September 23, 2021
Designing a Handicapped Accessible Kitchen
December 27, 2016
Do you or someone who lives in your home have physical limitations that require easy accessibility to your kitchen? There are plenty of ways to design your kitchen to ensure that it is fully handicap-friendly! Here are some design tips to consider when performing this type of remodel:
Depending on your budget, there are a few options available for adjusting cabinets to ensure they are at an accessible height. Simply having the cabinets lowered is a low-cost option that doesn’t require too much labor. For those on a higher budget, installing electric-powered cabinets that are remotely adjustable is something to consider. This enables the cabinets to be at a standard height when not in use and can be lowered at any time you need access. Using looped cabinet handles rather than knobs will also make it easier for handicapped users to open them.
Find an electric cooktop with burners and controls that are staggered to minimize the need to reach across hot burners. Switching to an oven with a side-opening door will give the user closer access to the oven without risking burns. A lot of refrigerators have freezer compartments that sit underneath the refrigeration unit rather than on top – a great choice for a handicapped accessible kitchen. In order to accommodate those needing wheelchair-level access, install all appliances approximately 31” from the floor.
Appropriate counter height for handicapped use is 28”-34”. Lower your current countertops a few inches, or install new countertops at a more accessible height. Ensure that most countertops are clear of obstructions and leave the area below countertops open to allow for leg and wheelchair clearance. For drawers that are built-in underneath countertops, install easy-to-pull looped handles.
Make sure that all light switches are at the correct height for those who are wheelchair bound. If your budget allows, incorporate light fixtures that can be controlled by a remote or even a smart phone! Try to limit the amount of light switches necessary, and position one large overhead light in the center of the kitchen to avoid having to travel to different parts of the room to turn lights on.
All doorways should be at a comfortable width for a person in a wheelchair to pass through. A doorway that is 36” in width is wheelchair accessible, but expanding to 42” ensures that you can move comfortably through the doorway. If your kitchen has access to the outside of your home, replace steps with a small ramp, and install handrails on either side of the ramp for safe navigation. Use lever-style door handles for easier opening.
When remodeling your kitchen, it is important to be aware of the accommodations you require to ensure that it is easily accessible to anyone in your household who is handicapped. Bath Doctor is located in Baltimore, Maryland and we pride ourselves on having the knowledge and skills necessary to properly remodel your kitchen and tailor it to all of your specific needs. Contact us today to learn more about designing your handicapped-accessible kitchen and how Bath Doctor can help!