Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Aging in Place Design Checklist: What to Look For in a Home

Saying a home will anticipate your needs sounds like we’re talking about artificially intelligent (AI) houses. Although you can find Internet-connected fridges that shop for items you run out of, we’re not quite at AI homes just yet. Instead, this article explores aging in place design. This strategic home design anticipates conveniences you could need to stay in your home as you grow older.

What is aging in place design?

Aging in place design embraces universal design principles with a focus on making your home environment safe and comfortable at any age. Smart technology can be part of the design. For example, installing thermostats or lighting that you can control from a smartphone or app while remaining seated. Yet, there are many more ways that homes built with aging in place in mind construct a home that can accommodate changes as you age.

“America is a nation in which the dominant household type, accounting for about 30 percent of households, consists of single adults living alone,” AARP notes in its HomeFit Guide. Yet the housing stock wasn’t built for “a rapidly changing and rapidly aging population.”

Aging in place design is meant to help homeowners remain in their homes longer, comfortably and safely. Choices are made to accommodate residents of all ages and abilities by removing barriers within the home.

Considering current and future needs

Homes designed with aging in place features can look as aesthetically pleasing and welcoming as any other home. Yet, throughout the house you’ll see a variety of accommodations already incorporated into the design. This section rounds up the types of choices you might see in different areas of the home.

Main living areas

Throughout the home you can expect to see design elements such as:

  • Zero-threshold entryways
  • Wider doorways and hallways (e.g., at least 36 inches to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers)
  • Hard-surface flooring
  • Open plans
  • Pocket doors
  • Lever door handles
  • Ramps or lifts for any level changes
  • Handrails in hallways and on staircases

Another idea you could see is closets stacked above one another in a multi-story home to provide a shaft for a future elevator.


Many innovative ideas in the kitchen can help support aging in place too. You might see:

  • Multiple countertop heights allowing people to stand or sit down while working in the kitchen
  • Roll-out and pull-down cabinet shelving
  • Task lighting to accommodate failing eyes
  • Lowered wall cabinets
  • Lowered light switches (or Internet connected lights)
  • Induction stove tops (which turn off as soon as the magnetic connection is broken)
  • Oven doors at eye level
  • Lever or hands-free faucets
  • Lazy Susans in corner shelves to make it easier to reach the back of cupboards


When thinking about how the aging in place bedroom will look, consider the value of:

  • Main-floor living potential with a homeowner’s suite, including a full bathroom
  • Electrical outlets located 18-inches to 24-inches high up the wall (instead of the typical 12 inches from the floor)
  • Toggle light switches replaced with glow-in-the-dark rocker switches
  • Low-profile bed and nightstands for ease of use
  • Closets with pull-down rods and easy-access shelving
  • Soft, smooth surfaces like cork or rubber which pose less of a trip hazard than high-pile or thick rugs

Architectural Digest notes, wainscoting, chair rails or shelves protruding from walls can aid with balance too. But they must be securely attached to the wall and thick enough to grip. You might also think about incorporating greater contrast between floor and wall colors and avoiding strong patterns or shiny surfaces which can interfere with depth perception.


Various accommodations in the bathroom can help provide independent quality of life, with safety prioritized. Options include:

  • Grab bars (around the toilet and the shower)
  • Raised-height toilets
  • Multiple countertop heights
  • No- or low-threshold shower
  • Fold-down seat, chair, stool or bench in shower
  • Non-slip tiles
  • Detachable hand-held shower spray that can be used seated or standing

Exterior spaces

Aging in place doesn’t have to mean staying inside all day. Keep outdoor access in mind as well, When making long-term plans, think about incorporating:

  • Fewer steps
  • Level pathways
  • Handrails on stairs or ramps
  • Raised container beds to avoid bending
  • Automatic garage doors

Embrace independent living longer with Saussy Burbank

Because each client is different, aging-in-place solutions are not one-size-fits-all. It’s good to work with a custom builder, such as Saussy Burbank, to address your individual concerns. Our Cottages at Marvin Gardens featured 25 single-family residences in an age-restricted (55 and up) community in the village of Marvin, North Carolina. Or join other retirees in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in our new Sayebrook community homes.


Saussy Burbank

Request More Information

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.