergreen.
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