I am continuing to gather information for my presentation on design/decorating tips for aging in place at the Society of Decorating Professionals Conference in October. Some general things to consider in good design and decorating include common sense ideas. Some that are not so easily thought of include using recessed light fixtures for better lighting in areas like the kitchen, the hallways, family room and other common areas. Using recessed lighting provides a more even lighting without so many shadows making it easier to navigate and work in these spaces with more clarity.
In addition, some easy things that can be done to make living easier and safer would be using lever handles on doors instead of round door knobs. It is much easier to open a door with a lever handle no matter what circumstance you are in- ever try to open a round doorknob with a basket of clothes in your hands? Also, when purchasing a home or making some remodeling choices, make sure the doors are at least 32" wide but preferably 36" wide. These days, the 36" is not much more than a smaller door and in the long run, it is a better/ safer choice. Changing door hardware sounds harder than it really is- there are instructions on the packages and they are no more expensive than a round door knob.
Speaking of doors and doorways, it is a good idea to have minimal transition strips to cut down on trip hazards. An easy way to do this is to have flush thresholds or a maximum of 1/4".
Another thing to consider while decorating is your entry or foyer- make sure you have a non-slip flooring. Watch that entry carpet- it could be a tripping hazard. Make sure it has a non-slip backing if you have to have one. There are some great options available that won’t slide.
I read this week where accessibility is going to be the next hot interest in the building industry. I would like to think that along with green design, it isn’t just a fad but good design. Any designer or decorator worth their salt will consider accessibility and ease of use as a primary objective, not as a hot topic. What do you think? Please feel free to let me know, I am interested in your ideas and opinions. Take care.