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Universal Design in the Bathroom





Universal Design Throughout the House

Univeral Design

In the Bathroom

  • Install countertops with contrasting edge-banding.
  • In the tub/shower, choose an adjustable-height showerhead so the showerhead can easily be positioned at a comfortable height for anyone. Use only anti-scald or pressure balancing valves. The very old and the very young, in particular, are susceptible to burns from scalding water.
  • Offset shower and/or tub controls to the room side of the enclosure so they can easily be reached from outside the tub or shower.
  • Install grab bars or at least install blocking between the studs so that grab bars can easily be added in the future.
  • Install vanities of different heights if possible; even men of average height find they have to crouch while shaving at a standard vanity.
  • To provide wheelchair access, make sure the doorway is 32 inches wide, install a curb-free shower pan, choose a wall-hung sink with covered pipes, and try to provide a 60-inch clear floor space for turning the wheelchair.

Throughout the House

  • Choose lever handles instead of doorknobs.
  • Design hallways and doorways that are 32 inches wide or more.
  • Avoid changes in floor height, including thresholds.
  • Lower switches and raise receptacles so that they can be reached from a seated position.


For Further Information

Center for Universal Design

Ask for the Universal Design Guidelines

U.S. Access Board


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