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Designing for Accessibility: Making Spaces Comfortable for Everyone

Do you want to upgrade the design of your home or office to not only improve the appearance but also to ensure that everyone feels welcome? It’s important to think about accessible home trends, especially in high-traffic areas such as the kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and bedrooms.

So, as you are considering the overall look and feel of the room, also think about how easy the area will be to navigate. Here are a few accessible design features that can give easy access to all:

Lower Appliances

Microwave drawer in a base cabinet
Microwave Drawer

The height of the appliances plays a role in how easy they are to use by people with limited mobility. Additionally, small details can allow kids to access the appliances as well. Examples include a lower placement for the microwave, a counter-depth fridge, and customized shelving and drawers to put the most-used items in easy reach.

Kitchen Island Design

kitchen peninsula with ADA seating
Kitchen Peninsula with ADA Seating

It often feels like the island is the central point of the kitchen. Not only is the island counter space convenient for food prep, but it’s common for family members to sit at the counters. One example is lowering a part of the counter space so that a wheelchair can roll up to the counter. Even if you don’t have any wheelchairs being used in the home, a lower counter provides accessibility for people of all ages because Grandma doesn’t need to climb on a high stool to sit at the counter with the rest of the family.

Shower Layout

Wheelchair roll in shower with shower wall niche, rain shower head and shower handheld
Roll-In Shower

Even a small step into the shower can pose a threat to someone who is unsteady on their feet. Consider a shower design that doesn’t include any barriers or raised edges – allowing people to step in safely. Small steps might seem like no problem for someone with good mobility. However, the elderly or persons with disabilities can face challenges if there are barriers they need to overcome.

Furniture Design

Bench and shoe rack with magazine holder
Shoe Bench

Add more seating throughout the home to accommodate people who need to get off their feet. One example is a cushioned bench near the door so that someone can sit down to remove their shoes if desired. Also, think about how furniture pieces can accommodate people with limited mobility, such as a desk with a wider opening so a wheelchair can fit underneath.

Written by Becki Andrus in partnership with steel corner guard manufacturers, CAP Corner Guards.

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