Improve Your Home with Great 'Universal Design'
Great design is like great art -- you know it when you see it.
However, an essential element of great design is that the form fits
the function. In other words, even if it's beautiful, an object
isn't well designed unless it accomplishes its intended purpose,
and does it well.
Ever-increasing attention to products for the home is reflected
in a growing trend of incorporating pleasing design into everything
from showers to the kitchen sink.
"Consumers are demanding more style in their homes," says Mary
Jo Peterson, a design consultant in Brookfield, Conn. "But they
don't want to sacrifice ease of use, either."
She points out that as baby boomers age, more companies are designing
home products that look great while taking into account accessibility
issues - a concept known as universal design.
A customizable shower tower is an example of a universally designed
product, where an everyday product that is functional for everyone
to use can also add a touch of style to the bathroom.
A product isn't well designed unless it is functional for everyone
to use. "When building or renovating a house, it pays to install
products that add style to the home and that can also adapt universally
to owners' changing needs," says Peterson. "Not only will it serve
the current occupants, but it will add resale value."
For example, if you're redoing your bathroom, project 10 or 15
years down the road -- will you be able to get in and out of your
current bathtub? Tubs that are designed with plenty of space around
the bath for sitting or for use as a transfer area make getting
in and out easier.
While you're working in the bathroom, other long-term design considerations
include the height of the lavatory countertop, as well as space
beneath the lavatory that allows legroom for a user in a wheelchair.
Wall-mount lavatories are perfect examples of stylish lavatories
that are also functional. A toilet's height is also a consideration
of universal design; a normal height toilet can make sitting down
and standing up difficult for some people.
The bottom line is that universal design should not only add flair
to your home, but also make your life easier, ultimately turning
your home into a more comfortable place to live.
Courtesy of ARA Content