The motivation behind most bathroom remodels is to get a bathroom that looks better than it did before. We don’t blame you, of course, because that part of the process is loads of fun: picking a new shower/tub, choosing fresh flooring and countertops, updating fixtures and wall surrounds, swapping out the vanity…the list goes on and on. With the recent trend in aging in place, though, modern bathroom remodels have taken on a more safety-conscious aesthetic. That doesn’t mean you need to compromise form for function. Here are nine safety tips you can seamlessly integrate into your bathroom remodel.
Tip No. 1 Avoid a Major Slip Up
Bathrooms are high-risk areas for slips and falls because they combine hard, slick surfaces and the near-constant presence of water. Reduce the likelihood of a family member taking a spill by incorporating slip-resistant flooring into your remodel. This style of flooring can cover the general square footage of your bathroom, including the bottom of the bathtub or shower base. No more need for rubbery mats!
Tip No. 2 A Walk-In the Park
If swapping out the tub or shower is going to be part of your remodel, consider opting for a walk-in version. With a low or zero-threshold entry, walk-ins eliminate the risk of tripping when having to step over a tricky barrier. A walk-in bathtub or shower can also be fitted with a built-in seat or bench that matches the wall surround and elegantly blends into the rest of your bathroom.
Tip No. 3 Don’t Get Burned
Consider adding an anti-scald valve to the faucets and showerhead to ensure that the water won’t ever get too hot. These valves also regulate water pressure, preventing a sudden burst of hot water if someone redirects the cold-water supply elsewhere in your home.
Tip No. 4 Up for Grabs
While they’re often advertised for the elderly, grab bars offer extra security for family members of all ages while maneuvering around the bathroom. They’re cost-effective and can be installed near the toilet and inside the shower or bathtub for added stability. Another smart grab bar location that’s been in vogue recently is the towel rack. People have a tendency to pull or lean on towel racks for support, so it makes sense to replace yours with a grab bar that’s indistinguishable. Consider choosing grab bars with a textured surface to offer a better grip.
Tip No. 5 Expand Your Options
The typical bathroom doorway is 24 to 28 inches wide, but if you have a family member who currently uses a wheelchair or might need one in the future, it’s a good idea to expand that entrance to at least 32 inches. In addition, install an outward swinging door if you don’t already have one, as they don’t restrict space when open and allow emergency access in case someone falls against the door.
Tip No. 6 A Bright Idea
Make sure your bathroom has adequate ceiling and wall mounted lights so that there are no dark or shadowy areas where a fallen hairbrush or towel could become a hidden tripping hazard. It’s also wise to double-check the lighting situation in the hallway or area outside your bathroom so you can be sure-footed even in the middle of the night.
Tip No. 7 Level It Out
Install a comfort-height toilet (at least two inches taller than a standard toilet) to aid aging family members who have difficulty rising from a seated position. If you have small children, opt for an elevated seat attachment so you can adjust the sitting height as needed.
Tip No. 8 Sink into Safety
Consider a wall-mounted sink to free up space for anyone who uses a wheelchair or walker. It will also make the area easier to clean! Keep in mind that single-handle, lever-style faucets are a good fit for those with limited hand strength and dexterity.
Tip No. 9 Keep It on Lock
Safeguard the contents of your medicine cabinet by installing a child-proof lock. You should also be sure to talk to your kids about the importance of medicine safety, and regularly dispose of unused/expired medications.