Designing an accessible kitchen

06 Oct

Thanks to an increase in community care workers, more disabled people are now able to continue living independently in their own homes. Although standard kitchen design is often not suitable for someone with mobility issues, is possible to convert an existing kitchen using these clever kitchen design tips.

Kitchen worktops

Kitchen worktops will need to be lowered in order to allow a wheelchair user to work comfortably. When choosing new counters, you should always go for a design with rounded corners. This makes manoeuvring around the kitchen much safer and reduces the possibility of injury from protruding sharp edges.

When it comes to siting the worktops, always measure the height of the wheelchair to the top of the armrest and allow plenty of space for the user to position themselves comfortably. Similarly, measure the amount of knee room that will be required underneath the counter to allow easy access.

Kitchen sink

The kitchen sink should be positioned at the right height so that the wheelchair user can comfortably access it. 

Don’t choose a sink that’s too deep. The user should be able to comfortably reach items that are placed in the bottom of it, whether they are sitting or standing. Taps should be of a single lever or loop design for ease of use.

Make sure that the sink drain is situated to the rear so that there’s plenty of knee space underneath. Any hot water pipes should be well-insulated to prevent the risk of burns and to allow for easy access.

Cabinets

Wall cabinets should be positioned at a suitable height above the counter to allow easy access for a wheelchair-user. Innovations such as pull-out cutting boards, roll-out shelves and baskets and draws featuring full extension-glides are also helpful.

Appliances

Kitchen appliances should be sited to allow a user comfortable and easy access. Cookers should have staggered burners or plates with the controls mounted on the top or beneath the unit, so that the user does not have to reach across hot burners. Avoid ovens with bottom hinges that would be impractical for a wheelchair-user. Opt instead for designs with side-hinged doors.

Dishwashers should be raised slightly off the floor and positioned so that the contents can be accessed from either side.

Flooring

Avoid using carpeting of any form in the kitchen. Carpeting can be problematic to clean in the event of spills, and can also make manoeuvring around in a wheelchair difficult. Choose either smooth tiles or laminate flooring instead.

It’s not always necessary to move home when the kitchen is restrictive if you have a disability. With some thought and planning, it’s perfectly possible to renovate and remodel a standard kitchen into a user-friendly space that’s fully accessible. 

For more advice on designing an accessible kitchen, <a href="http://www.bpmkitchens.co.uk/page/524/contact_us">contact</a> the helpful team at BPM Kitchens.

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