American home design has come a long way over the past few decades, and one of the most significant changes is the widespread use of accessible design. Accessible design and universal design are terms that describe homes that are made with all types of occupants in mind. While you might not be thinking about accessibility today, families and needs can change over the years. And even if you don’t find your family needing a more accessible home, having an accessible design is a huge draw when selling your home.
At Boca Cabinets, our kitchen and bathroom cabinet designs include a wide range of accessible and universal designs. In this post, we’re taking a closer look at what accessibility means and how we can help implement accessibility in your home. To learn more about accessible designs, call to connect with our kitchen and bathroom design team today.
Meeting Everyone’s Needs
Most able-bodied people take their ability to do everyday things for granted. But for individuals with mobility issues and other accessibility needs, accomplishing simple tasks can be incredibly difficult. Simple tasks like reaching for dishes can be next to impossible, let alone preparing and serving a meal.
As more families become multi-generational, however, more contractors and real estate agents are becoming aware of the need for universally accessible designs. An accessible design is a space that’s designed to be easier to use for individuals who may not be able to easily use a home designed for able-bodied individuals. These types of homes are designed with all individuals in mind whether they are visually impaired, have arthritis, use prosthetics, or use wheelchairs, walkers, or canes. And when homes are designed with all levels of physical ability in mind, they tend to be safer for families.
These are just a few examples of simple changes that can fundamentally improve the way people with mobility issues and other accessibility needs live:
● Wider hallways
● Wider doorways
● Pocket doors
● Built-in furniture
● Built-in shelving
Designing an Accessible Home
The key to designing a more accessible home is considering how usable your space would be for individuals with different levels of mobility and dexterity. Here are some strategies you can use when designing your accessible home:
1. Make sure there’s enough knee space.
When you’re in a wheelchair, it’s impossible to cook when your countertops and sinks don’t give you room to roll up under them. Make sure there’s plenty of space for anyone who uses your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room to easily roll up to a counter. Problem areas include dishwashers, ovens, cooktops, refrigerators, sinks, and food prep surfaces. To accommodate a wheelchair, make sure you’ve allowed at least 9 inches for footrests, 30 inches in width, 19 inches in depth, and 27 inches in height.
2. Lower your countertops.
To make your home more accessible for individuals in wheelchairs, consider lowering the countertops. For individuals who will be preparing food or folding laundry from a wheelchair, a 30-inch to 34-inch countertop height is ideal.
3. Make storage easier to access.
Make sure frequently used items are easy for anyone to reach. Store anything that will be used regularly at a lower level so it’s easier for an individual in a chair or with a dexterity issue to easily access. Additionally, install custom storage solutions that make it easier to access items that are stored further back in drawers and cabinets. Lazy susans and pull-out storage solutions are just two ways to make otherwise hard-to-reach items easily accessible, and they can be installed anywhere you use custom cabinets. Custom cabinet storage solutions are perfect for bathrooms and kitchens, but they can also make life easier for everyone in an office, closet, or laundry room.
4. Create a wider turning radius.
Turning a wheelchair or a stroller into a tight space can be difficult or even dangerous. Ideally, you want to leave a five-to-six-foot turning radius so anyone in a wheelchair can make a complete turn if necessary. When moving furniture into your space, measure the room that’s available for making such a turn. One way to increase space in a smaller room is by using cabinets or built-in furniture instead of bringing in large furnishings.
5. Make your entrances more welcoming.
Having an accessible home begins with an accessible entrance. And having an accessible entrance isn’t just good for folks in wheelchairs. It also makes life significantly easier for families with young kids who use strollers frequently. Ideally, a step-free entrance is the best approach for a more accessible home. Instead, install a ramp with a gradual slope that isn’t too steep. Make sure your doorway is at least 36 inches in width as well so everyone can easily get through your front door. Even if you never have visitors on wheels, you’ll appreciate the efforts next time you’re moving a new piece of furniture through your front door.
Accessible Kitchen and Bathroom Counters and Cabinets
Are you looking for ways to make your home more universally accessible? Our kitchen cabinet design experts at Boca Cabinets can help! We offer a complete range of accessible design solutions to help you customize your kitchen, bathrooms, closets, laundry room, and more. To get your free accessible design consultation, give us a call schedule at 773-886-4686 or fill out our contact page to connect with a member of our team.