As your Columbus, Ohio home improvement company, we know kitchens are usually the hub of the home, but they also can be a source of frustration, due to many factors, including, but not limited to, an awkward layout, inaccessible cabinets, lack of storage, and inadequate lighting.
Incorporating the principles of Universal Design, a design philosophy that embeds choice in all facets of design so that homes work for people across a wide spectrum of ages and abilities, in a remodel can make all the difference in how homeowners will be able to use their homes both now and as they grow older.
Remaining in their homes as they grow older is a top priority for Americans aged 50 and over. It is in the task-oriented areas of the house where Universal Design considerations really can make a huge difference in the livability of the home, ensuring that all members of the family can function in the space regardless of age and ability.
Here’s how Universal Design plays out in the kitchen:
Appliances—put them at comfort height, and comfort locations- For a microwave, that’s not over the range, which puts it out of reach of children. Dishwasher drawers located near the sink make clean-up a breeze.
Wall ovens mounted at shoulder height negate the bending down that a standard range requires.
Countertops—Vary countertop height. Lower countertops accommodate seated users. If you don’t have the space to do so, a good option is a pull-out drawer at a lower height. Also consider surfaces that you can put hot pots on directly and cut on.
Cabinets and shelving—Mounting upper cabinets slightly lower (14 inches from the countertop to the bottom of the cabinet rather than the typical 18 inches) makes it easier for users to reach the high shelves.
Hardware—For most people, grip strength typically begins to decrease by the late 30s, so D-ring or loop pulls on cabinets rather than knobs, and soft-close mechanisms on drawers simplify operation for users.
Lighting—Vision is another of those senses that begin to diminish as people age. Good lighting can go a long way toward mitigating this loss. That includes the interior of cabinets and drawers, and beneath the lip of countertops.
Flooring—The gold standard is a surface that is not slippery, is easy to clean, and not hard on the back. Good choices, though, are solid rubber, and solid vinyl, which are rugged and easy on the back.
If you are thinking of remodeling your kitchen to make it more universal, contact us to get started! We currently build in Westerville, Worthington, Whitehall, Upper Arlington, Powell, Pickerington, New Albany, Lancaster, Hilliard, Gahanna, Dublin, Bexley, Columbus and all of Central Ohio.