Universal Design home remodeling is about making a house user-friendly for all, based on current or future needs. The concept focuses on elements that make it possible to age at home, simplifies the life of people without and with disabilities. It may be about involving the whole family in the preparation of meals (including children), improving accessibility and reachability, or providing solutions to specific requirements without the “need for specialized design”.

Universal Design Principles

Universal Design home remodeling is not defined by inventing new materials and following trends. It focuses on creativity and careful planning, designing spaces that make sense now and for years to come. The Center for Universal Design (North Carolina University) has established 7 principles that can apply to any product or environment, including home remodeling.

Equitable use: the design is useful to people with diverse abilities
Flexibility: to accommodate needs, preferences and abilities
Simple and intuitive: a design easy to understand
Perceptible information: the design communicates information regardless of environment or sensory abilities
Tolerance for error: minimizes hazards and consequences of unintended actions
Low physical effort: using the design keeps fatigue to a minimum
Size and space for approach and use: space and size are appropriate regardless of the user’s body size, posture or mobility

Applications of Universal Design home remodeling

Using the principles of Universal Design  home remodeling isn’t only for older people or people with disabilities. It can be adding elements that will make life easier as we age, but also add comfort and function for the whole family.

Every room can include UD elements without compromising on style and beauty. We might say that Universal Design in home remodeling is about ingenuity and attention to details.
Pull-out cabinetry and taller toe kicks mean less bending, as do raised appliances (such as dishwashers). Roll-under sinks accommodate a wheelchair. Smooth countertops are easier to clean and move items around; designed with different heights, work surfaces allow users with different needs to access, reach and prepare. Drawers can be more practical than doors; inside cabinet lighting eliminate dark corners and the need to squint to find what we are looking for.

Following the principles of Universal Design in home remodeling also means paying attention to safety: non skid floors, smooth transitions between rooms and different flooring materials. If floors transition to different heights, a visual indicator (color or texture for example) will minimize tripping.

Accessibility, reachability and functionality are crucial components of Universal Design: showers with no threshold, switches positioned lower on the wall, grab bars and handles, alarms and sensors, lever handles instead of knobs…

The Universal Design approach in home remodeling and home building is gaining momentum. We realize life is far from linear: we have different needs, we face challenges, we grow a family and we grow old. Thinking about today and the future when designing rooms has become a logical step in the remodeling process. It may take more planning; it certainly means a very close collaboration with contractors, who know how to seamlessly incorporate elements and not sacrifice style.

As a full-service construction and remodeling company in San Diego, Collom Construction possesses the resources necessary for a successful project. We deliver products of quality craftsmanship and work with you to meet your needs and respect your budget.

Give us a call today to set up an appointment for a free quote.