Useful Tips

Lifemark® Design Standards

Based on five key principles:


A usable home has thoughtful design features that meet the needs of people of different ages and abilities over time. A Lifemark® certified home has features that make home life easier for all, including reachable power points and easy to use taps, window latches and light switches.


An adaptable home has easy adaptable design features to suit changing needs as we progress through life. A change in a person’s circumstances does not require an expensive retrofit in order to continue living easily, safely and independently in a Lifemark® home. Subtle bathroom and kitchen features allow adaption at a later stage for little or no cost.


An accessible home allows easy and safe access for all. Nobody is excluded from home life because of age or ability. This is achieved using level entry access, wider doorways and corridors and rooms designed to ease everyday living.


A safe home has intelligent design features proven to prevent injuries from slips, trips and falls. Improved lighting, non-slip surfaces in wet areas, better designed stairs and appropriate alarm systems and window latches make a Lifemark® home a safe home for everyone.

Lifetime Value

A Lifemark® home is a simple and low cost option for designers, builders and homeowners. The Lifemark® principles are easily incorporated into home design and construction early on at a small cost. If added at a later stage, the cost is often very high and can be a long and onerous retrofit.


Top tips for a well-designed, usable house:

Car Parking: Parking spaces should always allow you to open your car door fully and you should be able to easily move around the vehicle.

Pathways and Entrance: You should be able to easily and safely access the entrance to a home, whatever your situation.

Bedrooms: Bedrooms should support ease of movement around bed.

Bathrooms: It’s best for the entry living level to have a toilet and shower that can be easily and independently used by all occupants and visitors.

Internal Stairways: Stairs should be wide and well-lit and designed with handrails to reduce the likelihood of injury.

Laundry: The laundry should be designed to support ease of movement and use of both appliances and storage space.

Kitchen: Kitchens should support ease of movement between fixed benches and appliances and storage space should be easily accessible. Drawers are more usable than cupboards.

Internal doors: Keep them wide enough to facilitate comfortable movement.

Light Switches and Powerpoints: If they’re placed at convenient heights and away from corners, they are easy to reach for all.

Windows: Controls should be at an easy to operate height and sills should allow easy viewing of the outdoor space from either a seated or standing position.

Doors and Taps: Lever handle door handles and taps are easier to operate than round door knobs.


Universal Design Overview

Universal Design involves designing products and spaces so that they can be used by the widest range of people possible. Universal Design recognises that there is a wide spectrum of human abilities. Everyone, even the most able-bodied person, passes through childhood, periods of temporary illness, injury and old age. By designing for this human diversity, we can create things that will be easier for all people to use.

Universal Design takes into account the full range of human diversity, including physical, perceptual and cognitive abilities, as well as different body sizes and shapes. Check out these sites to find out more about Universal Design.


Auckland Design Manual

Attitude Live