Our guide to designing a stylish bathroom that's accessible to every member of your family
The number of people in the UK who live to be over 85 years old is expected to double from 1.4 million to 3.5 million within the next 25 years, according to UK National Statistics.
“With this in mind, it’s not only how we use the bathroom now that we need to consider, but what will make it a comfortable place for the whole family in the future, too,” says Sarah Holey from Laufen.
What’s crucial, when considering mobility as part of your plans for a new bathroom, is that these products don’t lead you to compromise on the look of the space.
An accessible wetroom
Case Study: Accessible bathroom
When building their new home in Yorkshire, Build It readers Helen and Bill Barker were keen to design a modern home which integrated accessibility features discreetly.
“I have a progressive weakness of the legs and arms and am slowly becoming much more dependent on a wheelchair,” says Bill. The couple opted for a wetroom to ensure easy access long term.
“Thankfully, accessible products have become much more design-led, so they are now perfectly suited to achieving a luxurious feel,” says Sarah.
Practicalities for creating a bathroom for all ages
If you want to build to Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes standards, following the Lifetime Homes principle is mandatory.
The concept promotes the construction of dwellings that are accessible and easily adaptable to meet the changing needs of current and future occupants.
As a minimum requirement, sufficient space should be provided so that a wheelchair user can access the bathroom on the same storey as the main bedroom.
You’ll need to provide 1,100mm clearance in front of the basin, while the bath should have a clear space of at least 1,100mm along its side.
Easy-access solutions for bathrooms
As we get older, it becomes more difficult to lift legs over baths, harder to turn on taps and tougher to stand for long periods of time.
So when designing the space, you need to select practical and easy-to-use solutions. Level access shower trays, such as Bette’s flush-to-floor shower area, eliminate the need for a step up and ensure easy access.
Adjustable basins and toilets are a great solution for the whole family as they can be lowered or moved up according to preference.
Sensor operated basin spouts are ideal for those who find it difficult to turn taps on and off. Wall-hung basins don’t have a pedestal in the way, which makes it easier to sit at them, and low-level baths are a good addition for people who have trouble getting in and out of the tub.
Digital safety measures in bathrooms
Avoid walking into a freezing cold shower or being scalded by boiling water when someone turns on another tap in the house by investing in a digital model.
You can pre-set water temperatures that will remain constant throughout to provide the perfect shower experience – and a great safety feature.