Top 2020 Trends: Universal Design & Multigenerational Housing

25 August 2020

Top 2020 Trends: Universal Design & Multigenerational Housing

Universal design is much more than a fad or style, rather it's a design approach. As one of the fastest growing trends in the housing market, this design approach continues to gain momentum as more homeowners and housing professionals learn further about it. It is important to first understand what universal design is.

Universal Design is a design principle that takes into account the diverse needs and abilities of all people who will use it. It creates an environment that is more inclusive and can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, and ability. In essence, it is a fundamental practice of improving the original design.

Rosie on the House Finished KitchenMany homeowners are focusing on these design principles seeking to create a safer environment for themselves to continue living and aging-in-place, for aging parents that may be moving in, or to increase visit ability for family members and guests. This forward-thinking mindset takes into account all members that could be in your home at any point. From toddlers to those young at heart, we all have varying abilities and disabilities throughout life. Small modifications and minor renovation projects can make a big impact on your ability to adapt to these changing needs.

A few of the most common universal design features that you can start tackling immediately are:

  • Swap out cabinetry knobs for pulls that are easier to grasp.
  • Choose appliances that have operational buttons on the front that are within reach.
  • Widen doorways for increased accessibility for strollers, wheelchairs or other walking aids.
  • Incorporate grab bars into bathroom designs, closets, doorways or other areas where you may need added stability.
  • Remove the tub and opt for a curbless shower. Having a barrier free entrance minimizes tripping. Talk to your remodel contractor about incorporating a bench seat and handheld shower head into your new shower design.
  • Relocate the microwave onto a countertop or in a base cabinet instead of above the stove to help reduce risk of burns.
  • Minimize slip and fall hazards in the home paying particular attention to flooring choices, flooring transition areas and eliminating the use of rugs.
  • Re-configure storage spaces to eliminate hard to reach areas.
  • Add effective lighting that can adapt and highlight particular areas, especially in the kitchen, bathroom and hallways.
  • Switch from knob door handles that can be difficult to grip to lever handles.
  • Install automatic lighting that will come on when someone approaches. This is especially convenient for bathrooms to ensure safety during the night.

With 2020 being a year of uncertainty and transition, you may be finding yourself considering moving aging parents in or contemplating sharing a home with your grown children in effort to be more resourceful. As a rising housing trend for the last four decades, it is said that over 60 million Americans are currently living in a multigenerational household. Multigenerational is termed as at least two adult generations living in the same residence but, can include three-generations in the home where there are adult children, parents and grandparents all living together. Life happens. Gathering your family to live under one roof, whether temporary or for an extended time, could be a very real scenario for a number of reasons – health, financial, limited assisted living options, or otherwise.

Rosie on the House Finished Shower

Homebuilders are recognizing these trends and are modifying their offered floor plans to better accommodate these needs in new homes, while homeowners choose to remodel their current home.

These new design features can include:

  • Two master bedrooms
  • Attached bedroom suites
  • Guest houses with amenities
  • Separate private entrance
  • Living quarters on the main floor
  • Laundry room on the main floor

Combining households can be a blessing giving you more time together with loved ones. This helps to offset the sense of isolation and depression that can come with living (and aging-in-place) alone. Having more adults within the household also proves valuable when covering childcare, cooking and cleaning, maintenance, etc. whereas it can become difficult for one person to manage on their own. Not to mention there are financial advantages of multigenerational living versus the living expenses of multiple homes or worse yet, the high cost of an assisted living facility.

FACT: The average cost of assisted living in Phoenix and the surrounding area is $3,500 per month, or $42,000 per year in an assisted living facility. That cost can increase depending on your city to upwards of $8,000+ per month, or $96,000.

The Phoenix housing market has become one of the most popular retirement places in the country due to lower housing costs, access to quality medical care and in addition, the state of Arizona does not tax social security checks. No matter your reason for living and aging-in-place or multigenerational housing in Phoenix, your home will require some minor modifications to ensure all members of the household are comfortable in their surroundings and can live in a safe manner. This is why you'll want to turn to an experienced remodel contractor that specializes in Universal Design. Rosie on the House certified partner, TWD is just that. Their on-staff design team is nationally accredited in Universal Design, paired with quality craftsmanship and superior service that you can rely for all of your home remodeling and repair needs.


TWD Logos 2014 BLK logo WHTE box hirezTWD is an award winning full-service general contractor that has been honored to build an extensive portfolio of kitchen and bathroom remodels, full home renovations and repairs while serving the Greater Phoenix area since 1996. For more information on the services offered visit or call (623) 544-1211 to schedule your Design Showroom appointment with one of our expert designers. Certified Rosie Partner Since 2012. ROC271236


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