Universal Design Information

Guidelines for architects, builders, and developers
Today’s successful architects, builders and developers include these easy living features in their homes. You should consider Universal Design for seniors and people with disabilities when designing, building, marketing or buying a home. The City of Oxford encourages Universal Design in all new construction and renovation projects.

Principles: A Universal house begins with three essential components: a step-less entry, wider doors and halls, and a usable bathroom. Without them, no dwelling can be considered Universal. In addition to the basic three, a Universal home includes a variety of other features that provide convenience, safety, and ease of use. The combination produces a Universal home.

• Makes buildings unique, houses stand out from the competition
• Appeals to a larger number of prospective buyers
• Attracts referrals from health care professionals, elder care experts, social workers and real estate agents.

Cost Considerations:
• Many Universal Design features are not more costly, especially if installed during construction rather than retrofitted.
• It costs less than one percent to make new construction accessible for people with physical limitations.
• Many appliances, fixtures and cabinets that accommodate Universal Design are standard products.

Universal Design Feature Checklist

General Features:
  • Wider halls (3' 6” vs. 3'0) 
  • Single-level home with no stairs 
  • Kitchen, bath and master bedroom on one floor with wider doors 
  • One outside entrance without stairs (36 inch door width) 
  • Lever-handle door pulls, instead of knobs 
  • Graded entrance way 
  • Lower windowsills 
  • Lower light switches
  • Raised electric outlets
  • Wired for security and computers
  • Smaller, low-maintenance yard
  • Manageable terrain, not too steep
  • Emphasize safety and maximize accessibility
Bathroom Features:
  • Walk-in oversized shower w/ seat
  • Wider doorway (36-inch)
  • Grab bars in tub, shower and by toilet (or reinforce walls for future installation)
  • Single-handled faucets
  • Raised vanities (32” vs. 30”)
Kitchen Features:
  • Large luminous ceiling with increased light level
  • Single lever handle sink faucets
  • Under counter lighting
  • Cook top with front controls
  • Wall oven at lower height
  • Side-by-side refrigerator
  • Raised dishwasher
  • Cabinets with pull out Lazy-Susan shelves
  • Wheelchair accessible U-shaped kitchen

Universal Design Links:


For additional information, specification, and assistance, contact:

Braxton Tullos
Human Resources Director,
ADA Coordinator,
Title VI Coordinator
office: 662-232-2453
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Judy Pettit
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Oxford-Lafayette-Economic-Foundations' Retiree Attraction Program
P.O. Box 108
Oxford, MS 38655
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  • Wednesday, 04 May 2011