There is a reason why people used to count age in winters. Every winter, we can tell we’re getting older by the loudness of our knee pops and the number of cracks when we stretch in the morning. Every time we must stoop to put something away in a lower cabinet, or reach for an upper shelf, winter makes us feel the years. As soon as the rubber-boned resilience of one's twenties fades, we start thinking about every little detail of home design that is less than ergonomic.
At Fossil Blu, we know how important it is to have a kitchen, laundry, or craft room that helps you to feel energized instead of fatigued. If you have a home renovation in your plans, why not give yourself the gift of a home where everything is arranged to make your house more useful and comfortable in all those little ways that matter in your daily routine?
Let's dive into those wonderful strategies that can help you reduce your at-home aches and pains while making your home more beautiful at the same time.
Easing Aches and Pains: What is Ergonomic Home Design?
Ergonomic design was invented for workplaces, to increase productivity and reduce pointless setbacks. However, what this productivity-fueled study revealed is that people work better when they are more comfortable. Ergonomic chairs are meant to provide better lumbar support so that you don't get tired from low-level discomfort. Along the same lines, an ergonomic kitchen is one where you bump your elbow less and can more easily reach everything you need a few seconds faster than kitchen that is thoughtlessly designed.
When it comes to renovating your personal home, your private castle and abode, you deserve all the benefits of ergonomic design to make your home more elegant, efficient, and comfortable all at once. In fact, the right ergonomics can even help you keep your joints healthy by reducing daily stress from things like hard floors and constant stooping.
A Kitchen at the Right Height
If you are tall or short, the right height of kitchen is a dream rarely realized. The tall are always stooping so that meal prep leads to aches from your shoulders to mid-back, while the short are at greater risk of constant kitchen burns because pan edges are too close to elbow height. So if a custom kitchen is in the cards, gift yourself with the joy of a perfectly heighted kitchen and ergonomic kitchen layout.
For the tall, raise the countertops or hide pull-out risers that raise the prep area so that you don't have to constantly lean over to chop and stir. For the short, lower your countertop height or hide a pull-out step riser down below to make it easier for both short chefs and children to safely prep in your kitchen.
A Sink that Does Everything
Most people don't realize the ease of a well-designed sink until they've used an especially nice one. A farmhouse sink with a rounded and low-set apron is one of the most ergonomic features you can add to any kitchen design. Stop leaning into a wet counter edge, stop knocking your elbows on the sink while you wash dishes, and enjoy the surprising comfort of leaning against the farmhouse-style sink apron to take a little weight off your feet while you prep or wash up.
Combine this with the ease and convenience of a double bowl sink with one half always filled for soaking, and you'll discover new kitchen productivity most cannot imagine until they try it for the first time.
Floors that are Easy on the Knees
Wall-to-wall carpet is a fading trend, quickly replaced by composite wood floors that are both beautiful and multi-purpose. But a hard floor is a hard floor as far as your feet and knees are concerned. Do yourself a favor and place a rug or fatigue mat in high-traffic areas and everyplace where you do the most standing. A squishy mat or washable rug by the sink, for example, can work wonders for keeping your knees and lower back in good condition while finishing up the evening dishes, and the simple addition of cushioned runner rugs where you walk through the home can reduce the overall impact damage on your joints with every lap around the house.
When renovating, you can also use little tricks like adding an extra-thick carpet pad below both hardwood and new carpeted floors so that every step is subtly just a little more springy and gentle on your joints.
Pantries with Everything In Reach
Stooping and reaching become less enjoyable with every winter as an adult. While those lower cabinets and upper shelves may have seemed accessible in your 20s, save them for long-term storage (or storage for younger family members) while designing your pantry to have everything you need within comfortable reach.
This can be done in several fun ways. First, you can maximize your in-reach organization space with a pantry system using shelves, trays, drawers, and hooks. You can use a Lazy Susan in upper cabinets to reduce the need to reach up and to the back. You can even install gas-spring arms to bring a heavy blender from a lower cabinet or gently bring down a rack of breakable dishes from an upper shelf.
Closets With Storage at the Right Height
Speaking of storage, your closet can probably also use an ergonomic update. A second closet bar at just-above waist height can double your space for nicely hung outfits and maximize the number of things you can hang instead of folding in an upper or lower drawer. Installing vertical shelving can also save you the trouble of reaching to the upper closet shelf for your best hat or down to the closet floor for your best shoes.
A Laundry Room with Room to Fold
Many homes neglect laundry room design, only for homeowners to discover there's nowhere convenient to fold. Folding on the bed, the normal go-to solution often leads to uncomfortable stopping, similar to a very tall person trying to cook in a normal-heighted kitchen, because beds are a little lower than comfortable counter-height. If your back hurts after folding laundry, this might be the root cause.
Instead, consider building yourself a beautiful laundry area complete with a fireclay sink for hand-washing delicates (and cleaning up messes), a countertop at exactly the right height, and even a hanging bar to perfect your in-reach laundry room routine.
Multi-Generational Ergonomic Ideas
Lastly, every home renovation can benefit from thinking about people of different heights and ergonomic needs. If you have children or grandchildren who spend time in the home, you can make really great use of your lower spaces by designing them to be kid-friendly. If you have a few especially tall relatives, consider designing the upper spaces just for their ease of access and personal preferences. Lower closet bars can help young children learn to hang their clothes, while loft storage is a fun challenge for teenagers.
Dog owners often turn lower cabinetry into dog beds and elegant indoor hutches, while cat owners can transform upper shelf space into delightful cat walks and overlooks. Or, if you're living mostly solo right now, you can use these thoughts to design a home that will delight future multi-generational families, allowing you to eventually sell your custom home at a greater price for both its beauty and ergonomic value.
Fossil Blu and Ergonomic Home Design
Here at Fossil Blu, we care about ergonomics, which is one of the reasons we are so passionate about farmhouse sinks. We discovered long ago the ease and comfort of washing dishes, preparing meals, and doing laundry at a farmhouse sink with both a deep basin and comfortable apron design. If you are planning a home renovation and want to treat yourself to an ergonomic experience of greater elegance for fewer daily aches, we're here to make that dream into an easy-to-reach reality.
Contact us today to explore our beautiful collection of copper and fireclay farmhouse sinks and accessories to complete the ergonomic upgrades that will delight you for years to come.