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KBIS Virtual 2021: Important Bathroom Features for Living in Place



The Living In Place Institute has established a global network of interior design professionals who collaborate to make homes safer, healthier and more comfortable for everyone. On Tuesday, February 9th,I had the honor of co-presenting a virtual presentation with my colleague Gunnar Baldwin for the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s (NKBA) Kitchen Bath Industry Show (KBIS). Our session “Important Bathroom Features: Going Beyond Aging in Place and Universal Design” was proudly sponsored by The Living In Place Institute and TOTO USA.


Our presentation was grounded on the premise that all individuals have the right to live in their home for as long as they are able, with independence, dignity and ease. After all, Living In Place is defined as “being able to live comfortably and safely in your home at any age.” As a Certified Living In Place Professional (CLIPP) I believe Inclusive Design has the power to be safe, accessible and beautiful for all ages and mobilities. There is also a strong economic argument for designing and renovating with multiple generations in mind. Since the capacity for safe cleanliness and hygiene is a significant driver for relocation as people age, there is a natural and important correlation between Living In Place and bathroom design.


So, what are the essential ingredients for a bathroom that meets Living In Place design standards? Gunnar and I identified and unpacked the following:


  • Minimum 36” width entryways facilitate easy access for most abilities;

  • Non-skid heated floors provide safety and comfort;

  • Infrared overhead lighting and radiant heat panels expedite the evaporation of slippery steam and allows greater visibility;

  • When space allows, a five plus foot turning space allows wheelchairs to make unobstructed turns and maneuvers;

  • Safety grab bars secured to the wall near the toilet and shower provides stability for all ages;

  • Contrasting horizon line tiles at eye-level enhances visual clarity and improves balance;

  • Shower safety can be functional AND beautiful (including threshold-free shower entrances, contrast flooring at shower entrances, shower seats, hand-held shower heads, and linear drains);

  • Friendly lever-style faucet handles or smart faucets can be activated hands-free by sensor;

  • Night lights integrated into wall mirrors, medicine cabinets and vanities allow greater visibility at night (circadian auto sets also available);

  • Wall-mounted toilets have concealed tanks allowing for more space in the bathroom and make it easier to clean around and underneath. Height can be customized by your contractor at installation.

  • Well worth the initial investment, Smart Toilets like the Washlet/Neorest models from TOTO USA are self-cleaning with heated seating for relaxation, a dryer and deodorizer.



Curious to learn more about updating your bathroom to meet Living In Place standards?

Set up a Living In Place Design Assessment with us today!


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