How to future-proof your homePublished on 2021-11-02
Looking ahead to the future is never a bad idea. It’s always good to be prepared for whatever might come your way. This is certainly true when it comes to our homes, especially as we get older. We want our homes to be spaces we can enjoy and thrive in, no matter what the future throws at us, prepared for all kinds of situations. If you love your current home and don’t want to move in the years ahead, future-proofing your home is the way to go. In this article, we highlight a number of tips for getting your home ready for the future, such as installing a home lift or revamping your bathroom.
Many of us have become more conscious about the environment and would like to play our part in creating a greener future. This can certainly start from home and by looking at ways your house can become more energy-efficient, you can live an eco-friendlier life and even lower your bills during your older age. From installing solar panels and geothermal heating to eco-friendly home lifts, there are lots of big and small ways that this can be achieved, saving you money that can be better spent elsewhere.
The team at the blog UK Home Improvement recommend this approach and have the following advice: “Eco-friendly homes are a huge draw in recent years, and it’s one trend that shows no sign of slowing down. Becoming more eco-friendly doesn’t have to mean huge, expensive installs like solar panels. Think about what is important to your family. Low-flow showers and a smart thermostat system in your home can help you save energy and save money. Weather-stripping on windows and doors can save you anywhere from 5-30% on your energy costs.”
How about looking at better insulation solutions for your home? This is something that Laura from the lifestyle blog MissLJBeauty recommends: “You may have already insulated your loft space, but did you know that many older houses can also be fitted with floor insulation? But is the cost of floor insulation worth the hassle? This will depend on whether you can feel a draught blowing underneath the floorboards and skirting. If the answer is yes, then this is going to be a good investment for you to consider.”
Replace your bath with a walk-in shower
Some of us love a long soak in the bath but when thinking about the future, there are ways we can re-do our bathrooms to make them more accessible, comfortable, and safe. You can consider replacing your bath, especially if you don’t use it very often, with a lovely, big, walk-in shower. This will be far safer, should your mobility decrease in the years ahead, than climbing into a bathtub, but for those who love nothing more than a hot shower, you’ve got a lovely space to enjoy.
You don’t have to replace your bath of course; you can simply add in a no-step shower or a wet room as an additional option. That way you can still enjoy a bath now but prepare for the future for when a more accessible bathing solution might be necessary.
Lauren, from the lifestyle website Scrapbook Blog, thinks accessible bathrooms and showers are a great way to future proof and that it certainly doesn’t have to be an and/or approach. Talking about her experience viewing homes, she says: “I was surprised how many walk-in showers we saw instead of baths in the bathrooms on housing listings, especially newly renovated homes, not just ones that had elderly owners who may have needed them due to mobility factors. Thinking about it, although I love having a bath, if we complete a loft extension to gain a second bathroom, a walk-in shower is definitely something to consider for the main bathroom which is at the top of our stairs.”
Widen doorways and corridors
Another option you might want to consider in your efforts to future-proof your home is to widen the doorways and corridors of your house. Now, this can involve quite a lot of work if it is necessary, but it will certainly pay off in the long run. Just think about it, if you ever require the use of a wheelchair in your latter years, getting around the home might become rather difficult. As a result, certain doors and corridors might need widening; you will need 900mm wide doors, and a minimum of 1500mm wide corridors to turn around in a wheelchair. So, look around your home, take some measurements and see if this is something that might be worth doing now so that you can stay in the home you love well into the future.
As an easier solution, you can even look at re-organising your furniture for a more minimalistic approach, this can certainly create more room in hallways, landings, and corridors.
Invest in smart technology
The world is changing faster than any of us can truly keep up with, especially when it comes to technology. You might already have a smart assistant like Alexa at home or utilise Siri on your iPhone but investing properly into smart home technology can be a sensible way to make sure your home is ready for the future. Smart technology is also a fabulous tool for those reaching older age, making it easier to perform normal everyday tasks.
Madeline from the blog This Glorious Life, explains: “All sorts of things around the house can be set up to use smart technology, from your lighting and heating to your locks and home security systems. Having these things in place and being able to control your home from the comfort of the sofa with an app on your phone is something you’ll appreciate more and more over time.”
Smart home technology has come a long way and for the uninitiated, it basically means various devices around your home connecting to the internet which can then be controlled from a phone or tablet. It could be something as simple as being able to see who is at the door by looking at your phone, even being able to talk to them without having to get up and go to the door yourself.
PC Mag has a great list of smart home technology that those who are interested can look into.
Install a home lift
To solve the problem of navigating stairs in older age but not wanting to restrict yourself to one floor of your beloved home, why not consider installing a home lift? Not only are they terrific mobility tools, helping you to stay independent for longer but they can be attractive and elegant features of your home. You could decide to promote ground floor living instead, which is a fine option, but why deprive yourself of the entirety of your home? Whether you opt for a platform lift or a cabin lift, you can be taken from the ground floor right up to your bedroom if you desire. By opting for a home lift now, you can future-proof your home and enjoy a luxurious addition to your home in the present, enhancing your comfort in true style.
Think about your storage
One aspect of future proofing that many people fail to consider is the simple notion of being able to access your current storage space. If in the future you are unable to reach quite so high, accessing kitchen cabinets and bathroom storage might become difficult and indeed quite dangerous. But you can avoid such a situation by putting in the work now to lower cabinets and cupboards to be closer to the ground.
Vicki, from the accessible interiors blog Wheel Chic Home, has made this change in her home, explaining that it doesn’t have to be a big job: “We’ve moved the plates, bowls and cups and glasses to the lower cabinets in the kitchen and moved some of the lesser-used items (salad bowls or serving platters or the ‘posh china’) to the upper cabinets. Such a simple change! Seems obvious now we’ve done it.”
If you can make a few simple changes, like Vicki, excellent but if the layout of your current home is preventing it, opting for a kitchen makeover to lower cabinets is certainly a smart idea.
Top tips for future-proofing your home
- Go energy-efficient
- Replace your bath with a walk-in shower
- Invest in smart technology
- Widen doorways and corridors
- Install a home lift
- Think about your storage
We hope the above tips and advice have proven useful. Future-proofing your home might seem like a lot of effort now, but you will reap the rewards in the years ahead and continue to be able to enjoy the home you have come to love so much.
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