Are your customers requesting bathroom updates that will be stylish and functional for years to come? More homeowners than ever are renovating, using universal design principles that allow these spaces to serve people of varying ages and abilities. Universal design provides numerous important benefits to home and building owners, including higher levels of safety and increased property value.
Universal design basics
Universal design creates an environment that is accessible to all people to the greatest extent possible. That means a bathroom will function as well for a child as it does for a senior. Basic principles of universal design focus on functionality. In the bathroom that might mean adding strategic lighting, slip-resistant flooring and features like grab bars.
Your customers don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics to achieve the functional goals of universal design. More options than ever are available for enhancing the bathroom’s safety and functionality while adding luxurious upgrades that are as useful as they are eye-catching.
When function and fashion blend like this in home improvements, it can add significant value to properties.
Curbless shower features
Consider one of the year’s top bathroom design trends: curbless showers with linear drains. This creates a barrier-free experience that is visually appealing, making it ideal for the universal design home.
A curbless walk-in shower eliminates hazards like curbs or thresholds that can cause people to slip or trip. It’s easier to use, whether you walk or utilize a device for assistance, such as a shower wheelchair. Curbless showers also provide an open feel, which makes the space feel larger because visual lines are not disrupted.
Curbless showers are enhanced by linear drains that are installed flush to the flooring, further reducing trip hazards while adding a sleek appearance to the space. With no barrier to cross, the floor more easily accommodates a freestanding bench, a walker or other mobility aids.
An added benefit is that linear drains generally avoid looking institutional, like some wheelchair-friendly bathrooms can. An excellent example of this counter-institutional trend is QuickDrain’s WallDrain, in which the drain literally disappears into the wall, offering an ultra-clean and contemporary look.
A curbless shower is achievable with various drainage points, therefore offering versatility in terms of design. A curbless shower also provides flexibility regarding its location, since you are not tied to placing the drain in a specific spot.
Deciding on shower doors is another important aspect of universal design. Glass doors work well for curbless walk-in showers because they open the space and let in light.
Another option is to design the space to be completely open as a wet room. Glass dividers are a hybrid option that provide a partition without a door, but can be easily removed if your customer might want to open the space in the future.
A shower bench can greatly enhance the look and functionality of a shower. It can serve as a necessary place to sit, a retreat to relaxation, or simply a place to store hygiene products, while also offering accessibility and style.
The QuickDrain BenchSeat offers three PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bench configurations to meet differing needs, depending on bench placement and overall shower size. These multiple configurations are suitable for newly constructed or renovated tile showers. Not only do these shower benches meet the ADA standard guidelines for height, but they also exceed the weight requirement, promoting a universal design for all.
Grab bars will offer added stability and convenience to your shower and bathroom. Contrary to popular belief, grab bars aren’t just meant for healthcare or senior living facilities. They can also increase safety and convenience in your home for children, pregnant women, and anyone dealing with health issues or recovering from an injury.
Dearborn Grab Bars are ADA-compliant and available in 1-1/4″ and 1-1/2″ diameters with concealed or open flanges. Available in peened or satin finishes, these grab bars can be ordered in whatever length is needed.
Universal design is important in bathrooms because these spaces are used every day. Whether your customer’s goal is to age in place or to make home improvements to improve property value, bathrooms with stylish universal design will help you meet those goals.
About the Author: Marlee Gannon is Director, Wholesale Product and Channel, at Oatey Co. With a robust background in sales, product development and marketing, Marlee’s comprehensive knowledge of the plumbing industry, its products and people, has helped propel her career over the past 7+ years. She is highly engaged with the chain of distribution, from end-users to Oatey’s wholesaler-partners.