No matter your age, incorporating a few Universal Design elements into your bathroom remodeling project can increase the value of your home while ensuring your new bathroom design remains “ageless.”
According to the NAHB Resource Center in it’s Residential Remodeling and Universal Design Guide [PDF], “[Universal design] improvements will help position your home on the leading edge of the existing housing market in the 21st century.”
What is Universal Design? Simply put, universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Universal design is design for everyone. Period.
Our population is growing and our life expectancy is increasing. Baby boomers currently represent 28% of the U.S. population and their parents over age 65 represent another 14%. As NAHB points out, the over-85 population is expect to triple over the next 25 years. Add to this the findings of a recent survey by AARP to which 62% of respondents over age 45 reported that they, a spouse or a parent had difficulty walking, bathing, climbing stairs or getting in an out of bed.
As these demographics have aged, they have become acutely aware of the high cost of third-party care and assistance; and given a choice, baby boomers and seniors would often just as soon stay in their own home than go to a nursing home. In such cases, their own home needs to make it easy for them to move around to conduct their daily activities.
This need has fueled a growing trend toward incorporating the principles of Universal Design into home remodeling projects. No matter how old you are, God willing, you will get older, so it’s never too soon to start thinking about the future, especially if you’re contemplating remodeling your bathroom.
Many of my clients, of all ages, are choosing to do this by installing curb-less or “zero clearance” showers in their bathrooms. Incorporating sleek design elements such as framed-glass enclosures and stainless-steel multi-functional fixtures, a curb-less shower can invest your formerly mundane bathroom with an air of sophistication that would be the envy of any high-end day spa while also increasing its value. You may not “need” such design considerations now, but you also might not always live in your house and a future prospective buyer might, and they’d likely be willing to pay for it. Given the demographic trends cited above, it’s looking more and more like that’s a certainty.