Making Your New Bathroom Accessible

Written by bprescottFebruary 15, 2012
A handicap accessible bathroom

Gaining Easy Accesses: Universal Design

Not so long ago, universal design was associated with physical disabilities, but today it means a home design philosophy that is user-friendly, regardless of a person’s age or limitations. Really savvy homeowners are remodeling their homes, especially the kitchen and bathrooms, with an eye to the future.

An accessible bathroom has increased lighting for more visibility when grooming, reading, and bathing. The materials used are safe and not slippery, and all surfaces are easy to clean. The room design should anticipate what you need, whether it’s conveniently located clothes hooks or a grab bar for safety.

Remodeling a bathroom, and a whole house, for that matter, with universal design concepts in mind makes sense for all homeowners. Replacing that old shower stall with one that does not have a threshold to step over makes life easier for you today, especially if a family member has a knee or hip injury, and in the future should anyone in your household ever use a wheelchair.

The following list tells you what to keep in mind as you plan your accessible bathroom- feature by feature:

  • General room features: These overall elements of an accessible bathroom make it comfortable and convenient:

            *    Nonslip flooring

            *    Ample natural and glare-free lighting

            *    Motion-sensing light

            *    Easy-to-reach open storage shelves and hooks

            *    Telephone and intercom system by the toilet

            *     Lever door handles

  • Bathtubs and showers: For bathing and showering, choose features that make the experience enjoyable, invigorating, and easy to use:

            *    Lighted compartment

            *    Slip-resistant surface

            *    Adjustable height shower head with extendable hose

            *    Scald-guard tub and shower controls offset from the shower spray for easy access should the water need to be turned off in an emergency

            *    Removable transfer seat into a bathtub

  • Shower stall: Stepping into and out of a shower stall should be safe and comforting, so include these features:

             *    Low or curbless threshold

             *    Molded-in or fold-down seat

             *    36-inch-wide entrance

             *    Grab bars, grips, or safety bars

  • Toilet and toilet paper holder: The height of a toilet seat is key to comfort and convenient use. A spring-free toilet tissue holder makes changing the paper easy. Also consider adding these features:

             *    Elevated toilet or adjustable toilet seat convenient for anyone who is physically challenged and has difficulty sitting down or rising

              *    Auto-flush mechanism

              *    A toilet paper holder with an open-end design featuring a single post that’s easy to change with one hand, or a new design toilet paper holder with a pivot bar that you lift to reload

  • Sink: Consider the following sinks or sink fixtures:

               *    A wall-mounted sink, which is convenient to use and operate, especially for people in wheelchairs

               *    Height-adjustable or English style roll-under sink

               *    Wall-hung sink with knee space and panel to protect user from pipes

               *    Lever handle faucets with temperature control

  • Vanities and faucets: Make a vanity cabinet more user-friendly with hardware and faucetry that’s easy to use.

               *    Cabinets with pulls instead of knobs

               *    Countertop height at a comfortable level that eliminates bending over

               *    Countertop with an edge in a contrasting color to create a visual clue

               *    Electronic motion-sensing faucets for convenience

               *    Faucets with lever

               *    Tilting mirrors to improve visibility

If the bathroom includes a laundry, choose a washer and dryer with front-loading doors, which make them easy to load and unload. Choose a model with tilted tubs that improve access and visibility.

 

From ‘Bathroom Remodeling For Dummies’
Copyright © 2003 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

 

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