When it comes to creating a kitchen that is functional for those in wheelchairs, you don’t have to compromise style for accessibility. If you’re looking to create a modern, beautiful kitchen for wheelchair users, focus first on the layout, then make your design choices. Here’s everything you need to know:
1. Assess the lower cabinets
In most kitchens, lower cabinets and drawers occupy the space below the countertops. For wheelchair users, the area beneath the countertops must be clear. This will give them the room they need to pull up to the counter to work. Whether you are building a kitchen from scratch or remodeling an existing kitchen, it’s important to determine which countertops will be used for food preparation and create adequate space below them.
2. Adjust the countertops
In an accessible kitchen, countertops must be positioned lower, typically around 32 inches. However, it is best to determine the height of the countertops based on what’s the most comfortable for the individual who will be using the kitchen. Whenever possible, install adjustable countertops that range from 28 to 34 inches in height. Along with lowering the height, accessible countertops should also at least be 30 inches wide and 19 inches deep in order to accommodate a wheelchair.
3. Install an accessible sink
Like the countertop work areas, the space below the sink should be open and have enough space to accommodate a wheelchair. Traditional sinks have piping directly below them that may block access, so it’s important to install a drainage system at the rear of the sink. If possible, install touch controls for the faucet on the side of the sink. If this isn’t an option, opt for a single-level faucet as they are easier to control.
While there are specific needs for making a kitchen accessible, you can still make it work to fit your dream. Combine the above tips with the below in order to make your kitchen not only accessible but jaw-dropping.
1. Focus on color
One of the most eye-catching things about any kitchen is the color scheme. Before deciding the color of your walls, cabinets, and countertops, create a cohesive color story to follow in your design. While white cabinets and neutral walls were once all the rage, bold hues are becoming more popular. In an accessible kitchen, professional painters recommend you can stay on trend and avoid scuff marks by painting cabinets a darker hue — like marine blue — for cabinets. Add a pop of color with a patterned tile backsplash and paint the walls a neutral grey.
2. Consider the materials
When it comes to kitchen design, the finishes, materials, and texture make a huge impact. Follow the color story you created as you select countertops and fixtures. Many modern kitchens feature quartz countertops. Quartz is an excellent choice for an accessible kitchen because it’s easy to clean, non-porous, and low-maintenance. It also comes in a variety of colors and finishes so it fits in with most design styles. Another thing to keep in mind is the metal finishes in the kitchen. Select the same finish for all hardware such as cabinet pulls, lighting fixtures, and faucets so everything looks cohesive and well-planned.
3. Make it smart
Modern kitchens all have one thing in common: They’re efficient. From smart appliances to creative organization, today’s kitchens are designed to make their users lives easier. While the choices you make for an accessible kitchen will vary from a traditional kitchen, there are many organizing tricks that may be useful. Explore unique options for storage such as large drawers for dinnerware, pull-out spice racks and utensil holders, and lazy susan corner cabinets.
When it comes to designing a modern, accessible kitchen, it’s possible to have it all. Focus on function first, then choose your perfect color and finishes. Follow the tips above and you’re sure to create a kitchen that is as beautiful as it is accessible.
Image credit: Houzz.com