Residential Design+Build Blog

Design tips and information for renovations, additions and custom home building in West Chester and the Greater Philadelphia area.

Aging in Place and What It Means for Your Home Renovation

tile detail in custom bathroom designThink about your home and the memories you have created over the years. A place where your children grew up and where your family celebrated countless milestones, birthdays and holidays. The joys. The comfort. The safety. There is nowhere quite like home. Now imagine being forced to leave that home instead of enjoying your twilight years there. 

Unfortunately, that's the reality for many people who are forced to leave their homes as they age. Most Americans want to continue to live in their own homes and remain independent, but without accessible design features for aging in place, their ability to do so decreases as the years go by.


What it Means to Age in Place

Aging in place refers to a person’s ability to live in their own home safely and independently, regardless of their age or ability.  Even young homeowners should start to consider the next several phases of their lives and how they can easily adapt for the future in their forever homes. There is no better time to implement changes then during your renovation or home build project. 


Aging in Place Design Ideas for Custom Builds, Additions, and Major Renovations

Aging in place design features are largely dependent on what type of work you are currently doing or looking to do in your home. It can be challenging but you need to view your home through a different lens to clearly see the areas that might be problematic for your future self — but with some planning (and help!), you’ll be able to remain at home with minimal help. For a custom build, addition, or a significant renovation where you are knocking down and moving walls, you might want to consider some of the following:

  • Incorporate a first floor master suite with full bathroom for single floor living
  • If single floor living is not possible, consider adding stacked closets on the first and second floor to provide a shaft for a future residential elevator or lift. This step could save you a lot of hassle and significant expense down the road.
  • Wider doorways and hallways
  • An open floor plan that does require numerous turns and long routes to get from one room to another
  • Larger bathrooms to accommodate walkers or wheel chairs
  • Increased distance between the kitchen counters and island(s)


Aging In Place Design Ideas Without Structural Changes

So what can you do if you're not undergoing a major structural project or addition? There is still plenty that can be done during "cosmetic" renovations that will enhance aging in place, even if it's years down the road. For younger homeowners, it may be tough to make such considerations now but you’ll be making an important investment in your future and you can do so by making design choices that are aesthetically pleasing and practical for people of all ages and abilities. Here are some of stylish, convenient, and practical ideas that can be incorporated into any renovation to provide a big future return:

  • Zero-threshold entries and interior doorways
  • Hard-surface flooring throughout the home
  • Curbless showers for easy entry (see below)
  • Walk-in showers without doors
  • Bench seating within a shower
  • Pocket doors for unobstructed pathways
  • Lever door handles that are much easier to operate than knobs
  • Raised-height toilets
  • Roll-out and pull-down cabinet shelving
  • Appliance garages with rollout drawers and outlets to eliminate the need to have to lift small appliances
  • Task lighting to improve visibility and create a safer environment for aging eyes 
  • Lowered light switches and raised electrical outlets
  • Lowered windows or taller windows with low sills

walkin shower

This curbless walk-in shower (with grab bar) is stylish now but will also be highly accessible for many years to come.


As a design + build firm for home renovations, additions and custom homes, Hazley Builders can thoughtfully design and build aging in place features that make the most sense for your family and home.  Contact us today to discuss your project!