Ash Chilver of HiB looks at how the need to maximise safety in the pandemic, coupled with the growth in multigenerational living, are driving bathroom design choices which will attract homebuyers of all ages.
Home life is changing across the UK. With an ever-ageing population and a growing number of young adults staying at their parental homes for longer, having numerous age groups cohabiting has for many, become the norm.
Now, factor in the coronavirus pandemic we have endured over the past 12 months, and the subsequent rise in isolation and loneliness as a result of the restrictions, and it’s easy to predict that more large family bubbles will form in the future. So, how can we get ahead of the forecasts, and ensure that future builds and developments are fit for purpose?
When designing and building properties, accommodating homeowners’ current needs and future-proofing for changing circumstances are key considerations. By incorporating multigenerational features into the design and planning of the home, plus investing in furniture and accessories with different age groups in mind, developers can attract a wider range of buyers and ensure that everyone’s needs are accommodated.
The bathroom is one of the most important spaces for ensuring there is a blend of function and style for all ages. Often seen as a sanctuary within the home, a bathroom must provide a relaxing environment for all residents, while simultaneously meeting the practical needs of each user, from the young to the elderly.
Thankfully, there are plenty of solutions available which can create a multigenerational bathroom that is beautiful, functional and practical for all. From the structural considerations such as wetroom-style showering and suitable ventilation to ensure optimal hygiene and non-slip flooring, to the furniture and accessories that will improve the quality of the bathroom experience, it’s important for developers to consider all the options so they can create homes that deliver at every level.
DESIGN FOR SAFETY
Safety is often the key concern for households with less able residents. This can often mean installing wetroom facilities to allow those with limited mobility to move around the space without obstruction, and prevent difficulties stepping in and out of the bath or shower. However, key items such as shower seats, grab bars and grab rails can also have a huge impact. As more family units include people of all ages and abilities, it’s important to install accessories that have been designed with current interior trends in mind, but also include multifunctional features that can be adapted to suit each individual.
Bathroom aids such as grab bars and grab rails needn’t get in the way of achieving stunning bathroom design. Gone are the days when large apparatuses are needed to ensure ease of movement. Manufacturers are continually developing and launching new, stylish accessories which can actually enhance the overall look of the space, with numerous finishes and options available.
For instance, products that offer practical, foldable systems that allow those who need additional support when showering can be hugely beneficial – the shower seat being neatly stored away against the wall when other family members are in the shower, ensuring no obstructions. Products like this are worth being aware from the very beginning of the bathroom design process. With clever accessory selection and a little design know-how, it’s feasible to construct a bathroom space that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
More people living in the same house means more items to find storage for. As a society, we love our lotions, grooming rituals and washing routines. Finding a space for everyone’s essentials within easy reach can be difficult. Clutter can make a room look unsightly and also make it difficult to clean, not forgetting any potential hazards for more vulnerable family members.
Multi-functional storage such as recessed mirrored cabinets or wall-hung storage units mean function can be maximised without infringing excessively on space. For very small bathrooms or ensuites, compact furniture with a reduced depth is a growing trend, and can provide the ideal solution to maximise space without overwhelming the room.
For added flow through the room and to bring the whole look together, it’s also worth considering the placement of furnishings, avoiding tight corners which could be difficult to manoeuvre around. Vanity units with curved edges rather than corners can add a contemporary feel, and also ensure that where space is especially tight, there is less chance of someone catching themselves on any sharp edges. This is particularly important for a household with small children, as it minimises the risk of injuries in the event of slips, trips, or falls.
New homes and developments which clearly cater for multigenerational living are desirable for a growing number of families. It’s not just parents with children looking for flexible space and room to grow anymore, we’re now seeing an increasing number of households with multiple families, generations and relatives seeking suitable accommodation.
Producing architectural designs and interior choices that benefit those households can be a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity to innovate and create spaces which the whole family can enjoy together for years to come.
Ash Chilver is sales director at HiB