Decorative cabinet hardware is an important design element that creates visual interest and improves a space’s functionality. While professional designers are masters of choosing design elements and materials that align with their client’s current lifestyle, many are embracing Universal Design principles to meet the future needs of clients. These are considerations a homeowner might overlook, but the savvy designer knows these small additions or adjustments to the design will increase satisfaction long after the project is completed. It’s easy to strike a balance between creating a look they will love with accessibility features they will appreciate in the future with decorative hardware solutions from Hardware Resources.
Hardware Resources offers two distinctive brands of decorative hardware, Jeffrey Alexander® and Elements by Hardware Resources®. Both brands offer a wide range of sizes, styles, and finishes to complement any decor. When designing new hardware collections, the principles of Universal Design are consciously kept in mind, ensuring each cabinet pull offers an easy and comfortable grip for the user, no matter the stage of life they are in.
Access for All
In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law. The objective of the law is to ensure that people with different ability levels have equal access to public facilities. In recent years, architects and designers have been incorporating this principle into residential spaces. The concept of Universal Design, designing spaces for people of all ages and abilities, has become mainstream and is expected to grow as the population ages.
According to the U.S. Census, people aged 65 and older represented 16% of the U.S. population in 2019. That number is projected to grow to 21.6% by 2040. In a recent report by AARP, the population of adults over 65 will outnumber children in the U.S by 2034. While the aging population is certainly healthier and enjoys a more active lifestyle than previous generations, anticipating mobility and accessibility challenges is important. Aging in Place, people choosing to stay in their homes rather than move into elder care facilities, is becoming increasingly common. Multi-generational households are also on the rise. These changes will increase the need for thoughtful design that increases accessibility without sacrificing aesthetics.
The ADA provides broad guidance on drawer or cabinet pulls, which are considered “operable parts” in sections 309.3 and 309.4 of the law. The guidelines state, “Operable parts shall be placed within one or more of the reach ranges specified in [section] 308. Operable parts shall be operable with one hand and shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist.” Although the ADA guidance may be seen as subjective, when choosing decorative hardware, designers experienced with accessible design suggest focusing on cabinet pulls over cabinet knobs and looking for pulls that have a higher hand clearance so they can be gripped easily.
Both the Jeffrey Alexander and Elements brands offer multiple styles that satisfy the ADA guidelines and meet with the approval of designers experienced in accessible design.
While interior design trends come and go, Universal Design principles are here to stay. As the population ages, demand for designers with the knowledge and experience to offer stylish, accessible solutions will continue to grow. Hardware Resources’ product design team for Jeffrey Alexander and Elements views these demographic shifts as an opportunity to expand their product offering to include more products that meet the needs of people aging in place.
Check out the diverse range of ADA-compliant Jeffrey Alexander and Elements decorative hardware options here. Visit HardwareResources.com to see the full line of Jeffrey Alexander and Elements decorative hardware.