Top five home design trends for 2014

Last Updated Dec 31, 2013 7:00 AM EST

  • Universal design makes its way into every room of the house

    Nancy Hugo, CKD

    While the idea of universal design, a concept in which a space is designed with aging users in mind, has been around since the 1960s, it has only recently taken off. More Americans want to age in place, particularly after seeing home values plummet throughout the Great Recession. They want to know the home they already have can accommodate them as they age. Therefore, more homes are being designed to meet those needs, and the design elements range from putting a master bedroom on the first floor to substituting levers for knobs to open doors.

    Drawer appliances are one of those little changes that more Americans are incorporating into their homes that make them more accessible. Microwave drawers and warming drawers can hide away in cabinets, beneath countertops, but still function like their counterpart products. This way, they’re not hanging above a hot stove or countertop, so those with limited mobility or in wheelchairs can still easily reach them. Dishwasher drawers and refrigerator drawers are also more easily accessed for those with limited mobility.

    “That’s the point of the drawer, it crosses many generations and ages in places as well when it becomes hard to lift things up,” Petrie said. “The same thing goes for the shower. One of the other changes we’re seeing is barrier-free showers that don’t have a threshold in them for anyone to step over.”

    The showers are also larger, and sometimes can accommodate benches and bars to make showering easier. 

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.