Antoine Besseyre Des Horts, Leader of LIXIL Global Design, Asia, talks about better ways to design a bathroom environment that meets the needs of every family member across various ages and needs.

Multi-generational living – family members from different generations living together – is well-established in Asia. This living arrangement continues to be popular as it pools family resources and fosters close family ties.

These recent pandemic years has meant more time spent at home, and created different challenges for multigenerational living, including social distancing and a greater need for personal space within the same household.

The ongoing challenge for multigenerational living is to reimagine living spaces that suit the transformed way we are working, studying and relaxing.

Alongside these needs, consumers place higher emphasis on personal wellness and hygiene, thus leading to higher demand for innovative solutions incorporating antibacterial, cleansing and touchless technology.

Antoine Besseyre Des Horts, Leader of LIXIL Global Design, Asia

Antoine Besseyre Des Horts, Leader of LIXIL Global Design, Asia

Here are three trends emerging from the new ways we are interacting with our spaces in a multi-generational set-up.

Antoine Besseyre Des Horts, Leader of LIXIL Global Design, Asia, talks about better ways to design a bathroom

Bathroom Design for Health & Well Being

According to online interior design company Modsy, there has been increased interest in healthy homes. The report indicates that over 50 per cent of consumers are looking into germ-resistant materials for flooring and surfaces, automatic faucets, smart toilets and options for indoor air-quality monitoring.

Minimise touch, improving hygiene

An effective way to promote hygiene is to minimise touch on commonly used devices, household fittings and fixtures. Consider using various touchless technologies, such as IoT (internet of things) enabled devices to control electrical appliances by voice, or motion sensor technology to control lights, non-porous surfaces, and automatic fittings and fixtures.

Consumers find bathroom cleaning most difficult

According to a poll conducted by American Standard, consumers regard bathroom cleaning as the most important, yet the most difficult task in their cleaning routine.

In germ-prone areas such as bathrooms, consumers should consider choosing trusted brands that purposefully design fittings and fixtures that are easy-to-clean or disinfect, such as anti-bacterial toilet seats and anti-stain ceramics.

Advanced bathroom technologies are also becoming more commonplace, incorporating touchless flush and faucets to safeguard consumer hygiene.

Home spa bathroom setups

In addition, the latest showering solutions with different types of sprays can offer spa-like physiological benefits. Intuitively designed water temperature controls and in-built temperature safety technology provides relaxing and safe showering experiences for everyone in the family.

In rapidly growing cities around Asia, it is not uncommon to observe greenery being replaced with concrete. Outdoor spaces also serve as a popular retreat for all ages and provide comfort to tired minds and bodies that have been in enclosed rooms for most of the day.

Human-centered designs

Integrating a more human-centered approach to designing homes enables people to connect with the natural environment. There is greater appreciation for spaces that blur the lines between outdoors and indoors, especially for seniors who may spend more time at home and still want to appreciate biophilic elements such as natural light, greenery and ventilation.

Bathroom Designs for Elderly and Seniors

The safety factor is especially critical and needs to be well- thought out and integrated in multigenerational home designs. One approach is for products to follow the Universal Design (UD) concept that aims to meet the needs for any age group as they are easy to use, easy to understand, safe and secure.

Designing bathrooms for elderly and children

Similarly, when designing for children and seniors, there is a need to pay extra attention to access, changes in height and supportive aids to ensure the home is safe and convenient. For example, seniors may require lifts or handrails when living in a multi-storey home. They may also require wider doorways if they are using mobility aids.

Smart bathroom accessories to help elderly

Smart use of technologies, such as sensor faucets, can also increase access and convenience for the elderly and children by detecting and switching the faucet on. This can also help reduce water consumption by automatically turning off the faucet after use.

In addition, children may not have an adult to monitor them all the time. Safety can be integrated in potentially risky areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, where children may be exposed to injuries such as accidental water scalding. To address this, opt for heat-insulated fittings and fixtures which prevent accidental scalding, such as Thermostatic Faucets from American Standard.

Simpler, Minimal Bathroom to Reduce Clutter

Personal space may be considered a luxury as multi-generational families are expected to spend more time together at home. Homeowners will look to maximise their living space, and as such, we may start to see more built-ins such as cabinets, shoe racks and wardrobes for space efficiency.

Using simple and minimalist furniture helps minimise clutter, while allowing personalisation through different accessories, materials and finishes.

We may also see more ‘mergers’ of living spaces, such as those between the kitchen and the living room, where homeowners will be more inclined to incorporate an open-concept theme that feels more spacious, while also helping to foster togetherness.

The bedroom and bathroom have also blurred their borders with the bathroom now being a me time space for self-rejuvenation. People are increasingly paying more attention to the products, the materials and the finishes they use in their bathroom so that it reflects their tastes, needs and aspirations.

Designing a multi-generational bathroom

Today, the potential to design healthier, safer homes has increased tremendously with supporting research, technologies and solutions.

Many technologies are becoming more accessible and are considered almost essential for commonly used spaces. Homeowners, architects and interior designers have an exciting opportunity to elevate the design for multi-generational living to create a home that people will love every day by balancing work, life and play.