How to Design Your Forever Home

Aging well at home pays dividends in the joy of easy living, the preservation of limited nest eggs, and the longest possible connection with and participation in community. 

Integrated, thoughtful, and proactive design for aging allows years of joy and easy living, and avoids the unfortunate, and usually ugly, “plunk-on” modifications that result when one waits until they need it or it is thrust upon them. 

Aging at home should be elegant, invisible, low maintenance, and easy.  Invisible barrier-free living can be attainable in an elegant and exceptionally well-designed home.

Homeowners who plan on aging in place—remain in the home of their choice for as long as they’re able—should incorporate the principles of universal design into the home. Design a home with features that will fully benefit people of all ages and abilities.


A single open “living floor” can serve all of the activities of daily living, as well as enhance your daily quality of life, including easily accessed outdoor environments. Design flush transitions from interior to exterior spaces, with no-step entrances.


Create a comfort level for people of all ages, whether it's the toddler or the mom with the broken leg, or it's the grandmother who needs some assistance or help.

Design an inviting open bathroom with ample maneuvering space, no steps, and wide easy-open doors.


Provide easy-access storage for anything that one plans to use.


To make things easy to reach, you’ll want storage that’s not too high and not too close to the floor. Incorporate pull-down shelving and rollout storage spaces.


Rolling retractable screens that connect rooms or indoor-outdoor spaces can make chores more manageable.


Karen Harris, AIA is the founder of Architecture Matters, a full service architectural firm in Denver dedicated to thoughtful design, timely decision making, and the belief that the built environment profoundly affects those who interact with it. Contact Architecture Matters at 303-831-1547.

Content for this article provided by AIA Colorado member, Architecture Matters. Reach AIA Colorado at 303-446-2266.SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Categories: Interiors