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Universal Design Bathroom Ideas

Use universal design principles to create a bathroom that’s comfortable for everyone to use, regardless of age or ability.

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Universal Design Features for the Bathroom

Universal design for the bathroom means designing a loo for people of all ages and capabilities. That can seem tricky, especially in a bathroom, with its slick surfaces and areas where mobility can be difficult, like tubs and showers. Working around these issues isn’t as hard as it seems, though. Get ideas from top designers and manufacturers to make a bathroom that feels like home while being safe for anyone to use.

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Photo: Valspar

Maximize Your Floor Space

Whether you’re aging in place or creating a bathroom for multiple generations living together now, your bathroom may need room for a walker or wheelchair. The ADA recommends you leave 30-48 inches for a wheelchair to roll forward or back; 5 feet if it’s going to make a 180-degree turn.

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Photo: Jessica Alexander. From: Pure Salt Interiors.

Use a Floating Vanity

A floating vanity is another good option for accommodating wheelchairs and walkers. To be ADA compliant, cabinets need to have a toe kick (the area under the cabinets) that's at 9 nine inches high and deep.

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Photo: Kelly & Stone Architects

Light the Night

One of the basic tenets of universal design is to make it obvious when there’s a change in a walking path. That might mean switching flooring types (for example, from wood to carpet) to signal you’re leaving one space and entering another. But it can also be done in other ways. One simple way is to stick an LED strip light under the bathroom vanity like Kelly & Stone Architects did here. It tells you where the floor ends and the vanity begins, and it also makes a really cool night light.

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