When it comes to the home, most people want to stay in it for as long as possible. Trouble arises when their home doesn't age as well as they do. Take the bathroom, for example. A study released by the CDC in 2020 showed that falls are the leading cause of injury in adults over the age of 65, with 3 million ER visits per year. 79% of those falls take place in the bathroom. Despite these numbers, many homeowners resist changes that would make the room safer for fear that it would look too clinical or remind them of a hospital. Even those selling their home resist these kinds of changes for fear of affecting their ROI. 

But now, that's changing. The things designed to make the bathroom safer, like large showers, higher toilets, grab bars, improved lighting, etc., are being integrated with interior design. Easy to use lever handles on doors and handheld shower heads are ergonomic, grab bars are simply being called shower rails, and higher-seated toilets are called comfort height. This design actually helps people from all ages and abilities, not just seniors. Making the switch to include these features in your bathroom won't hurt your re-sell value at all - in fact, it will help it! 

Whether it's for you or future homebuyers, here are some design tips to help you with that bathroom renovation:

A photo of a clean bathroom counter. A rolled towel sits beside a basket and plant; the bathroom sits in the background, out of focus.

1) Improved Lighting

A bathroom vanity sits beside a large window. Ample light makes each corner of the room visible.

Glare can be a real problem in the bathroom. Not only does it catch your bad side when you're trying to do your makeup, but it causes visibility issues when trying to navigate the rest of the room. For those with decreased vision, glare makes things worse. Light sconces placed on either side of the mirror are easier on the eyes than overhead lighting. Introduce natural light from a window or skylight. A night light between the bathroom vanity and toilet, as well as just outside of the bathroom ensure nighttime visits are without incident.

2) Widen the Doorway

Remove the raised sill and widen the doorway to 36 inches, and switch out the knob handle to a lever handle for easier opening. If it's possible, hang the door to open out, not in. That way, if someone does fall, the doorway cannot be blocked.

3) Increase the Shower Size

An image of a bathroom with a large shower, complete with handheld showerhead.

A curbless shower works best for those on crutches or using a walker. It's also helpful for parents bathing children or the family dog. Handheld shower­heads can be anchored to an integrated grab bar; the hose for it should be at least 6 feet long. Add a seat for ultimate accessibility. A shelf or cubby that keeps toiletries within easy reach is a must have.

4) Keep Items Visible

Open shelving is attractive if it's kept tidy. If you've got lots of items or just want to keep the humidity out, glass-front doors are the option for you. This allows you to see what's inside without needing to open the cabinet. In addition, you'll want to make sure the doors are easy-close, and that any drawers feature D-shaped pulls instead of traditional knobs.

5) Re-Think That Sink

A bathroom with multi-level sinks.

A countertop at two heights gives access to every member of the family, and sink faucets with lever handles are best. A full-length mirror is better for someone seated, who may have trouble looking into a medicine cabinet mirror that’s above the sink.

6) Non-Slip Floors

Look for slip resistant tile or vinyl flooring. The more textured the surface, the less slippery it is. The ceramic tile industry has adopted a slip-resistance test that measures the dynamic coefficient of friction. Basically, the higher the number, the better the slip resistance. Ideally, you’re looking for 0.42 or higher. Smaller tiles embedded in grout also provide more friction. If you go with vinyl flooring, there are even options with pockets on the bottom designed to trap water in the event of leaks. Bonus!

7) Double Duty Bars

A grab bar gets a trendy look with storage options and a warm colour.

Still not struck on the idea of a grab bar? You can find bars that match towel racks and showers - even ones that function as shelves and toilet paper holders. Place them at the entrance to the shower or tub, inside the shower or tub, and/or near the toilet. There are lots of trendy ones out there that merge aesthetic and function. Heck, there are options that give your shower rail multiple functions besides safety. You won't be disappointed. 

And there you have it! Safety doesn't mean you have to sacrifice design, nor does it trap your home's value.

Posted by Admin Staff on


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