Aging in Place Bathroom Design

Some things are unavoidable. Most of us will, sooner or later, temporarily or permanently, have difficulty standing, walking, using our hands, or reading the instructions on the box of whatever. There are many different challenges we face in life. Sometimes from birth. And sometimes in our later years.  Making a bathroom, or any space for that matter, easy to use for all people is just an extension of our desire to make homes work better. Not only do we remodel to update the mechanicals and finishes but we want to make sure the remodeling will work now and in the future as we all change.

aging in place bathroom with curbless shower

Getting in and out of a curbless shower is easy for people with legs or wheels. This one is large enough to share with a caregiver or a special someone.

Aging-in-place Bathroom Design Features

Someday, you (or someone you love) might find self-care challenging. Universal remodeling design is the construction of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood, and used by all people – regardless of age, size, ability, or disability. It’s the practice of designing a living space to meet the needs of all who wish to use it. Remodeling is an opportunity to upgrade homes and spaces so they work better for people of all ages, sizes, shapes, and abilities. It’s a chance to plan for the future (yes, you will be“old” one day).

According to the AARP, “Even a small bathroom can be modified to improve accessibility. There are various resources, including the AARP Guide to Revitalizing Your Home to help you get ideas. Start by discussing your project with a CAPS contractor.”

Here are some features that make using the bathroom easier.


There should be enough room to move around with equipment (walker, cane, wheelchair) or with a caregiver. To allow wheelchair access, openings should be at least 32 inches wide.


Because the tank is in the wall, a recessed toilet allows more space for people and equipment. They can be positioned at any height, making it easier to “take a seat.”

This bathroom was designed for a teen with very specific needs. Universal design features are seamlessly integrated into the design.


A popular “luxury” these days! Available at many different price points, they come with just the basics or lots of bells and whistles. For anyone who has difficulty using the tub or shower, they’re a big win. (Fun fact: the toilet paper shortage during the pandemic triggered a surge in demand.)


A curbless shower design without a door eliminates barriers and reduces the risk of tripping. It also makes the layout more spacious.

Small ledges are prettier than grab bars and provide support for moving around; controls in the shower can be reached from a sitting or standing position.


Shower seats and benches are ideal for people with mobility, strength, or balance issues.


Keep niches low. Add grab bars. And include a multi-diverter so you can control the shower from more than one location. Open shelving makes it easier to reach personal items.

The open shelves and niches provide easy access to bath accessories.  Photos by Karen Melvin


As we age, we need more light. Design bathrooms with ample lighting from multiple sources. Use dimmers to brighten or soften the light as needed.

Remodeling for Your Future: Stay in the Home You Love

If you love your house, you will want to stay in it as long as possible. Our award-winning expertise in Universal Design can help you have the aesthetics and comfort you desire today while seamlessly building in the functional characteristics you and your loved ones may need in the future.

Download our free e-book, Remodeling for Your Future: Preserve your lifestyle. Stay in the home you love!

Give John a call at 612-861-0188 or fill out our Getting Started Form if you’d like to explore possibilities for your own aging-in-place bathroom design!