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Your bathroom is one of the most frequently used spaces in your home, but have you ever considered how well it will meet your needs as you age in the years to come or if you experience mobility issues?
Future-proofing your bathroom is an important aspect of home design that can help ensure safety, accessibility, and functionality for everyone in your household, regardless of their age or ability, now and in the years ahead.
In this article, we’ll explore some key tips and strategies for designing a bathroom that can grow and adapt with you over time.
10 Ways to Future-Proof Your Bathroom
Whether you are designing a new bathroom or renovating your bathroom, do so in a way that anticipates and accommodates your future needs and potential changes in your household.
To create such a bathroom that is functional, safe, and accessible for all members of your family, regardless of their age or ability, try these 10 ways:
1. Shower Without Limits
A curbless shower is a modern and functional design that eliminates the need for a shower step or barrier, making it easier to access for people with mobility issues, as well as children and pets.
It also creates a sleek and seamless look in your bathroom.
Curbless showers typically require a sloped floor to direct water toward the drain, hence the floor of the shower will need to be lower than the surrounding bathroom floor.
Also, the shower floor must be made of a slip-resistant material to prevent falls. You can choose from a range of materials, including tiles, vinyl, and concrete.
A curbless shower requires a linear drain that is flush with the floor. These ensure that water is properly directed towards the drain. Because these drains are flush with the floor, they give a sleek floor finish after positioning, whether at the edge or in the center of the shower area.
Glass enclosures can also be installed to prevent water from splashing outside of the shower area. You can choose from a range of options, including frameless and semi-frameless designs.
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2. Get a Grip
Stylish grab bars are an important safety feature that can help prevent slips and falls in the bathroom, especially for seniors or people with mobility issues.
They should be placed in areas where they can be easily accessed and provide the most support. Common areas include next to the toilet, in the shower or tub, and near the sink.
There are several types of grab bars available, including straight bars, angled bars, and vertical bars.
Straight bars are the most common and can be installed horizontally or vertically. Angled bars provide additional support for people who have difficulty standing up from a seated position, and vertical bars are ideal for providing support when getting in and out of the shower or tub.
Grab bars should be installed by a professional so they can ensure that the grab bars are securely anchored to the wall and can support the weight of the person using them.
Plus, they should be easy to grip and provide enough space for the person to comfortably hold onto.
3. Consider a Higher Toilet
Comfort-height toilets are taller than standard toilets. This feature can be especially beneficial for older adults or people with mobility issues.
This is because the added height can help reduce the strain on the knees and joints when sitting and standing, making it more comfortable to use.
If you or someone in your household has mobility issues or disabilities, a comfort height toilet can be a worthwhile investment to improve overall safety and comfort in the bathroom.
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4. Light the Way
A well-lit bathroom is essential for accessibility purposes, especially for people with mobility issues or disabilities. To ensure that your bathroom is well-lit:
Maximize the amount of natural light in your bathroom, if possible, by installing larger windows or skylights. This can help improve visibility and reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day.
Next, add ambient lighting throughout the bathroom to provide overall illumination and reduce shadows. This can be achieved with overhead fixtures, wall sconces, or recessed lighting.
You also want to install task lighting above or around the vanity and mirror to provide bright and direct lighting for grooming and hygiene activities.
In a future-proofed bathroom, installing motion-activated lighting can make it easier to navigate and reduce the risk of falls or injuries. What an advantage!
Finally, you want to install dimmer switches to allow for adjustable lighting levels, which can be useful for people with sensitivity to bright lights or who prefer a more relaxed atmosphere.
Use contrasting colors and finishes to improve visibility for people with visual impairments. For example, a white toilet bowl against a dark-colored floor can make it easier to see the toilet and avoid tripping hazards.
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5. Smart Fixtures for Smart Living
Using smart fixtures in your bathroom can be a great idea for several reasons.
These fixtures are designed to integrate with technology, allowing you to control various functions of your bathroom from your smartphone or other devices.
They enhance convenience in your bathroom, are designed to be energy-efficient, allowing you to save on your utility bills, and some smart fixtures, such as smart toilets, can provide added safety features, such as built-in night lights and motion sensors.
Hands-free faucets and toilets are other hygienic and convenient options for any bathroom. They can be activated by motion or touchless sensors, making them easy to use for everyone in your household.
Overall, great smart fixtures for the bathroom include:
- Smart toilets; designed to be easy to use and can include features such as automatic flushing, built-in bidets, and heated seats.
- Smart showerheads that can regulate water flow to conserve water and energy, and can also include features such as Bluetooth speakers and LED lighting.
- Smart mirrors that can be customized to provide different lighting levels, display weather and news, and even include built-in speakers.
- Smart faucets that can be controlled with a simple touch or voice command, allowing you to adjust water flow and temperature without having to manually adjust the handles.
6. Get a Clear View
Designing a bathroom with clear views can help create a more spacious and open feel, while also improving visibility and safety.
Such an open bathroom also helps inspire your wellness and you want this as the years go by. To create such a bathroom that inspires the views:
(a) Install large windows to help maximize natural light and create a more open and spacious feel in your bathroom. This can also improve visibility and reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day.
(b) Use frameless shower doors to help create a seamless and open look in your bathroom, while also providing a clear view of the shower area.
(c) Choose light-colored finishes, such as white or beige tiles, that can help reflect light and create a brighter and more open look in your bathroom.
More so, it is easy to revamp a bathroom with such light colors because you can easily add other colors without fear of color clashing.
(d) Install a floating vanity to help create a more spacious and open feel in your bathroom, while also providing a clear view of the floor area.
A floating vanity can enhance mobility in a bathroom by creating more floor space and reducing visual clutter.
Because a floating vanity is attached to the wall and does not touch the floor, it creates more open floor space, making it easier for people with mobility issues or disabilities to move around and access the sink area.
In addition, a floating vanity eliminates the need for a pedestal or other type of support that may get in the way or create a tripping hazard.
By reducing visual clutter, a floating vanity can also make the bathroom feel more spacious and open, which can improve overall accessibility and ease of use.
We recommend a floating vanity with drawers and not cupboards because they become easier to access as you can pull them out and reach everything inside without having to get down on your knees or bend over.
More so, they provide more storage capacity than cupboards of the same size because with drawers, you can stack items on top of each other.
With drawers, you can also categorize your items and place them in separate compartments, making it easier to locate specific items.
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7. Install mirrors strategically
Installing mirrors in strategic locations, such as opposite a window or above the vanity, can help reflect light and create a brighter and more open look in your bathroom.
This can also improve visibility and make the space feel larger and more spacious.
Medicine cabinets are a great choice for bathroom mirrors. This is because having storage behind your mirror can save valuable space in your bathroom, especially if you have a small bathroom.
It eliminates the need for a separate storage unit or cabinet, freeing up floor space and making your bathroom feel more spacious.
They also provide convenient access to your bathroom essentials, such as toiletries and cosmetics, allowing you to keep your items within easy reach, without having to leave your sink area.
When choosing bathroom mirrors, we recommend anti-fog mirrors that are a simple and effective solution for keeping your bathroom mirror clear and free of steam. This feature can be especially helpful in bathrooms with limited ventilation.
8. Save Water, Save Money
Saving water in the bathroom can not only help conserve a precious resource, but it can also save you money on your water bill.
By using less water, you can reduce your monthly water expenses and save money over time.
Some ways you can save more water in the bathroom include:
(a) Install low-flow showerheads: Low-flow showerheads use less water than traditional showerheads, without sacrificing water pressure or performance. By installing a low-flow showerhead, you can save significant amounts of water with each shower.
High Sierra Low-Flow Showerheads®
The High Sierra showerhead is a great option for those looking for an affordable yet durable showerhead that will last.
Recognized for its water-saving features by WaterSense, this showerhead also has a patented nozzle that delivers a strong, full spray of large drops so you enjoy the benefits of a high-flowing showerhead.
Better yet, it has a handy trickle option button that helps conserve water while lathering up.
You can choose from four different finishes – chrome, nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, and polished brass – and it comes in flow-rate options of 1.5, 1.8, or 2.0 gallons per minute.
Install a shower head on a hose at an adjustable height to offer more flexibility in the shower, allowing you to adjust the height and angle of the showerhead as needed. This is especially helpful if you need to direct the water to a specific area of your body.
Plus, it increases accessibility, making it easier to shower for individuals with mobility issues, such as the elderly or those with disabilities. They can be adjusted to the perfect height, making it easier to wash and rinse without straining or reaching.
(b) Install a low-flow toilet: Low-flow toilets use less water per flush than traditional toilets, which can help save water and reduce your water bill.
(c) Turn off the water while brushing your teeth: Leaving the water running while brushing your teeth can waste significant amounts of water. By turning off the water while brushing, you can save water and reduce your water bill.
(d) Fix leaks promptly: Leaky faucets and toilets can waste significant amounts of water over time. By repairing leaks as soon as they occur, you can save water and reduce your water bill.
(e) Take shorter showers: By reducing your shower time by just a few minutes, you can save gallons of water per shower.
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BEST BUDGET PICK: The Vitaclean Showerhead
Vitaclean HQ offers filtered shower heads with vitamin C and essential oils for an affordable and sustainably enhanced shower experience.
The best part: the installation is super easy also, and the instructions are clear and very straightforward.
It basically transforms your shower into an at-home spa!
9. Stay Safe on Slippery Surfaces
Slippery bathroom floors can be a safety hazard for everyone and especially for older adults or those with mobility issues.
You always want to start with slip-resistant flooring as an important safety feature that can help prevent falls in the bathroom because they are designed to provide traction and reduce the risk of slips and falls.
This type of flooring can be found in a variety of materials, including tiles, vinyl, and rubber.
Now, add non-slip mats to add more traction on slick bathroom floors and help prevent slips and falls. Place them in areas where water tends to accumulate, such as in front of the shower or bathtub.
You always want to keep the floor dry. Wiping up any water on the floor after showering or bathing can help prevent slips and falls and also reduce the risk of mold and mildew.
Another way to stay safe on slippery surfaces is to wear non-slip footwear with good traction so you can maintain your footing on slick bathroom floors.
A shower chair or seat is another great way to help you bathe safely and comfortably. If you have difficulty standing for long periods of time, consider adding one to your bathroom.
10. Make Room for Everyone
A spacious bathroom is a great way to future-proof your bathroom. It provides more room to move around, making it more comfortable to use, especially if you have a larger family or if you like to spend time in the bathroom relaxing.
It also provides more room for storage, allowing you to keep all your bathroom essentials organized and easily accessible.
It also provides more air circulation so your space is dry and free of moisture, helping to prevent mold and mildew, which can be harmful to your health.
If you’re considering selling your home in the future, a spacious bathroom can be a great selling point for potential buyers.
Therefore, during the design process, choose a flexible layout that provides more space.
Such a flexible layout fitted with expandable storage solutions like built-in shelves and baskets, also, can help ensure that your bathroom can accommodate everyone’s needs and keep it organized and functional.
Additionally, a flexible layout can allow for easy reconfiguration of your bathroom as your needs change over time.
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In conclusion, future proofing your bathroom is a smart investment that can improve accessibility, safety, and comfort for you and your loved ones.
By carefully considering your current and future needs, you can create a bathroom that meets your unique requirements and enhances your daily routine.
Whether you’re renovating an existing bathroom or building a new one from scratch, take the time to plan and design a bathroom that meets your needs now and in the years to come. Your future self will thank you for it!