Designing A Kitchen For Wheelchair Users

There are approximately 1.2 million wheelchair users in the UK, and the number of people who need accessible homes will continue to increase as disabled and ageing people look for more ways to live independently.

One important way to increase intendant living is to make a home accessible to an individual’s personal needs. Modifications around the home can increase safety, accessibility, and independence for those who wish to live independently.

The advances in accessible design mean that a beautiful and efficient kitchen can be designed to be accessible to everyone in the household, whatever their mobility or accessibility issues.

We have a look at what you should consider if you’re remodelling your kitchen so it is accessible and appropriate for a wheelchair user.

1. Work Surface

Typical kitchen countertops are optioned at a height of 36 inches, but to make them accessible, they should be lowered to 34 inches. An accessible countertop should be 30 inches wide and be 28 to 24 inches above the floor, and adjustable versions should have a range of 28 to 26 inches in height.

There should be no cabinets under worktops to allow for knee and toe clearance. It may be wise to set the countertop height and position first, as it will then dictate the location of cabinets and appliances. Pull out shelves under the countertop are also a good way to create easily accessible workspaces.

2. Kitchen Sinks

Sinks that have open space beneath the sink that provides wheelchair or walker accessibility will allow users to access the sink. Knee clearance for a sink needs to be at least 27 inches high, 8 inches deep at the knees or 11 inches deep for children.

The drain should be postponed at the back of the sink so that drainage piping underneath does not obstruct the space so that a wheelchair can fit underneath. Ensure that the hot water temperature is set so that it is low enough to prevent scalding.

3. Kitchen wall cabinets 

Cabinets can be lowered to meet the needs of individual users, and some accessories make cabinets more accessible such as pull-down shelves, adjustable shelves, drawer divers, or lazy Susan cabinets.

Use looped cabinet pulls instead of knobs that are operable with a closed fist. With these, you do not have to twist, grasp or use pinching motions.

Put most used items in low drawers such as the dishes, pots/pans, glassware, etc, and place often-used items within reach, such as spice rack and cutting boards.

5. Appliances 

Appliances should be installed lower, approximately 31 inches from the floor. An electric hob with staggered hotplates with controls on the front will eliminate needing to reach across hot hobs.

Raising the dishwasher between 6 to 8 inches off the floor will make it more accessible, as well as ensuring it can be accessed from either side when open. A side-hinged oven door that opens the door to the side will allow a seated cook to get closer to opening. Using a bottom-drawer freezer style refrigerator makes the freezer accessible.

If you’re looking for accessible kitchens in Berkshire, visit our website today.

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