Universal Design

What does it mean for your kitchen?

You may want to stay in your home indefinitely, but you may also realize that your kitchen needs to be adapted for your family’s changing needs.

Universal design (UD) may be the answer for you. When your home is universally designed, it’s built to meet all levels of abilities throughout people’s lives, from young to old. The central ideas behind a UD kitchen are simplicity and user-friendliness.

A UD kitchen would fit the following criteria:

  1. It would be built to meet a range of body sizes and abilities
  2. It would be built to accommodate a variety of physical, mental, and age-appropriate abilities
  3. It’s designed to be easily utilized to its fullest extent
  4. It’s designed to insure health, safety, and wellness for all who use it
  5. It’s built to allow a group of people to be able to comfortably congregate and move around in one central location
  6. It allows people to personalize their use of the kitchen for three reasons: food preparation, cleanup, and socializing
  7. It meets the cultural and aesthetic needs of people.

Universally Designed Kitchens

The floor plan of a UD kitchen is more open to allow wheelchairs and walkers ample room to maneuver around corners. And floors are skid-proof to allow young and old to move and work safely in the kitchen.

When it comes to kitchen cabinetry and appliances, universal design is ergonomic, meaning that it’s user-friendly and requires minimal body strength to be able to use it. For example, universally designed dishwashers open horizontally, with large drawers, so someone in a wheelchair or walker can still load and unload it. Horizontal dishwashers also allow children to participate in kitchen cleanup by loading it after a family meal.

Kitchen cabinetry is built lower so it can be reached by people with limited mobility. Cabinetry hardware is now designed with pulls to allow for easier opening. And refrigerator and freezer units are better lit and wider so it’s easier to see and retrieve stored items.

Also, UD kitchens have added lighting under cabinets and in corners to allow everyone to clearly read labels and to better handle tasks. Counter tops and sinks are now able to be raised and lowered to meet a variety of height needs.

The Traditional Triangle Kitchen and UD

Traditionally, kitchens have been built using a triangle design. The triangle design can still be used with UD, but it may need to be modified into smaller triangles to allow for more movability and more work stations. There are definitely a lot of positives to breaking up a traditional kitchen into smaller triangular units. Some of these pros include

  1. Easier mobility for those who are in wheelchairs and walkers
  2. Family members, from young children through senior adults, working together, but in four different stations, within the kitchen
  3. Kitchens are more functional with added counter, drawer, and cabinet space
  4. UD kitchens continue to have three main work zones, but they’re divided up to include many work stations meeting the following functions: food preparation, cooking, and cleanup.

And UD kitchens are built to reflect the homeowners’ personalities. If you want a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances, you can have a UD kitchen with a modern look. If you prefer a more vintage look, cabinetry and appliances can be designed for that look as well as have the ergonomic features and roominess to meet everyone’s needs.

A kitchen remodel designer can help you design a layout that will meet both your needs and the look that you desire. A UD kitchen remodel can allow your kitchen to be used by all of your family and friends because it’s built to be used by many people at the same time.

If you live in Lancaster County or its surrounding counties, and you’d like to discuss UD kitchen designs with a professional, it’s time to find a local kitchen remodel company that will listen to what you need in a UD kitchen. Find a local company that can help you design and build your UD kitchen under one umbrella.

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