Ensuring your bathroom is safe and functional is part of being a responsible homeowner. But when you or a loved one suffers from limited mobility, the safety of your bathroom is all the more important.
A universal bathroom is accessible to individuals of all ages, sizes, and abilities. What are the best universal design ideas for your bathroom? How can you minimize injuries in your bathroom and optimize the safety of every corner, nook, and cranny?
Mission Health + Home is here to explore your options for universal bathroom design! If you would like to get started on your aging in place or accessible remodeling project, get in touch with us today.
Otherwise, let’s start exploring your options so you can design and build a safer and more accessible bathroom!
Main Level Access Is Key
Having a full bathroom on the main level minimizes the need for those with limited mobility to go up and down the stairs.
Do you have a half bathroom or powder room on the first floor of your home? Consider expanding it into a full bath.
What if you can’t afford to convert a half bathroom into a full bath? You can still improve your half bathroom’s accessibility and safety with the following universal design ideas:
- Expanding the doorway
- Installing a wall-mounted or floating sink
- Installing grab bars or a taller toilet
- Replacing the sink handles with a single faucet lever
- Removing area rugs & flimsy mats
What are some other ways you can improve the safety of a half bathroom or powder room? Contact Mission Health + Home today to schedule a home assessment.
If you’re looking to remodel a full bathroom, keep reading for more universal design ideas for your bathroom.
Expand & Enhance the Doorway
Entering a bathroom should be just as easy as navigating around it. A universal bathroom has a doorway that is a minimum of 32” wide. It is widely recommended to make a doorway at least 36” wide when someone in a household uses a wheelchair or mobility device.
Door knobs can become increasingly difficult for an individual to use as they get older or for those who suffer from arthritis and upper extremity pain. Consider installing lever door handles. You can also open up more floor space by installing a sliding barn or pocket door. Or, you can reverse the swing of the bathroom door, so it opens outside the bathroom.
If you want to go the extra mile to improve the safety of your bathroom, install doors that can be unlocked from the outside.
Increase the Floorspace
A wide and open floor space makes it easier for those in wheelchairs and mobility devices to maneuver around seamlessly.
In addition to reversing the door swing or installing a pocket door, wall-hung cabinets and floating sinks can open up more floor space. (If your existing sink has visible plumbing, install a protective barrier that minimizes the chances of hitting the pipes or getting burned by them.)
Creating more space is only half of it. You’ll want to make sure your bathroom has slip-resistant flooring. Textured flooring is best ‒ you should avoid marble, ceramic, and glass.
Rubber flooring is ideal, but if you’re on a budget, opt for non-slip vinyl, cork, or bamboo flooring. The more texture, the better. Should you go with traditional tiling, you can create better traction by installing large tiles with wide and pronounced grout lines.
If possible, avoid bath mats altogether. Remove fabric area rugs and flimsy bath mats. Opt for slip-resistant rubber bath mats for drying feet after using the bathing area.
Safeguard Your Bath/Shower
When considering universal design ideas for a bathroom, focus on the bathing area. Luckily, walk-in baths and showers come in a variety of sizes and styles ‒ but is a walk-in shower better than a bathtub?
Barrier-free showers are the safest and most accessible bathing option, providing ease of access and ample space to move around. Your barrier-free shower should also include:
- Curbless or low curb pan
- Slip-resistant flooring
- Grab bars
- ADA compliant transfer bench
- Adjustable shower head
A shower with anti-scald and water pressure controls can also prevent injuries and burns. Make sure the shower handles and controls are easy to access from a seated position.
For many who struggle with limited mobility, chronic pain, or injuries, taking baths can be therapeutic. If you keep or install a bathtub, an ADA-compliant transfer bench can make it easier and safer to step in and out. You could also install a walk-in tub with a low-step entry, as well as one with an adjustable shower head.
Whether you decide to install a barrier-free shower or walk-in bathtub, make sure there are at least five feet of open space outside of it.
Have questions about handicap accessible or aging in place showers and bathtubs? Reach out to us!
Improve the Utility of Your Bathroom
What are some other universal design ideas for your bathroom that can make it more functional?
Install a tall and accessible toilet with a seat that is between 16” and 19” above the floor. This will make it easier for those with limited mobility to sit and stand. You’ll want a 9” space between the floor and the bottom of the toilet bowl for optimal clearance. It’s also recommended to install grab bars near the toilet.
Those with limited mobility need to be able to reach faucets, cabinets, mirrors, and towel racks with ease. Single lever faucets and large D-shaped hardware are easier to use. Have a towel bar or rack as close to the shower or tub as possible and within arm’s reach for the person with limited mobility.
Make sure your bathroom is well ventilated and lit at all times of day, especially near the toilet and bathing area. If possible, install a window that can easily be opened to improve airflow and reduce moisture buildup. You can also install an overhead fan.
Designing a Universal Bathroom for Your Safety & Well-Being
A bathroom is an often overlooked part of the home. But when you or a loved one struggles with mobility issues, it’s essential that your bathroom is safe, accessible, and functional.
If you’re ready to turn universal design ideas for your bathroom into reality, Mission Health + Home is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a home assessment. Our team looks forward to speaking with you!