According to statistics from AARP, about one-third of Americans are 50 or older. In about a decade, that figure will change to 20 percent of adults being at least 65. Although mature individuals aren’t the only ones who require accessible bathrooms in line with recommendations by the Americans with Disabilities Act, many will stay at home as they age.
For trade professionals — contractors, builders, remodelers, installers, and interior designers — this presents a unique opportunity. Not only can you transform bathroom spaces into oases for clients, but you can also make them accessible or easy to upgrade later.
If you’re in the home improvement business, you can help clients revitalize their bathrooms to be stylish for every resident or guest, including those who use wheelchairs or assistive walking devices. A good place to start is most full bathrooms’ focal point: the shower.
Opt For Luxurious, Accessible Showers With Visual Impact and High Functionality
Although a shower serves a basic purpose, it can also be a decorative masterpiece. Consider the value of adding an open, tiled shower with exceptionally wide doors to make going in and out simpler for people. To make getting into the shower less hazardous, install a trench drain. This creates a curbless, doorless entryway that allows seamless entries and exits.
Incorporating two or three shower nozzles at various levels can make showering a breeze for someone in a wheelchair. And a seat that’s integrated into the shower wall or that folds for comfortable sitting can make getting clean a pampering experience.
Choose Textured Surfaces For Interest and Safety
When people have difficulty walking, the last thing they need is a floor that becomes slippery when wet (or is slick even when dry). For that reason, avoid using smooth tiles in your bathroom makeover space. Instead, pick flooring with a little “grab,” such as an embossed luxury vinyl tile or planks. If homeowners are insisting on a natural surface despite the potential fall risks, steer them toward stone tiles with plenty of unique characteristics and a rougher surface.
At the same time, you’ll want to make sure countertops are also armed with some safety features. Even if you choose a smooth marble, granite, or quartz countertop, you can add a slight lip to the edges as a decorative and practical treatment. This prevents something like a cup of water or other toiletries from slipping off the counter and spilling onto the floor.
Plan for Expected and Unexpected Storage Needs
Most bathroom remodels involve a lengthy discussion about storage. However, if you’re working with clients who want an accessible bathroom, you must be ready to think about more than where to put extra toilet paper rolls and fluffy towels.
Many people with special medical needs have supplies that they carry with them, such as an oxygen tank, or devices they keep in the bathroom at all times. Not only should those devices easily fit in the room, but they should also fit in with the overall design concept. Look through ProSource Wholesale’s wide array of project images for inspiration on storage ideas that will work perfectly for your homeowners without detracting from the beauty of their updated space.
Make Everything Easy To See and Touch
Obviously, you’ll want to have more than just a few recessed lights in your accessible bathroom. Consider wall sconces or lights mounted underneath cabinets. Every important area in the room should get the “light” treatment.
Additionally, be sure all light switches, cabinet doors, and related items are low enough for people in wheelchairs. A bathroom remodel isn’t practical for a family if some or all of them can’t comfortably and securely use the space.
Finally, conduct a walk-through before final installation of any materials. Ask yourself whether wheelchairs can fit beneath the sink and whether a no-touch faucet looks pretty but is too far away from the edge of the countertop for a seated person to activate. It’s much better to see how everything fits together before making final selections and beginning the last construction stages.
Excited at the thought of creating a bathroom space that’s elegant and trendy, as well as perfect for someone with unique accessibility needs? Contact the team at your local ProSource Wholesale showroom for ideas on how to make your next bathroom a true (and safe) paradise.
Accessible Bathroom Design with Open Shower and Double Vanity Cabinets | Photo by Aristokraft
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