Select Your Destination

< Feature Stories >

Census 2020 Completion Committee Update

Starkweather set to join Lycoming Volleyball

The Eaton Calendar - July 1

Achilles Problems

C&N, Covenant Financial Announce Completion of Acquisition

Meagan Kolk receives over $150 prizes & Akiko's arrangement!

Explore the outdoors and enter to win a Movin' Together hat!

COVID-19 PA County Testing

Cavanaugh and GROW find a way to save machines

Summer Is Here!

Satalin Named Senior VP

Staying on top of our wellness is key to a strong well-being

New pregnancy center to open in July

Colton Joins Asbury Tennis Team

Wellsboro Opens Athletic Facilities

Summer Food Safety Tips

Endless Mountain Music Festival concerts are free for all!

Friends & family show support for Katarina Swendrowski

Sample collection process takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Take a trip back to Laurel Festivals, 2014-2019


Decorating Decoded: Universal Design

Designing space for every age, stature, abilities and mobility


by Tabitha Dietrich - August 20, 2018

I want to talk to you today about universal design and while its principles are also applied to products, technology and services, I want to focus on how it is used in the home.

First, let me explain exactly what it is. Universal design, also called inclusive design, is a way of approaching design that incorporates all the principles that make a space aesthetically pleasing and functional, but it takes the functionality and usability up a notch. What does that mean exactly? It means the space can be used by everyone regardless of their age, stature, abilities or level of mobility. It takes human needs and abilities into consideration throughout our lifespan. It should even accommodate an individual whether they are right or left handed.

While the term “universal design” may be new, the concept of barrier-free design that it evolved from is not. Designing spaces to make them more accessible to people with disabilities actually started back in the 1960’s. Then in 1990, Congress passed a law called The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, which contained some specific legislation that required many businesses and public buildings to install ramps and elevators or make other accommodations to increase accessibility for disabled persons.

Now many of you may think that using universal design in your home applies more to the elderly as it has become more desirable to our older population to stay in their homes as long as possible. It’s being called “aging in place” and it is the process of preparing the home to be more user-friendly in the case of decreased mobility and the need for either a walker or a wheelchair. But universal design goes way beyond just benefitting the elderly and the need for a wheelchair. More people are living with chronic health conditions and a wide array of physical limitations outside of mobility impairments. Some are bedridden, need to use a crutch or cane, have arthritis and have impaired vision or hearing just to site a few examples. Nor are all these people elderly. Have you ever broken your leg skiing or had a child recovering from a sports injury? Even those who have temporary physical impairments can benefit from universal design being implemented in their home.
So let’s talk about some simple ways, other than just installing grab bars in the bathroom, that you can incorporate universal design into your home.

One of the first things to consider is that any change you make should require low physical effort to operate. For example, install lever handles instead of doorknobs and pulls instead of knobs on cabinet doors and drawers. They are easier to grip. Lever handles on faucets also provide ease of operation.

Accessibility is another key component to universal design. Pull out drawers for pots and pans or lazy-susan style corner cabinets bring items out to the user and eliminate bending down to dig them out of the back of the cabinet. Open space under counters and sinks, whether in the kitchen or the bathroom, facilitates food prep, clean-up or maintaining personal hygiene.

Even the type of furniture you choose and its placement contribute to the accessibility of universal design. Seating should be at a proper height and have a firm seat and arms to assist with getting up and down. You should also leave enough room between furniture pieces to make them accessible. Remember, an individual without any mobility impairment should have 18 to 24 inches of pass through space. This a great excuse to pare down and declutter!

Now these are only a few, small suggestions of ways that you can use universal design in your home. In fact, it’s not even close to being the tip of the iceberg. This is not a passing trend in the design industry. I believe universal design is going to become the norm. That’s why I’m going to continue this discussion on the next segment of Decorating Decoded when I’ll go into more depth, especially if you’re building a new house, of what you need to do to make your own home ready for whatever the future holds.


Idea/Concept: Tabitha Dietrich

Videography: Kaitlyn Callahan

Video Editing: Kaitlyn Callahan

Writing: Tabitha Dietrich


Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by UPMC Susquehanna, Dunham’s Dept Store

< Current Stories >


See More Stories From This Channel


Designing space for every age, stature, abilities and mobility

August 20, 2018


How to stylishly get the most out of your bathroom storage

May 23, 2018


Interior designer Tabitha show you how metallic finishes work

January 26, 2018


Tabitha outlines the curated look and helps you build a budget

October 24, 2017


How to find the perfect paint to brighten up your home!

July 12, 2017


Join Tabitha today for Decorating Decoded!

May 16, 2017


Change up your interior design - without breaking the bank!

February 8, 2017


Go green in your home for more green in your wallet!

October 18, 2016


If your house has been sitting on the market a while, try these tips!

May 11, 2016


Today on Decorating Decoded: treat your windows with the perfect covers!

April 13, 2016


De-clutter, fresh air & functionality can revitalize your home

March 15, 2016


"If it doesn't work for pets, it won't work for kids or guests..."

February 17, 2016


Enjoy your home to the fullest and clear the clutter!

January 21, 2016


Fit your home for the holidays with these festive decor tips!

December 14, 2015


Tabitha demonstrates proper table setting and napkin presentation

November 11, 2015


Tabitha debunks popular home decorating misconceptions

October 20, 2015


Learn a secret from the decorator's bag of tricks!

September 16, 2015


What does your home and style say about you?

August 26, 2015


Picking the perfect floor is easier than you think!

July 23, 2015


Did you know landscaping can account for up to 20% of your home's value?

June 24, 2015


Learn how to brighten your home for summer with lovely silk flowers!

May 27, 2015


Your porch is your home's first impression - dress it well!

April 20, 2015


Turn your treasures into home decor accessories with Tabitha Dietrich

March 11, 2015


Tabitha Dietrich lights the way to effectively illuminate your home

February 18, 2015


Tabitha decodes the mysteries of color palettes

January 22, 2015


Decoding the mysteries of interior and exterior design!

January 5, 2015