Universal Design

Universal Design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. 

Seven Universal Design Principles developed at the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University envision solutions to accommodate as many people as possible. Designs incorporating these principles make spaces more usable by people including disabled populations, people with children, and the elderly. Menomonee Falls promotes Universal Design for homes, businesses, and public spaces/facilities. 

Home Modification Recommendations

  • Accessible path of travel to dwelling
  • Maximum 1/2" vertical change in level at thresholds
  • 32" wide interior doors
  • Strike edge clearance at doors: 18" interior; 24" exterior doors
  • Level door hardware
  • Entry door sidelight or high/low peep hole viewer
  • Doorbell at 48" maximum height in accessible location (36")
  • Visual fire alarms and visual doorbells
  • Switches, outlets and thermostats at 15" to 48" above the floor
  • Rocker light switches
  • Closet rods and shelves adjustable from 3’ to 5’6" high
  • Residential elevator or lift


  • Grab bar backing in walls
  • Grab bars
  • 5’ diameter turning circle
  • 36" x 36" or 30" x 43" clear space
  • Lavatory with lever faucet controls
  • Open-front lavatory with knee space and protection panel
  • Contrasting color edge border at counter tops
  • Anti-scald devices on all plumbing fixtures
  • 17" to 19" high water closet seat
  • Roll-in shower in lieu of standard tub or shower
  • Shower stall with 4" lip in lieu of standard tub
  • Hand-held adjustable shower head


  • 30" x 48" clear space at appliances or 60" diameter clear space for U-shaped kitchen
  • Removable base cabinets at sink
  • Counter top height repositioning to 28" high
  • Lever controls at kitchen sink faucet
  • Base cabinets with pull-out shelves
  • Base cabinets with Lazy Susans
  • Contrasting color edge border at counter tops
  • Microwave oven at counter top height
  • Under cabinet lighting

Universal Design Resources

National Disabilities Authority

Home Modifications Resource Center

ADA Guidelines for Accessible Design