If a home design is universal, that means that it’s designed in a way that makes it accessible to everyone no matter their age or physical ability. You’ll want a universal design if you’re trying to rent a home on a site like Airbnb in order to attract as many guests as possible. It’s also a good idea to add universal designs into your personal home, especially if you plan to sell it one day.

The bottom line is that universal home designs can benefit everyone, as you may need a certain design later in life. Here are some examples of the best universal designs that will also increase your property value.

Universal Bathroom Upgrades

Not only are walk-in showers very trendy right now, they’re also pretty universal for most people. Walk-in showers eliminate the need to step over an edge, making it much easier for the elderly and those with joint problems to enter and exit the shower. It’s also easier to insert a shower chair into the showers for those that need them.

Showerheads should also be adjustable, and the water temperature should be easy to control to prevent accidental burns. It’s also a good idea to install grab bars inside of the shower.

Universal Bedroom Upgrades

If you’re preparing a home for a senior aging in place, one thing you’ll want to do is to make sure the beds aren’t too high. This can also be considered a universal design since both young children and the elderly have a harder time entering and leaving beds that are too high. Also, make sure that the mattress is firm and doesn’t sag anywhere. Finally, vertical grab bars that extend from the ceiling to the floor can also be installed next to beds to make getting up easier.

If possible, have at least one bedroom on the first floor of the home if it’s a multi-story home. This could mean turning a den or extra space into a bedroom for those who have trouble going up and down the stairs.

 Blind Man Sitting on the Bedside

Universal Kitchen Upgrades

When it comes to decorating your kitchen, it’s best to make sure that your countertops and cabinetry aren’t too close in color, because those with poor eyesight won’t be able to see the edge of the countertop. It would also help to have countertops at different heights so a variety of people can access them.

To accommodate individuals who use wheelchairs, leave space under the sink and at least one counter space. Also, make sure that there’s room for appliances (e.g., refrigerators, microwaves, etc.) to fit under counters for those who may not be able to reach appliances in their usual places.

Other Universal Home Upgrades

Door Handles

Lever handles are much easier for those with arthritis to maneuver. Traditional twist-knobs require too much turning of the wrists, whereas levers can be much easier to open.

Home Elevator

Two-story homes would greatly benefit from having a single-passenger elevator installed. Most are very sleek so they don’t take up very much space inside homes. Home elevators are ideal for the elderly who have trouble with stairs and for those in wheelchairs. This is an ideal upgrade for those with homes that don’t have a bedroom or extra space downstairs.

Open Concept

Another trendy universal design is an open concept floor plan. This means that your main rooms (living room, kitchen, dining room) aren’t separated by doorways or doors. Instead, one room flows into another without any barriers, making this an ideal floor plan for individuals who require a wheelchair.

Ramps

If there are stairs on the outside of a home, installing a ramp as a second option is one of the most common universal designs that’s also used on a variety of different buildings. This also makes it easier for those who are wheelchair-bound to enter and exit the home. It’s even better if the home has no steps (including slight elevation changes) on the outside.

Again, homes with universal designs can benefit you in a variety of ways. If you’re a real estate investor and rent out homes to tenants, a universal design is more likely to attract tenants. Universal designs also increase property value because many of these designs are in high demand. Finally, even if you don’t rent out homes or plan to sell yours, a universal design will allow you to continue living in your own home as you age.

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