For a handicapped person, interior design can be a challenge. Homes just aren't built to accommodate a wheelchair. But a house doesn't have to look like a hospital. With a few modifications, any home can function for a disabled person. And there's no need to sacrifice trendy decor. By planning everything out in advance and customizing the home for the owner, the handicapped person's house can be functional and tasteful at the same time.
The kitchen in the handicapped person's home can be just as trendy and good-looking the ones in glossy magazine pictures. Standard counters are usually 36 inches high, but they will need to be lowered to a height that is comfortable for the person in a wheelchair. You can use granite, tile or any other material. Decorate with expensive nickel pulls, but make sure you get ones that are easy to use. A U-shape is usually better than a round shape. Remove the cabinet doors under the sink, so the wheelchair can slide right in. Be sure to insulate the pipes to avoid leg burns. Get a spray hose that is extra-long. Since you'll need to take out some of the under-counter cabinets, it's important to find other places for storage that can be easily reached. Lazy Susans and pull-out shelves are all helpful. Attach pegboards to the walls and equip them with hooks for storing cookware and utensils. A traditional kitchen table can be a great extra work space. Add a mobile island that can be wheeled from place to place as needed.
A beautiful bathroom is a hot design trend. You can make the disabled person's bathroom just as gorgeous as anyone else's by using high-end materials. Grab bars are essential in the handicapped person's bathroom and are available in plastic or metal and come in a variety of trendy decorator colors. A standard grab bar should be able to hold 250 pounds of pressure In the bathtub. Install a hand-held shower attachment that is easily used by a person who is either standing or sitting. Think about ripping out the tub or shower and installing a roll-in shower with a beautiful glass door. Equip the bathroom with an elevated toilet. You may be able to find one with adjustable seat heights. Make sure there are adequate grab bars on the walls around the toilet. Accessorize the new bathroom with plush, colorful accessories.
Doors and Windows
One of the biggest problems disabled people face is getting through doorways. Most homes don't have doorways wide enough to comfortably fit a wheelchair. Standard doorways are 24 inches wide, but for a wheelchair, they'll need to be expanded to about 34 to 36 inches. If you don't want to do the renovation to widen all the doors, look for swing-away hinges. These hinges let the door open completely away from the frame. You'll get a few extra inches this way. Change your windows to casement windows. They're opened and closed using a crank that is easy to reach. Choose simple window treatments that don't get in the way when you're operating the crank.
Other Design Ideas
You may be tempted to do away with carpet completely and have hardwood or tile floors so the wheelchair can be moved more easily. But for safety reasons, choose a very low-pile carpet so the wheelchair wheels will have something to grip. Hardwood or tile can be too slippery. Make sure outlets, light switches and thermostats can be reached from a sitting position. Lower clothes rods in closets.
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