When you use a wheelchair to get around or have some other type of mobility challenge, taking care of even the most basic daily chores can be difficult without an accessible home. And most homes simply aren’t set up to offer that level of accessibility. Instead, they’re designed to create an efficient work triangle that maximizes the use of space. For individuals with mobility issues, however, this layout can be anything but convenient!
At Boca Cabinets, we believe it’s important to design homes that allow everyone to enjoy their daily lives with dignity and comfort. To help you design a better home, we’re sharing these tips for designing an accessible kitchen. Give us a call to order your custom kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, organizational tools, and more.
Designing a Friendlier Kitchen
As you begin designing your more accessible kitchen, think about the ways most people use their kitchen space during the course of an ordinary day. Ask yourself which everyday activities could prevent a challenge for individuals who have a mobility challenge.
Most kitchens are designed for efficient functionality, which means that appliances are often placed where they fit best. But to use them, individuals frequently need to reach up high, down low, or across a distance. For individuals in a wheelchair or with another type of mobility challenge, this isn’t just about convenience and comfort. Safety is also a serious concern since kitchens can be full of hazards like hot food, kitchen utensils, and glass.
Basics of Accessible Home Design
Whether you use a wheelchair yourself or you’re redesigning your home to accommodate a loved one, accessibility is all about dignity and comfort for everyone. And since your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home, it’s a great place to start when you’re focused on increasing home accessibility.
When looking for accessibility advice, the ADA guidelines are a great place to start. Here are a few ADA-inspired recommendations to consider when designing your kitchen:
1. Make sure doorways and pathways are wide enough for mobility devices to easily fit through. This means a minimum of 36 inches up to 42 inches for maximum comfort.
2. Leave adequate space around appliances so individuals in wheelchairs can easily access them.
3. Install side-opening appliances.
4. Make sure work surfaces and countertops are designed at a height that allows individuals in wheelchairs to access them.
5. Allow a clearance for wheelchairs below work surfaces. A knee clearance of at least 27 inches is recommended as well as a depth of eight inches.
6. Keep floors free of anything that could create an impediment or safety hazard for anyone using a wheelchair.
7. Provide an easily accessed space for placing hot food items.
8. Make sure users have good visibility when reaching into appliances or sink.
9. Install a cooktop that allows wheelchair accessibility below it.
10. Make sure small appliances are easy to access.
11. Make faucet controls accessible for an individual in a wheelchair by having them placed on the side rather than the back of the sink.
12. Use a single-lever faucet so the sink can be accessed with one hand.
In addition, here are a few organizational tools you can install to make your kitchen safer and more comfortable:
● Pull-out cabinet drawers so anything users need can be accessed without having to reach deep into a cabinet
● Pull-out spice racks
● Pull-out cutting boards and food prep surfaces
● Lazy susans
● Pull-down shelving
Lowering Cabinets and Surfaces
Most standard kitchens are designed to fit typically-abled individuals with cabinet heights at around 36 inches. For individuals with mobility issues, countertops need to be lowered to somewhere between 28 and 34 inches or install a countertop with adjustable height.
Accessible Cabinet Handles
Installing kitchen cabinets that are easier to open is also important when designing an accessible kitchen. Knob openers can be difficult to open, especially if the user has strength issues. Consider installing a larger, bar-type handle that’s easier to grab and requires less strength to open.
Additional Tips for Accessibility
Besides redesigning your kitchen to make it more accessible to individuals with mobility issues, there are a few other things you can do to make your kitchen workable for everyone.
Here are a few more tips you can use:
● Place a lap desk in your kitchen for easy, portable food prep.
● Organize your pantry so it’s easier for disabled individuals to access everything.
● Don’t store food in large packages that can be difficult to work with.
Design Your Accessible Kitchen With Boca Cabinets
Do you need help designing a more accessible kitchen? Our kitchen cabinet design pros at Boca Cabinets can help. We offer a wide range of cabinet solutions from lazy susans to pull-out cabinet designs. To get your free consultation and design your accessible kitchen cabinets, give us a call at 773-886-4686 or stop by our contact page to schedule your appointment today.