Home Improvements

Kitchen Layouts for Homeowners in Wheelchairs

In the US, more than 30 million people use a wheelchair whether it’s a manual or electric one. Accessibility design and construction professionals strategically create spaces that combine form and functionality while aiding the mobility challenged. As kitchens remain one of the most vital parts of a home, many homeowners who have or are living with someone who has mobility impairments can tap a wheelchair access kitchen designer to help them create a safe and convenient-to-navigate kitchen. 

In this guide, we’re providing you seven helpful tips on how to design a kitchen accessible to people in wheelchairs. 

Make sure there’s ample space for the wheelchair to navigate around corners. Even if you have a small kitchen, you can still make it work for wheelchair users. One popular way is to choose a peninsula kitchen layout that is free from cabinetry under the extended dining corner and the sink. In this design, a peninsula is affixed to a wall or an adjacent countertop. A peninsula island kitchen design allows for access on three sides. It also helps create an area where many activities can be done from a single position. 

Be mindful of countertop heights. Typically, countertops have a height of 36 inches. For a wheelchair accessible kitchen, the height should be two inches lower. This is the proven comfortable height for people using wheelchairs or walkers. 

Leave an open space beneath your kitchen sink. Whether you’re opting for a peninsula kitchen layout or double island kitchen, this is one thing you shouldn’t forget. Having an open space underneath the sink allows wheelchair users to easily access the sink area. To do this, you have to position the drain in the rear of the sink so that the pipework is located at the back (instead of the typical middle). For sinks to be wheelchair-friendly, it’s also better to equip them with single-lever or touch-control faucets. 

Leverage the functionality and convenience of pull-out shelves. For wheelchair users’ convenience, you should also incorporate pull-out shelves as your overall storage solution. If you want to maximize vertical space while keeping your kitchen accessible, consider investing in adjustable kitchen cabinets. 

Install kitchen appliances at a height that they can easily access. Experts recommend installing kitchen appliances at a lower height — specifically, they should be located about 31 inches from the floor. In relation to this, you should also place your electrical outlets in a more accessible position (no lower than 15 inches from the floor). Switches and thermostats, on the other hand, must be placed no higher than 48 inches from the floor. 

Secure adequate lighting and ventilation. When designing kitchens for people in wheelchairs, you can further guarantee their convenience and safety by making sure that the space is well-lit and ventilated. There should be enough windows or light and air sources so that they can easily navigate through the kitchen and perform activities with ease. 

Widen your doorway and hallway. In a traditional kitchen, a doorway is 36-inch wide. If you are getting a kitchen design in Bergan County NJ, ask for an expert wheelchair accessible kitchen designer that truly has some experience. In many modern spaces, homeowners are resorting to an open floor plan to minimize mobility limitations.

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