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Interior Design and Home Safety

Many people hear Interior Design and think glamour, shopping for furniture with an ‘eye’ for design, and occasionally window treatments, pillows, pillows, and more pillows. What we don’t think about is the slip-rating on tile for use on a bathroom floor. We don’t think about spending hours upon hours drawing things like this:

Why do we need to understand these items down to this level of detail? Well, a great example is something I saw recently where someone suggested using glass tiles on a floor. The tiles suggested would have not only broke because they weren’t meant to be stood on.. they were also huge slip hazards! Safety in the home is absolutely affected by the finishes and fixtures we choose.

Most accidents happen in the home, and yet residential building code is the most relaxed code that exists! If I do not design the right transition from one floor surface to the next, I may be inadvertently creating a tripping hazard.

While we do not all have time to go to design school and work for several years under professionals, there are ways we can make our homes safer. Some of these may seem like common sense, so go easy on me here…

  1. Update all smoke/CO2 alarms

    Smoke alarms can now be combined with CO2 alarms, so really the question is why not? If you are building new or completely remodeling, make sure these systems are hardwared into the home.

  2. Work with even flooring

    Sometimes we get excited about wood in teh living room and tile in the kitchen, and head on out to make our product selections purely based on aesthetics. It is important to also look at the thickness of each material and what the thickness is of the material they are replacing. There may be problems when that 1/2” tile is laid on top of 1/4” subfloor and new 5/16” wood finishe is selected to butt right up to it. Oops!

  3. Make sure stair rails are within reach and grippable

    Older homes particularly may have stairs that do not meet today’s code standards, and who knows if the stair rail does or not. Make sure there is something to grip onto and that everyone who uses the stairs can reach that rail comfortably.

  4. Think about high falls

    There should never be an opening more than a 4” radius when more than 30” above the adjacent floor. Make sure guards are in place in higher areas. All the glass in these areas should be tempered as well.

These are many, but nowhere near all the considerations designers keep in mind when reviewing your home needs. Additional considerations for well-being in the home is sustainability and universal design.

Let’s work together to make sure your home is safe!