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5 Aging-in-Place Bathroom Remodeling Design Considerations

October 18th, 2023 | 4 min read

By Aaron King

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Are you or a loved one thinking about the future and how your home will accommodate your changing needs as you age? It's a common concern that many people face as they plan for the years ahead. The bathroom, in particular, can pose significant challenges due to its potential hazards and limited accessibility.

At Custom Built, we understand how important it is to create a safe and comfortable environment for aging in place. With 15+ years of experience in home remodeling and a deep understanding of the unique needs of seniors, we've helped numerous individuals and families adapt their bathrooms to ensure both functionality and style.

We understand the importance of creating an environment that supports aging in place. That's why many of our team members have dedicated time and value to becoming Certified Aging In Place Specialists (CAPS). We are dedicated to ensuring your utmost satisfaction and comfort in your home for years to come.

In this article, we'll share five essential bathroom remodeling design considerations that can make a difference for those looking to age in place gracefully. You'll discover practical solutions and expert insights that will help you or your loved ones enjoy a bathroom that's not only beautiful but also tailored to the needs of every stage of life:

Layout and Spacing that Encourages Easier Mobility

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One of the first and most vital considerations for an aging-in-place bathroom remodel is the layout and spacing. The design should accommodate mobility aids like walkers or wheelchairs. Ensuring a bathroom's accessibility starts with making the entryway large enough (minimum 32 inches, maximum 48 inches) to maneuver such equipment comfortably.

Additionally, door openings should be spacious, enabling easy access without restrictions. However, older homes may present challenges with space limitations. Smaller bathrooms that were once purely practical may require more extensive remodeling.

In such cases, opening the bathroom into adjacent rooms or converting a nearby space into an ensuite bathroom might be necessary solutions. At Custom Built, we specialize in helping clients navigate these challenges, ensuring every home is equipped for aging in place.

Slip-Resistant Flooring That Prevents Injuries

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PC: Amtico Flooring

Choosing flooring in an aging-in-place bathroom remodeling design is crucial for safety. Because of this, slip-resistant flooring is essential to preventing accidents, especially when exiting a shower or bathtub.

Our bathroom flooring recommendation? Textured luxury vinyl tile/plank (LVT/LVP). This easy-to-install option provides stellar traction, making it easier for homeowners to maintain their footing. Additionally, it's a warm and comfortable flooring choice for bathrooms, primarily due to its layered construction and material composition.

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Textured LVT/LVP Flooring

LVT typically consists of layers that provide insulation, making it feel warmer underfoot compared to materials like ceramic tiles. This flooring option also retains and holds onto warmth efficiently, creating a comfortable and cozy bathroom environment, especially when paired with radiant heating systems.

While tile is another option, it can be cold and expensive unless you opt for heated tile floors, which involve extra costs for electrical wiring. Tile can also become slippery when wet, posing a danger to elderly and disabled homeowners.

Safety Fixtures and Features for Elevated Accessibility

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Equipping the bathroom with safety fixtures and features is paramount for aging in place. These elements enhance both convenience and security. Key additions include grab bars, strategically placed for sitting and standing assistance near toilets, showers, and bathtubs.

Installing a shower seat allows individuals to sit while showering, which is a great help for those with mobility challenges. Consider comfort-height toilet stools and taller vanities to minimize bending and make daily routines more accessible.

Curbless showers or walk-in tubs, where the entrance is level with the bathroom floor, eliminate tripping hazards. Handheld showerheads provide versatility, especially for those who need to sit during their shower.

All of these enhancements are easy to install and significantly improve bathroom usability.

Lighting and Visibility that Decreases the Risk of Accidents

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Proper lighting is essential for an aging-in-place bathroom. It should be bright enough to perform tasks and adjustable to accommodate varying needs.

Installing dimmer switches enables you to customize the lighting to your requirements. Brighter settings may be necessary for tasks like reading medication labels, while dimmer lighting is more suitable for nighttime trips to the bathroom.

Adequate lighting inside the shower ensures safety, allowing individuals to see clearly during their shower routine. Consider under-cabinet lighting with motion detectors for nighttime visits, so you won't need to turn on all the lights.

Accessories for Added Comfort and Stability

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Enhance your aging-in-place bathroom with thoughtful accessories. Towel warmers offer the comfort of a warm towel after bathing, while grab bars strategically placed around the toilet, near the vanity, and outside the shower provide essential stability. 

Walk-in tubs with waterproof seals and a track on the ceiling are innovative options, making bathing safer and more accessible. For added security, consider ceiling tracks and belts for support, especially during in-home rehabilitation.

Next steps to designing your aging-in-place bathroom

As you or your loved ones embark on the journey of adapting your home for aging in place, it's crucial to remember the importance of bathroom design. This space, with its potential hazards and daily significance, demands special attention. 

By exploring the five key considerations outlined in this article, you've gained valuable insights into creating a bathroom that's not only safe and functional but also aesthetically pleasing. These design elements can significantly improve the quality of life for seniors, providing peace of mind and independence.

For over 15 years, we have been at the forefront of helping individuals and families make their homes more accessible and accommodating for all life stages. With our expertise and commitment to excellence, we're here to assist you in turning your aging-in-place dreams into a reality.

Your bathroom can become a sanctuary of safety and independence. Don't hesitate to contact us to explore how we can transform your bathroom into a space that perfectly balances form and function for years.

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Now that you’ve gained essential design insights, let’s explore some of the costs involved with remodeling your bathroom, as well as how Custom Built will approach your project:

Aaron King

Aaron has been in the building industry his entire life. He worked in his family’s housing business growing up in Dewitt, MI, and for nearly 40 years, built homes in the Mid-Michigan area. He has also worked with the Greater Lansing Home Builder’s Association since he was 18 years old.