Building an Accessible Home
If you’re building a new home or making accessible modifications to your existing home, we’ve put together a list of things to keep in mind when you’re designing it. The following suggestions are ways you can make your home more accessible for a wheelchair user, whether it’s for you or another member of your family!
Consider how many stories your house will have. It’s easier to opt for a one-storey ranch house which allows easy access to each room. However, it is possible to install chair lifts or elevators in homes with more than one storey.
Use an open floor plan. It’s much easier for wheelchair users to manoeuvre around an open concept home than a home with several different rooms. This particularly applies to the main living areas like kitchen, living room and dining room where you’ll spend lots of time. This also eliminates the need for a hallway, something that often presents a problem for accessibility.
Install flooring that is easy for a wheelchair to move across. Tile, hardwood, laminate or vinyl flooring are all accessible options that are much easier to manoeuvre, especially in a manual wheelchair, than plush carpet.
Invest in crank windows. This makes it easier to open windows from within a wheelchair than the traditional window which needs to be lifted up and down
Be smart about kitchen modifications. Depending on how tall you are and how high your wheelchair is, you might need to lower your kitchen counters. Whether you lower all the kitchen counters or just in certain areas will depend on your family’s needs. Keep in mind that it’s possible to rearrange the plumbing beneath the kitchen sink so that a wheelchair can fit under it without having to worry about touching the pipes!
Make your bathroom perfect for you. For some people, this means a roll-in shower which requires the bathroom floor to be completely tiled and sloped downwards towards the drain. Another good idea is to install grab bars beside the toilet or shower, which is something that can also benefit other members of the household. It’s also possible to install accessible sinks, again so that a wheelchair user can have their knees beneath it without having to worry about touching the pipes.
We’re merely scratching the surface of the numerous ways you can make your home more accessible – there are many more modifications you can complete that are tailored exactly to your needs. Have any questions about how to make your home more accessible or convert your vehicle to a mobility van? Let us know!