It’s April, and with summer on the horizon, it’s the time that many of us start thinking about making some much needed (or wanted) upgrades to our home. While the kids and grandkids are living life on their smartphones and talking about glitter tattoos and the latest fashion trends, you (and almost everyone else over the age of 30) are focused on slightly more practical matters – like how to make the bathroom a bit more accessible, but not reducing the look and resale value of your home. After all, even if we’re getting older, we don’t have to choose between attractiveness and comfort.
So, what’s on the top of the priority list? Maybe it’s getting harder to get around in your tiny bathroom. Then again, it would be nice to freshen up the look of your kitchen too. On the other hand, someone might be moving in while they recover from knee surgery, but where since you’d rather not give up your home office? Or maybe the grandkids are staying for the summer?
There are lots of considerations as you plan and prioritize remodeling projects. Understanding some options might be the best place to start and home trends for 2018 dovetail nicely into accessibility renovations.
The next few years will continue to see renovation design combining clean aesthetics with individualized functionality. Our attention continues to focus on renovating the main room of modern homes – the kitchen.
Designers are turning kitchens into even better incarnations of themselves than ever before. New kitchens for 2018 are more open and more functional to accommodate older homeowners and multigenerational families. The kitchen is fully embracing its role as the hub of living in your home, and while islands fell out of fashion briefly, their coming back. Updating the kitchen with a centralized workstation (also known as the island) makes the space more functional and accessible.
New islands are being installed with outlets at varying heights (for accessibility from a standing position or wheelchair) and counters to accommodate seated users (like those in a walker) on one side and seated diners on the other. These powerhouse stations can also be customized with lowered cooktops and pullout racks for utensils. The overall feel of a renovated kitchen is casual and calm – great for early mornings or end of day coffee and tea. They’re also decked out to host family time where many people can gather for a meal and conversation while food is being prepped. It’s an important consideration for adult children who may have their own parents moving in soon or those who already have multiple generations under one roof. For these people, rightsizing means adding an extra room for family and expanding the use of existing spaces like the kitchen. Whether additional family is moving in or not, the emphasis is on modifying and updating your home to be attractive and practical.
Bathrooms are next on our list of rooms due for a major sleek makeover. The primary colors of the season are shades of white, grey, blue, and green. For example, “In the Moment” and “Quiet Time” both by Behr. Our renovated bathrooms also highlight brass or bronze features for faucets, light fixtures, and grab bars.
Structurally, open barrier-free bathrooms are expected to be a long-lasting trend. The overall clean and uncluttered feel of this renovation provides space to relax and de-stress. An open-floor plan means that you can maximize the use of space and have enough room for maneuverability in general, but especially for wheelchairs. A barrier-free shower with a collapsible lip is perfect for a clean, modern or European look – and meets the needs of most adults. Fixtures can include towel bars that double as grab bars and a sliding adjustable shower head that looks and feel great. The result of this bathroom is a zen-like retreat complimented by clean lines and little clutter.
Have a more “crowded home?” More people means more traffic overall throughout the house. Whether you have a wheelchair or walker or not, one solution is to widen doorways and hallways along with installing ramps. These modifications translatei nto easy transitions between rooms, giving the home a more open feel AND making it accessible to walkers, wheelchairs, or strollers. It also means hospital beds can be moved into a room without causing cosmetic damage to the walls and door frame.
Need some quiet time from the rest of the family? Pocket doors are a great way to maximize space and have the added bonus of being easy to use in for people with limited dexterity. For outside the home, custom ramps can be installed that integrate themselves into the home’s overall design so that everyone can easily enjoy the deck or backyard.
While you’re making plans for an upgrade, tell those grandkids that you can use your smartphone or Alexa to control the lights and temperature in the house too! It’s an easy way to go “green” and have more control of your environment.
There’s a lot to consider. Don’t be overwhelmed by all the options. The key is identifying your priorities, and finding a contractor who will listen and provide you the best options to match your lifestyle and your budget. With the right remodel, your home will be simultaneously updated for better accessibility and given a beauty makeover all at once. And who knows? It might just be enough to get the kids to look up from their smartphones, and take a selfie with grandma and grandpa in their beautifully renovated home!