If you’re currently planning a remodel, you may have heard the term “universal design” used frequently in the construction industry. But what is it, and is it something you should consider when prepping for your home redo?
What is “Universal Design”?
Universal design is an approach to design that focuses on making all products and environments as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, physical ability, or situation. In recent years, the housing industry has recognized the importance of a “universal” approach to residential design that modifies standard building elements to improve a home’s accessibility and usability. This allows for more equitable, flexible and simple use.
Universal Design in Home Remodeling
What this means is that through universal design, you can redesign your space to get more out of your home regardless of your current situation. For some, this may mean prepping your home to age in place. These modifications can range from expanding doorway dimensions to replacing kitchen appliances.
For others, universal means considering future children, or future in-laws, and focusing on flexible spaces that could be used as a home office now and an extra living space later.
Where to Find More Information
Many books exist on the subject, including Residential Remodeling and Universal Design: Making Homes More Comfortable and Accessible, a resource guide offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD’s guide provides technical guidance on selecting and installing universal features during home remodeling or renovation. The guide emphasizes eliminating unintentional barriers and using designs and features that could benefit people with a broad range of needs.
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