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Universal Design for kitchens and bathrooms

Universal design is described as the design of products and environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible.

*The awareness of the need for universal design has been growing since the end of WW II. Disabled soldiers returned home from war, the polio epidemic and the booming of the aging population meant more people are requiring specialized accessible design. As early as 1961, a standard for universal and accessible design was established by The American National Standards Institute, which has evolved into current day rules and regulations.

Cooks (and their assistants) come in all sizes and shapes and with varying physical abilities. Those who were children in the 1950's are now in their golden years, they enjoy sharing the activities of food preparation and cooking with their children and grandchildren. Universal kitchen and bath designs allow for this to occur by having multiple height cabinets and specialized appliances that enable everyone to participate in various kitchen duties.

According to a past AARP survey more and more seniors are living longer and choosing to live out their lives in their own homes. With that segment of the population developing physical limitations there are increasing needs for a universal kitchen or bath design

Who benefits from a Universal Design?

Persons who have sustained a catastrophic injury
Persons who have been stricken with a life-altering illness or disability
Persons who wish to age in place by remodeling or modifying an existing home
Persons with weak muscles or physical limitations
Multigenerational households

Designing needs

Whether you are remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, there are many products to consider depending on the physical challenges that are present. Many manufactures are now producing products for the universal design

Cabinet manufacturers offer

  • Multiple height and accessible cabinets
  • Mixer cabinet with adjustable height shelf
  • Raised dishwasher cabinet and more appliance specific options
  • Specialty inserts to address numerous needs for regular and universal design

Appliance manufacturers offer

  • Microwave drawers
  • Wall oven with side opening door
  • Dishwasher drawers
  • Remote control for range hoods

Plumbing manufacturers offer

  • Temperature control and scald free valves
  • Sensor controls
  • Many other specialty options are available to create the Universal kitchen or bathroom

*Universal Kitchen Planning – Designs that Adapts to People  Mary Jo Peterson CKD, CBD, CHE