Aging in Place Modifications: Practical & Stylish

Portrait of happy senior woman cutting vegetables in kitchen

A 2015 Houzz report showed that over 50% of homeowners age 60+ are planning to age in place. As the baby boomer generation begins to enter the golden years, home construction and renovation contractors are seeing an increase in accessibility modifications being made. With more spending power than the younger millennial generation, the boomers are also a large player in the interior design industry; frequently updating their home to incorporate the latest design trends. Combining the need for accessibility with the desire to keep the attractive appearance of the home, these modifications are not only practical but stylish as well.  Read below for some simple yet important modifications to make to your home accessible for any generation.

Drawers Not Doors

If a kitchen or bath renovation is on your horizon, consult with your designer about where you can swap out cabinet doors for drawers. When you open a drawer, the contents are completely laid out in front of you, preventing rummaging among items to look for something hidden in the back. This will reduce the amount of time spent hunched over or kneeling and lessen back or knee strain.  If new cabinets are not in your budget, consider installing pullout drawers and pull-down racks in your existing cabinets.


Corner drawers, designed by Kitchen Views at National Lumber,  are a convenient alternative to typical cabinets.

Be Conscious of Flooring

Whether there is a spill in the kitchen or you are in a rush to answer the door, a flooring material that can help reduce the likelihood of a fall is incredibly important. Vinyl flooring is a great option that is easy to clean and offers a good amount of slip resistance. It is also softer on your feet than typical hardwood and is available in a variety of styles, some of which are very similar in appearance to classic hardwood. If tile is a must have in your home, consider a textured tile that is less likely to become slick when wet.


Shaw Floors – Prime Luxury Vinyl Plank in Vintage Oak

Bathroom Upgrades

The bathroom is one of the most used rooms in the home and ensuring that it is safe should be a top priority. Installing grab bars is a very important modification to reduce the risk of a fall. Look for a sleek design that shows off your good sense of style and allows its function appear secondary. Grab bars can also easily be disguised as towel bars until the time comes that they are necessary. Curbless showers are also an easy way to prevent tripping and make the shower accessible to wheelchairs and walkers. Anti-fog glass doors and mirrors will help you to keep your bearings as the bathroom begins to fill with steam.


Jamie Thibeault – Kitchen Views at National Lumber

DIY Upgrades

If you are not ready to begin a complete accessibility overhaul to your home, consider some of these easy, Sunday-project modifications. Replace door knobs with easy to use handles to make mobility possible as dexterity becomes limited. Install motion sensing lights outside your home to illuminate stairs and walkways. This is also a great home security feature as it can ward off mischief. Finally, simply placing a chair at the top of a flight of stairs or at the end of a long hallway can provide an inconspicuous place to rest.


Masonite interior door with lever handle.

The modifications above can help to make aging in place a realistic option for your home. As more individuals plan on remaining in their home and these modifications become more common, the style options also increase. Additionally, many of these changes can be viewed as every day conveniences that appeal to younger generations; which can lead to an increase in the value of your home, if you do decide to sell.  Consult with a contractor in your area to discuss what the options are for your home.

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