New Construction: Tips for Aging-in-Place Design

by Cochran, Miller & Morse Team 09/22/2021

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels 

New construction is typically a long-term investment, so it’s important to think ahead. You’ll want to make sure your new home will still offer a suitable place to live as you get older. Aging-in-place features can help ensure that your home remains a safe and comfortable environment well into the future. You might also consider adding these features to new construction if you’re going to have older family members moving in with you. Keep the following features in mind for aging-in-place new construction.

Open Floor Plan

When designing a new home with aging-in-place features, start with an open floor plan. This type of floor plan offers fewer possible obstructions that could lead to trips or falls. Having an open floor plan also makes it much easier for individuals with or without mobility issues to get around from one area to another. With an open floor plan, there are no doorways or doors to worry about between the kitchen, living room, dining room and other areas.


Your new construction should have plenty of lighting, especially in bathrooms and other potentially hazardous areas, which helps reduce the risk of falls. Overhead lighting in kitchens and other rooms should offer enough brightness to light up the entire room, while task lighting should provide extra light in certain areas, such as over the kitchen sink. You should also plan on adding lighting or extra lighting in areas that might normally have no lighting or dim lighting, such as stairways and hallways. For example, consider having built-in nightlights installed in hallways or add wall sconces to illuminate areas that won’t get much natural light. Automatic lights that come on and shut off when someone enters a room or area can also help make your home safer.


Keep in mind that windows can help brighten up your new home during the day. Consider having larger windows installed in your living room, kitchen, bedrooms and other areas for more light. Add a window or skylight to each bathroom for natural lighting, which can help lower the risk of slips and falls.

Wide Doorways

Even with an open floor plan, your home will have some doorways, so it’s important to ensure they are easy to get through. Plan on having wider doorways included in your new home, which provide plenty of space for wheelchairs and walkers if needed. Wider doorways also help lower the risk of injuries from bumping into doorway frames while walking through.

Door Handles

Door handles are a feature that’s easy to overlook when designing new construction. Instead of opting for traditional doorknobs that you have to turn to open, have lever-style handles installed. These types of door handles are convenient to open for those who have trouble grasping and turning doorknobs, such as those with arthritis.

Grab Bars

Grab bars are an important aging-in-place feature in bathrooms and other areas where they might be needed, such as in hallways. These bars provide extra support while moving around when taking a shower or bath or using the toilet. Grab bars in bathrooms should be placed close to toilets and in shower stalls or bathtubs, so that they’re easy to reach.