Universal Design and the Bedroom Remodel

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Universal design is a concept that is becoming more mainstream, particularly as populations get older in the 21st Century. But when it comes to bedroom remodels and design, what are some simple additions to make that won’t be intrusive to your life, and break your budget?

Guest poster Jake Oates is here to talk about the basics of bedroom remodeling and universal design.


The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) provides barrier-free design for people who are physically challenged. It was created for state and local government buildings, public accommodations as well as commercial buildings and since it was introduced in 1990, it has become easier now than ever for people to pursue everyday tasks without restriction.

However, ADA does not cover residential design and instead the Universal Design is commonly referred to. This allows people to live in the comfort of their own home with freedom of accessibility and safety.

There are many items available to make a bedroom more in line with universal design, that is design that supports lifestyle of the elderly, and those who have limited mobility in general. For many of these people, it can be difficult climbing up the stairs to get to the bedroom. It can be hazardous getting in or out of bed, too. But the design of a home, and of a room, can play a big part in achieving the independence that everyone deserves. And not all of the changes have to be grand, and expensive.

More options for universal design in bedrooms

The selection of design-oriented options universal design to be applied in a bedroom remodel is expanding to meet the needs of more and more people. This  means there are options for homeowners to implement a safer, and more applicable design for people who actually live there, without having to look too far afield.  Space limitations can be an issue as well as finances to adapt the room. But, with the help of vendors and professional installers who know the ins-and-outs of universal design, homeowners no longer have to be restricted by the barriers of traditional bedroom layouts and features.

Here is a brief guide to help you transform your bedroom to make it as comfortable as possible, no matter what your situation, time of life, or lifestyle. But please note that the functionality of the room does not necessarily mean that a sense of style has to go out the window. You can have a universal design that is practical and trendy.

Universal design for bedrooms can be simple

Cork flooring: impact resistant, naturally insulates warmth, and is ready to accomodate walking feet and wheelchair traffic too.

It is important that the bedroom has non-skid floor surfaces. Traditional wood flooring with area rugs for bedrooms are fashionable but can become slippy under unsteady feet.  Yet flooring like cork floors can add stylish surfaces that are also impact resistant, and warm to walk on. Cork is often a go-to choice for nurseries, and in playrooms where falls and tumbles are expected. In a bedroom of an elderly person, this option can be one to help reduce the effects of a fall, which is a concern for many people. It also allows for easy traction for wheelchairs.  And it’s an easy addition to a space.

Besides the basic function of a floor, things like handles to drawers, doors, and wardrobes can be easily changed, adjusted for size to allow an easier grip, and installed at an appropriate level to suit those who are in wheelchairs. Once again, this is a simple fix that need not cost a lot. And visually, these accessories can add a lot of character as well.

Universal design for bedrooms: space and mobility

Space is a huge concern in a bedroom that has been remodeled with universal design in mind.  It may be that you need to widen the bedroom door way if you use a wheelchair.

What kind of furniture do you have in the bedroom? It is important that the bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers and dressing table do not have sharp edges in case you fall and that they are at appropriate heights. Bear in mind that you need to hang the mirror on the wall at a suitable height. The same goes for clothing racks in closets. These are simple adjustments that make all the difference.

If you’ve got an ensuite bathroom,  a disabled-friendly toilet, sink and walk-in shower can be extensions of a universal design friendly bedroom. But, in the bedroom, thinking about layout as it relates to space and for mobility is vital. Your universal design bathroom will be all the more useful if the room it’s next to is also designed for accessibility.


Let your bedroom design carry some of the burden

You can get financial help to assist you with the cost of adapting your bedroom to be disability friendly. Disability Housing and Home Loans can be attained for disabled Americans; money shouldn’t be a barrier when it comes to modifying your living space. Also, enacting some bedroom remodeling with universal design in mind is a way of getting the design of the room to take the pressure and effort off of the person sleeping, reading, moving, and just being in that room. With some simple modifications, more comfort is possible when you’ve got good design on your side.


Thanks, Jake.

Jake Oates from Custard Media wrote this post on behalf of The Plumb Store, specialists in plumbing and central heating supplies.




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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.