What is Universal Design?
The theory of universal design states that your home should be accessible to all people, regardless of their age, size, or ability. Embrace the principles of universal design and outfit your kitchen with elements that will make working in the space convenient for everyone.
Choose Smart Surfaces
When designing a universal kitchen, it’s important to keep all aspects of both use and upkeep in mind, so choose countertop materials wisely. Solid-surfacing countertops, such as granite and laminate, are easy to clean and will stand up well to normal wear and tear over the years.
Install Adequate Lighting
Natural light is always the best, so make sure your kitchen has at least one large window to welcome sunlight and views of the outside. Install task lighting above certain areas, such as the island and cooktop, to ensure safety for the cook.
Consider Flooring Options
Kitchens are high-traffic areas, so take care when choosing your flooring. Opt for comfortable, slip-resistant floors, such as cork or linoleum, to make sure people of all ability levels can move through your kitchen with ease.
Select a Faucet
Opt for a single-lever faucet to ensure people of all abilities can turn the water on and off. Single-lever models can be managed with either an open hand or a closed fist, making them perfect for homes with people who suffer from arthritis. Touch-on and touchless faucets are also great for universal design purposes.
A swath of contrasting color around the perimeter of the kitchen can help people who are visually impaired navigate throughout the space. This wide band of brick tiles contrasts the blue-painted lower cabinets and the black laminate countertops
Install Open Shelving
Go with Glass
Glass-front cabinetry functions similar to open shelving but lends a bit more structure. Outfitting cabinets with glass inserts makes it easy to spot the items you’re looking for and can also help a small kitchen feel more open.
Include Pullout Storage
Ever rummaged in a cabinet only to find out the item you’re searching for isn’t there? Save time and keep your kitchen more organized by outfitting your cabinets with pullout shelves. The pullout shelves make it easy to spot wanted items and can be maneuvered by people of all abilities.
Plan Your Island
Storage-laden islands are excellent additions to any kitchen. Make sure your island has between 42 and 48 inches on each side so that people in wheelchairs or other mobility devices can move easily throughout the work space.
Install a Wall Oven
Wall ovens can be installed at any level along the wall. Install yours a bit lower on the wall so that people of smaller stature or those who use a wheelchair can easily access the oven. If you have the space, install a second wall oven above the lower one to make preparing large meals more convenient.