Aging in place design is a school of thought within the interior design industry that aims to create housing which allows people to stay in their homes as they age. By making some relatively minor, yet surprisingly important design changes during home remodeling or construction, homeowners are able to continue using and enjoying their homes as they age, rather than being forced to move to a nursing home or assisted care facility due to the constraints of their home environment.

Certified Aging in Place Specialists like our own principal designer Michelle Nettles often encounter resistance to the idea of aging in place design. Most people fear that incorporating aging in place features will make their home look too sterile or medical, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Read on to see our picks for the top 5 aging in place features that you’d never notice as accessibility features if we didn’t tell you.

Lever door handles- Lever handles are easier to open than doorknobs for people with arthritis or other medical issues that affect the ability to grip and turn a knob. However, plenty of young, able-bodied people love them for the convenience they provide. Moms and dads especially know how convenient it is to be able to open a door with the simple tap of an elbow while carrying a baby or carting a load of groceries!

Lever-handled plumbing fixtures- The same concept applies to lever-handled plumbing fixtures, which are much easier to turn on and off than standard sink, tub, or shower knobs.

Towel bars that double as grab bars- Grab bars are, understandably, one of the most unpopular additions to a home, because they are so obviously medical and often stand out in stark contrast to the rest of the decor. The thinking goes that it’s hard enough to need grab bars, must they look terrible as well? Fortunately, thanks to some beautiful products that have come on the market in recent years, the answer is no! You can incorporate grab bars into your bathroom that simply look like towel bars- but are sturdy enough to provide support, should you ever need it.

Ambient and task lighting- As we age, many of us experience some loss of eyesight and depth perception. One way to prevent falls in older adults is to help make their path more visible. This can be accomplished with ambient lighting, and can even be motion-activated to save energy while providing increased safety. Lights along the bottom of cabinets at the toe board or toe kick can help prevent nighttime crashes and stubbed toes- a hazard that many folks have experienced, not just seniors!

Task lighting also becomes more necessary with age, but let’s be honest- it’s always better to work with proper lighting. Helping you choose the right light fixtures to create the ideal combination of atmosphere and utility is just one of the many benefits we offer at MJN & Associates Interiors!

Walk-in shower- Also known as a roll-in or thresholdless shower, these free-standing showers have no ledge or wall between the shower and the rest of the bathroom, allowing a person to roll into the shower space in a wheelchair. The lack of a threshold also removes a tripping hazard for those who are not too steady on their feet.

While this style of shower definitely benefits people with accessibility issues, it is also perfectly in sync with today’s spa shower trend!

If you’re ready to remodel your home in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, or elsewhere in the Hampton Roads area, give us a call today! Our full service interior design firm can help you give your home a brand new look- and add some clever and subtle features to improve accessibility.