How to Design Your Home for a Lifetime

Whether you're building or remodeling, it's crucial to design your home in a way that will grow with you and those around you. Implementing this type of universal design includes choosing the right materials to be featured throughout your home, and creating an appropriate overall floor plan for aging-in-place purposes further down the road. The challenge to this method, especially for younger homeowners, is to have the foresight to recognize and adapt for future needs. Here are some tips on how to design a space that will be ideal for many years to come.

Choose Reliable Materials

Photo features Livigno Noce 12 x 12 on floor.

One of the most important characteristics of a home that's designed properly is the use of reliable materials. With the proper planning and research, you can opt for materials, such as flooring, that will serve you well. Tile is one popular flooring option that will last a lifetime if it's installed and cared for correctly. If you're looking for easy maintenance, simple cleaning, and versatile color and style options, try opting for glazed ceramic tile floors. Tile floors also offer additional benefits such as being resistant to stains and moisture, and if sealed correctly, they can withstand spills and pet accidents.

The materials you incorporate into your home should also be environmentally friendly and healthful. Tile is one flooring option that preserves indoor air quality, and is generally free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can contribute to a wide variety of health problems.

Make Your Space Convenient

To most effectively design your home, consider your everyday life and convenience should be of significant importance. Making simple plans and adjustments now can help avoid the "Why didn't I think of this before?" crisis as your life evolves and things change. Here are four design aspects to keep in mind in order to make sure your space is always as accommodating as it is today.

1. Create a Ground-Floor Entrance

You may choose to build or buy a two-story home. They are functional and offer separate living spaces for family members to spread out. But even a multi-level home needs a ground-floor entrance that is practical and doesn't require the use of stairs. As you age, going up and down stairs can cause pain to the joints in your knees and hips. And although this may not be a concern for you now, your future self will thank you for your diligence in considering an entry without stairs. If a ground-floor entrance isn't the grand entry you were looking for, consider framing the door with decorative tile to give it a personal touch.

2. Incorporate a Ground-Floor Bedroom

If your home is two stories with all of the bedrooms upstairs, consider which room on the ground level could potentially be used as a bedroom in the future. This could be used by you eventually or used by an elderly family member. Keep in mind that an older person will most likely be calling the space home. Incorporate light materials that are easy to clean. Try a tile like Marazzi's American Estates™ for a versatile, traditional look.

Photo features American Estate in Saddle 6x36

3. Be Mindful When Choosing Appliances

The look and luster of kitchen appliances is only part of the equation. There are some other factors to consider before having your new refrigerator, dishwasher, or range delivered. You'll want to make sure the one you choose doesn't require excessive bending down or reaching to operate. These tasks might seem like a piece of cake now, but down the road they might not be so easy. It's also important to be able to clean the appliance easily and with a range of non-chemical cleaners on the market. In keeping with the importance of the ease of cleaning, opt for floors, backsplashes, and countertops that can be cleaned without difficulty. For instance, it's easy to sweep debris or wipe spills off of a tile floor. Making these small changes now will make you appreciative in the future.

4. Opt for Bright Lighting

Your eyes won't always be as sharp as they are now. Incorporating sufficient lighting into your design will help brighten up primary living areas like the entryway, bathrooms, kitchen, and living room. You can set the extra lighting to a separate switch for when you don't necessarily require it. Built-in nightlights in hallways and bathrooms can also offer peace of mind and safe travel throughout the house when it's dark. Try pairing your bright space with a glass tile from Marazzi's Caicos™. The light will reflect off the glass, offering a shimmering, modern touch.

Keep Other Generations in Mind

More than ever, homes must be equipped for multi-generational living. Luckily, you can still have the home of your dreams while also incorporating universal design elements. With a few modifications here and there, you can design your home as the perfect haven for all ages and levels of physical ability.

To start, you may want to consider implementing safety and handicap devices to assist elderly family members who need the extra support. Incorporating these features doesn't have to mean sacrificing your design style. For example, raised vanities that eliminate the need to bend over for hand-washing often come in the same finishes as standard height options, and you can find modern grab bars that don't look like they belong in a public restroom. Pair these additions with a colorful burst of wall tile to retain a modern bathroom design.

On the other side of the spectrum, when your children grow up and prepare to leave the home, you may be inclined to overhaul your floor plan and design style. After all, you probably deserve that high-end couch or premium flooring you've always wanted. But if you expect grandchildren to come along in the next five to 10 years, you may want to keep things kid-friendly and practical. Try to incorporate durable, yet good-looking, floors and countertops. Tile is a universal, kid-friendly option that can be used in most spaces.

Universal design is a key element to consider when you design your home. You want your space to be as accommodating and welcoming as it is now, in the far future. It's also crucial to make elements suitable for other generations—your parents, grandparents, and even grandchildren—when mapping out your space and choosing the details. A little planning beforehand will help make your home feel inviting to everyone for a long time.