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Walking through a “Better Living Designed” home.

A BLD home isn’t difficult to achieve. The program gives people lots of flexibility in how to integrate these features into a new home or remodeling project. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. For example, one-story homes work well for Better Living Design, but homes with or without basements can also be fine, and even homes with two or three levels can work well. Almost any size home in any style can become a Better Living Design home.


Among the features of a Better Living Design home (These are broad strokes examples. Many more options are possible.) :

  • The house looks like the other houses in the neighborhood, both outside and inside.

  • The house has at least one way to get into it that doesn’t require using stairs. This access could be through the front door or the garage, or a back or side door. Having at least one no-step entrance is as helpful to a parent pushing a baby stroller as it is to an older person.

  • The house would ideally have an open plan design, at least on the first floor, so it’s easy to get around. Hallways would be at least 42 inches wide with passage doorways of 34 inches wide.

  • The key function areas of the home — a bedroom, the kitchen, bathroom, laundry —are on a level that can be reached without using stairs.

  • The kitchen has easy-to-reach storage and multiple work surface heights to accommodate tall and short people.

  • In an ideal BLD home, outlets and wall switches are easy to reach and the house can easily accommodate home technology for controlling lighting, HVAC, security, communications, entertainment and maybe even home health technologies.


Many additional products and features can enhance a BLD home. However, the main features that make the biggest difference in peoples’ lives are primarily structural and are built-in at the time of new construction or remodeling. Go here for more information: https://www.betterlivingdesign.org/bld-criteria

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ABOUT US 

The Ronald L. Mace Universal Design Institute is a non-profit organization based in North Carolina dedicated to promoting the concept and practice of accessible and universal design. The Institute's work manifests the belief that all new environments and products, to the greatest extent possible, should and can be usable by everyone regardless of age, ability, or circumstance.

As the Institute's sister initiative, Better Living Design is changing the way homes and home products are designed, built and remodeled to better meet the needs of everyone at every life stage. 

© 2020 RL Mace Universal Design Institute & Better Living Design. All rights reserved.