The term universal design refers to architecture, products and interiors that are designed for easy use by everyone, including those with physical disabilities. The predecessor to universal design was “design for accessibility”. These terms refer to designs that serve the needs of people with disabilities. But universal design is different in that it emphasizes the creation of environments that are comfortable for everyone, without stigmatization for anyone.
Some elements can be easily applied, while others require an architect or a specialized contractor.
Stair-less entryways eliminate the need for ramps that draw attention to the disabilities of those who cannot navigate staircases. Also, they make life easier for people with strollers or large packages.
Another point is that the threshold of the front door should be condensed to reduce the risk of trips and falls.
For visual matters, LARGE, clear house numbers, a well-lit entrance to fumble for your keys in the dark, and a doorbell that lights up and is low enough to be easily reached by everyone including kids.
Also, doorknobs and handles should be large and easy to use. I recommend levered or O-Shaped.
Use a wall-mounted sink bowl near the front of the counter to offer maximum accessibility. This way you allow people to place objects (toothbrush, face wash, etc.) conveniently nearby. Also, there should be knee space underneath for wheelchairs. You can hide it behind cupboard doors.
Place a full-length mirror in a convenient place to allow everyone, including children and those in a seated position, to comfortably view themselves.
Of course, grab bars in the showers and behind the toilet seats are a must when needed. Moreover, a toilet seat adapter that can make a seat higher for home members that can’t lower themselves. Add to those points ground level showers that can be entered by wheelchairs.
You can place steady end tables next to couches to give people something to grab on to as they stand up or sit down. Try to use a catapult seat that slowly tilts forward, allowing a disabled person to stand up without needing strength.
Nowadays, you can easily provide remote controls for everything, as simple as for a TV and DVD players, to lamps and window treatments.
Put some effort in furniture arrangement, providing enough space for comfortable movement. An overly cluttered plan increases the risk of tripping.
Fix a stable nightstand next to the bed. This will give support to anyone who needs something to lean on when getting up. Additionally, a bed with adjustable heights will provide comfort. Add a light switch next to the bed, to ensure nobody stumbles in the dark.
Storage space that contains adjustable shelving and carousels allows for easy access to items in the back of a closet.