You can’t please all the people all the time…or can you? Some savvy designers say it is possible to at least please most people when you marry beautiful design and accessibility. Formally dubbed “universal design” in the residential world, the intent behind this movement is to help people—all people—live better and longer at home. Looking for 10 tried-and-true tips to help make your next kitchen and bath project a more accessible one? Read on, friend. Read on.
#1. Look mom. No hands! Faucets that operate hands-free or with a simple touch provide an advantage for people with limited hand function. Turning lights on and off can also be easier with motion-sensor and remote-control lighting.
#2. Color coordinates. Use contrasting colors for flooring, step and countertop transitions to make it easier to identify surface changes.
#3. Shelve this. Use of base cabinet drawers or roll-out shelves make a space more accessible. Open shelving is another helpful on-trend option.
#4. Raise the loo. Taller toilets make it easier to sit or stand up. Similarly, raised dishwashers and front-load clothes washers help minimize bending.
#5. Hot. Hot. Hot! Install wall ovens and microwaves near an adjacent countertop or pull-out shelf, so hot dishes can be set down lickety-split.
#6. Get grabby. Grab bars provide stability in the shower and tub and by the toilet. Decorative options can even double as towel bars. How handy!
#7. Mission control. Appliance controls should be easy to understand and use. See that they are accessible on the front, rather than the back of the appliance, where they are easy to reach.
#8. In the trenches. Consider shower bases with decorative trench drains flush with the floor. They will be easy to step or wheel over, and they look nice too.
#9. Easy on. Easy off. Shower stalls or bathtubs should have controls that are accessible from outside the stall or tub, and lever handles are preferred.
#10. Seal the deal. Look for the ADA symbol or ADA-compliant notation to identify products that meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
For more on accessible design, check out Delta Faucet Company’s continuing education course ADA Compliant Plumbing Products for Accessible Kitchens and Baths.