Designing Accessible Housing
Universal or Lifespan Housing is designed to allow individuals to use their homes fully. The design should not call attention to special features that accommodate a range of abilities. The home should be comfortable and easy to maintain. The following design features accommodate individuals with diverse abilities, are easy to use, and minimize hazards. Consider the following:
- Keep pathways to the house flat, short, straight, smooth, firm, and wide.
- Design the primary entrance as a no-step entry.
- Have at least one bedroom, bath, and living areas on one level.
- Doors wide enough to move through (36" preferred) and easy to open.
- Place controls, outlets, and storage areas are 20 to 44 inches above the floor.
- Controls and light switches that are well marked and require little fine motor dexterity.
- Adequate and glare free lighting.
- Brace bathroom walls so grab bars can be installed by toilets and tubs.
- Faucets and doors have easy to operate controls such as levers.
- Choose chairs and couches with firm seats and arm rests.
For more information about designing accessible housing see Practical Guide to Universal Home Design.
Housing as We Age. A Consumer's Guide to Home Adaptation. University of Minnesota Department of Design, Housing & Apparel. (This publication is no longer available.)
Institute for Human Centered Design (Adaptive Environments)
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