According to a report in Heating and Plumbing Monthly, accessible homes, and in particular bathrooms, add real value to society. Indeed, Foundations – the national body for home improvement agencies – states that poorly designed bathrooms are making life difficult for disabled people, and those getting frailer with age.
In response, alterations to bathroom facilities are proving popular, and housebuilders have been challenged to create more aspirational designs to suit changing family structures and modern lifestyles.
The UK’s ageing population
By 2039, the number of people aged 75 and over in the UK is expected to rise to 9.9 million, with the number of people aged 85 and over projected to more than double.
Of course, safety is one of the most important factors when it comes to helping people live at home for as long as possible. And, at Westco we have already seen a rise in demand for products such as high-quality bathroom grab rails and Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMV) which regulate the temperature of hot water to ensure supply at a safe heat and prevent domestic scalding.
However, an ageing population isn’t the only thing that needs to be taken into consideration when designing modern bathrooms. Indeed, with a growing population and a housing crisis that is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, there is now an increase in multi-generation homes; with grandparents, parents and children all living under the same roof.
What’s more, there are 11.9 million disabled people in the UK, with 57% of these individuals suffering mobility issues. So rather than creating bathrooms that only suit individuals with particular requirements, shouldn’t we be challenging established conventions and looking at how we can create bathrooms that meet the needs of everyone?
Certainly, with an increasing need for adaptability and accessibility in our homes, the shower is set to play an important role, with traditional tubs often proving problematic. And, going one step further, wetrooms aren’t just a key trend when it comes to bathroom design; they are also suitable for people of all ages, and adaptable for those with mobility issues. With a growing and ageing population, and an increase in multi-generation homes, the wetroom has the potential to meet the needs of grandparents, parents, and children alike – while still looking stylish.
As we look forward to 2017, we can expect insights and commentary from across the industry as to what bathroom design trends we can look forward to over the next 12 months. However, it’s perhaps more important to look at changing customer needs, and what’s driving these trends. Only then can the industry deliver genuine product innovation and keep up with demand in terms of visual design and lifestyle choices.