Universal Design: 7 Principles That Ensure Elements Accommodate All Ages and Functions

By applying concepts of universal design to your home renovation or construction project, you can ensure that the residence will be usable for most family members for the longest period of time. Here are seven principles of universal design that can help keep a home functional for years.

  1. Equitable: Universal design features should be usable and beneficial to all residents, not just some–older parents or grandparents, for example.
  2. Flexible: Universal design elements should be flexible to use. For example, right-handed or left-handed persons should be able to use the same feature. A home’s spaces should be usable by individuals in wheelchairs, on crutches, or with normal mobility.
  3. Simple: Universal design features should be easy to use without causing confusion or unnecessary complexity.
  4. Error-resistant: Features should have as little potential for hazards or errors as possible. The more frequently used a feature is, the safer, more accessible, and error-tolerant it should be.
  5. Physically easy to use: Universal design features should require little physical effort to use. Residents should be able to activate or use these features from a neutral, unstressed body position.
  6. Perceptible: It should be easy to tell when a task has been completed or when a universal design feature has done its job. Information about the feature should be easily identified and distinct from its surroundings.
  7. Easy to approach and use: There should be plenty of space to approach, reach, and use any universal design features. Line of sight should be clear and reach comfortable. Personal assistive devices or assistance should be accommodated.

Sage Builders LLC, a general contractor in Newton, MA, provides professional design/build services, renovation work, and residential design and construction consulting. Contact us today for more information on how incorporating universal design concepts into your home can be beneficial now and years into the future.

Photo via Sage Builders LLC