For families and homeowners planning for the future, any “forever” home that you settle down in needs to incorporate a design with the long-term in mind.

Using elements of universal design helps a home keep its value and ensures that homeowners will actually want to live there permanently. Universal design isn’t just practical. It’s also more cost-effective and sustainable: Any design strategies and materials ensure the home is usable by all occupants “to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design."

This quarter’s featured floor plan is an accessible, versatile, two-bedroom home. It’s perfect as a vacation or retirement property, or for the homeowner who’s aging-in-place and doesn’t want to take care of tons of square footage. What follows are a few tips to help inspire your future forever home, so that it includes more accessible and universal design features.

A Balance of Open and Flexible Space

Even if your home is set up for your personal retirement or holiday escapes, you’ll still want a design with communal areas when space is needed for guests. Plan ahead for the perfect entertainment space: Design with ample amounts of natural light, open room and make sure the area is accessible to the kitchen or bathrooms.

Whether you’re building or remodeling your home, you’ll want to include features like expansive glass design and a clean, neutral color palette. These aren’t components of design that you’re likely to change since natural light is known to enhance well-being and a plain, neutral background is always easy to work with.

If you’re planning on retiring in your home, the design should accommodate your family’s changing physical needs. Doorways and entryways should be at least 32 inches wide to allow for wheelchairs. The National Association of Homebuilders also recommends a 5-foot-by-5-foot area of clear space in main areas of the home, like the living room and kitchen.

Getting the Most Out of Your Second Bedroom

A second bedroom can function a few ways: It can be a home office, an extra space for visitors or sometimes even both thanks to a pull out sofa or murphy bed. Designing the room away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the home ensures a quiet space for work or for guests to relax.

The mostly neutral color palette featured in this room complements the rest of the home’s design, but the pop of color from the coral helps the room make an impact on its own.

Splurge on the Master Suite

It’s the space that homeowners will technically spend the most time in: the master bedroom.

This floor plan takes that into account, with the master suite taking up an entire wing of the home. Add further luxury to the bedroom space by adding a nook with a comfortable window seat for lounging on. Plus, it can double as extra storage for seasonal clothes or blankets.

Built-in shelves can surround you with the things you love: photos of family members and friends, great books and favorite items collected when traveling.

Simple, Clean Colors

The white and soft gray in this bathroom’s color palette continues the same consistent look throughout the entire home. Subtle shades and straight lines also give this bathroom space a clean canvas to work with, and homeowners can easily swap out decor and other details if the time comes for a design update.

Universal design means that the space should accommodate the changing physical needs of your family so that it’s accessible to everyone. Installing grab bars can help people with mobility issues get around a little bit easier, and other features can make the bathroom space a better fit for older occupants:

  • Installing toilets with higher seats
  • Adjustable or hand-held shower heads
  • Walk-in bathtubs
  • Rubber flooring
  • Enough room for wheelchairs to turn around

In other words, a universal bathroom design will include features that have the safety and health of all occupants in mind.

Timeless Trends

White cabinetry and straight lines are also featured in the kitchen, and natural design elements, like the wood trim above the stove, contrast nicely with the soft grays in the backsplash.

Keep the kitchen space up-to-date with stainless steel appliances and access to the dining area, which gives you even more room for entertaining in the home. Installing cabinets and countertops at a lower height can also help to make the kitchen easier to use for older occupants or those less mobile. Including a 5-by-5-foot clear space will accommodate wheelchairs and can prevent crowding or accidents in the kitchen.

Future-Focused Floor Plan Design

Using design strategies and materials that stand up over time means that you’ll get the most from your home, no matter what kind of floor plan you’re working with.

Homeowners can ensure the exterior of their home also meets their expectations for long term satisfaction. Using high-quality siding and soffit products from Rollex helped this homeowner protect their exterior from harsh weather and seasonal storms.

Design your home with the future in mind: By using universal design details and accessible space throughout the home, you might find you’ll want to stay there forever.

Check out this three-bedroom floor plan if you’re looking to go a little bigger with your design. Or, if you want more tips for aging-in-place in your home, take a look at some tips and ideas on Rollex’s blog.