Accessible bathrooms are the wave of the future. With more folks choosing to stay in their homes as they age, an accessible bathroom design in new construction means the bathroom they have will serve them through their entire time in the home.
Retrofitting an existing bathroom to be universally accessible is also an option, though requires a little more of an investment on the client’s part. Still, these top five features can ensure your clients get many years of use out of their bathrooms no matter what life brings their way.
Skip the luxury tub and opt for an accessible shower stall utilizing universal design principles. The minimum size for accessibility needs to be three feet square, though 42 by 60 inches is even better for wheelchair and walker users. The larger the size of the shower stall, the easier it is to get in and out. Larger showers also allow for less stray water to exit the shower area.
What About a Wet Room?
If there’s no space for an accessible shower stall, consider turning the entire bathroom into a wet room. This universal design principle is chic and on-trend right now. Wet rooms are tiled throughout, with the toilet and shower sharing the same space. They require an extra floor drain and slightly sloped construction, so you may need to conference with your plumber to get it done.
Grab Bars Galore
No matter your abilities, grab bars are helpful in rooms that get hot and steamy. Anywhere a person would need a little extra stability – such as getting up from the toilet or scooting out of a shower chair – can use a grab bar. Decorative and stylish designs mean the standard industrial options are a thing of the past. Ergonomically designed grab bars make for an easier time and add to the form of the bar. If your client currently has no need but is planning for the future, stylishly designed grab bars can also function as towel racks.
Think About the Sink
When it comes to sinks, height matters. To be ADA accessible, sinks should be no higher than 34 inches from the ground. Higher sink heights in this range allow for less bending, which can help those who aim to age in their homes, while staying within this range ensures ease of use for wheelchair users. The type of faucet you use matters, too – lever, wrist blade or touchless faucets are more accessible than those with knobs requiring the user to grab and turn.
Accessible Storage Spaces
Opt for wall-mounted cabinets or steer your clients toward roll away carts for bathroom storage and skip the below-sink cabinetry to keep the bathroom accessible to all. Wall mounted cabinetry should terminate at the same height as the sink, keeping things easy to reach for those with limited mobility.
Counter designs wide enough and deep enough to accommodate a wheelchair with storage on either side exist for larger bathrooms. Modular and removable storage spaces allow the bathroom to change and grow with your clients.
Accessible Bathroom Features
Designing and creating an accessible bathroom for your clients doesn’t just start and end with ADA guidelines. Look to Universal Design principles to keep your clients happy with their bathroom space no matter their range of abilities and look to changing trends – like wet rooms – to see if they can be adapted to keep the space stylish and functional.
What’s your favorite accessible design feature to install?