Sleep easier in your master bedroom

Where would you sleep if you couldn't access or get around your current master bedroom? How then should you prepare your bedroom (or another "flex room") so that it's truly "livable for a lifetime" and you've got a place to rest your head?

Maybe you've noticed reading this tutorial series that I've focused on convenience and ease by describing universally designed home features from a perspective of ANY-ability and not inability or disability. I've harped that UD = EZ to the greatest extent for ALL people, not just the frail or incapacitated.

Now however, I'll actually be emphasizing disability, namely preparing for the potential of limited mobility or the need for a caregiver in the master bedroom during some point in the resident's life. In other words, how to maintain sleeping in your own bed no matter what.

Now don't go away, keep reading! Some of you are about to leave because you think this doesn't apply to you but I urge you to consider carefully what I'm about to write.
What if you were injured in a car accident or suffered a sports injury? Those could happen at any time. Where would you sleep if you couldn't access or get around your current bedroom? I have personal experience and trust me, you don't want to add the stress of reconfiguring your house (or being forced from it altogether!) atop the physical and emotional strain of recuperation. Unfortunately, most wait until fit hits the shan and the family is in crisis; but, that won't be you, right?


In planning and designing a Lifetime Home, there will likely be some circumstance, when you or a loved one is injured, ill or simply aging, when bolting out of bed every single morning isn't possible. How then should you prepare your master bedroom so that it's truly "livable for a lifetime"?

Whether or not you'll ever require help, you will still want a choice; so your mission is to assure enough space approaching, getting into/out of and around your bed, as well as into and out of a closet and master bath, and to include room for a wheelchair and/or assistance of a caregiver. Don't worry about aesthetics, you can plan for any possibility without making your bedroom look like a hospital room.

Here's what to include:

  • Entry and closet doors at least 36 inches wide (consider a pocket door for the closet)
  • Lever door handles throughout
  • At least 36 inches clear space on two sides of the bed (if not, then 60 inches to one side)
  • Rocker (paddle), or motion-activated, light switches reachable from both bedside and door, raised between 36 to 40 inches from the floor (or better yet, remote controlled)
  • Telephone/internet/cable jacks and extra electrical outlets around bed (for medical equipment or rechargeable devices in care you're stuck)
  • Outlets placed 18 to 24 inches above floor
  • 60 inches open space next to walk-in or roll-in/through closet
  • Adjustable shelving, baskets, drawers and clothing rods at varied heights for easy use by someone standing or seated
  • Ceiling fan/light combination units operable by remote control
  • Saturated and task lighting in bedroom and closet
  • Closet light switch outside door
  • Access to master bath nearby
  • Wall backing next to bed and elsewhere for future installation of safety/towel bars
  • Reinforced ceilings for future installation of lifts or transfer devices with 600 pound capacity
  • Avoid plush carpeting

This bedroom configuration will ensure control and convenience to account for any life circumstance or condition.

Before heading outside, let's review layout basics including general considerations for doorways, hallways, stairs and windows.

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