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Array Design Studio is located in Cleveland, Ohio and has designed projects throughout the Midwest

Universal Design in the Bathroom

  • Posted by Array Design Studio
  • On March 4, 2018
  • bathroom, universal design

“Universal design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.” http://universaldesign.ie/What-is-Universal-Design/ This is what I specialise in and for the next few months will be posting about in my social media platforms. First up, using universal design in the bathroom.


When working with universal design I think the most important part to keep in consideration is the atmosphere that you’re going to create. This includes things like depth perception with color, making sure you’re keeping a shadow effect going with the floor and wall tiles. With any fixtures such as the tub and toilet’s you want definition. So, the toilet and tub can be the same color as the walls and floor, but maybe a shade lighter or a shade darker or maybe he could have some lines in it or distortion like marbling. The goal is to see a difference between the wall and the tile especially when you’re using glass shower walls that usually go right to the edge of the tile. You basically want to avoid running into them, physically.


Another thing to think about are non-skid floors that have character and personality. Tile now come with skid ratings so you know if they’re going to be so slippery you’re going fall and break your butt or not. It’s a good rating to have! You can also have floor and wall tile that match a sit down area in the shower. Shower with comfort!


Lighting it is challenging as you age. It can be hard to see yourself shaving, applying make up or even moisturizing in a mirror that is 24 inches away and also 5 feet up the wall. If you’re lucky, it might be pointing down, but other times it’s pointing up and basically useless. Now, you can get light up side mount and wall mount magnified mirrors that can be placed anywhere. You can have it placed on the countertop or attached to the walls or cabinetry.


The cabinetry is another very good opportunity for convenience. Cabinetry can now be put on top of countertops that don’t take the entire space up. Opposed to over the toilet which can be very challenging to reach and of course you want to avoid the accidental dropping of something in the toilet. That’s always awkward and terrible.


All of your fixtures, like your faucets, toilets, and showerheads can now be temperature controlled. There are hand held shower wands that use temperature controlled thermostats that are adjusted in the actual handle for the water itself. You can also get heated towel bars and heated flooring, making showering in the winter no longer the frozen hell it used to be! And because the temperature control is no longer in the walls, mice can’t chew through cords causing your repair-person to knock down your tile walls, which can cost TONS!


Also, thinking of comfort, instead of knobs that you have to wrap your fingers around, which can be painful if you arthritis or mobility impairment, there are instead hardware handles that are easy to just slide your fingers down and pull forward.


Don’t have a large space and worried everything won’t fit with the toilet, shower and cabinetry? Fear not! There are definitely ways to create a comfortable, functional area that doesn’t require you to squeeze around a door or toilet to get in and out of the shower. For example, doorless showers and angled toilets. You can think of the space like a circle and you can get to every spot by just turning. The most important part is that you have an atmosphere that gives you comfort and relaxation. The bathroom is where we begin and end our day, and definitely sets the tone for well being.


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