Interior design is, to many, simply about making a home look beautiful, but it is actually so much more than just aesthetics. The design of a house is a fine balance of function and fashion that requires lots of thought and planning. This is especially true for buildings that are designed to be accessible to disabled people, including wheelchair users. Making your home accessible is important for several reasons, but it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on creativity.
An Important Change
If you’re a landlord, or are planning on renting your house or apartment, you will need to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and make sure the house is accessible in case your tenant requires it. Planning your interior design around accessibility is a surefire way to make your home a welcoming space for all, and to avoid any logistical or legal problems down the line, but with the right tools and tricks – including cerebral palsy resources – you can still have a beautiful home that meets all accessibility standards.
Access for All
Some of the trickiest areas to access can be hallways, staircases, and bathrooms. You should ensure that all hallways are at least 32 inches, but ideally more than 36 inches across. This will allow all forms of wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers to use the hallways without scuffing the walls or getting stuck. From a design perspective, this is also a unique way to make your home seem spacious and open. You should also make sure that light switches, thermostats, and door handles are less than 48 inches from the floor so shorter people, or those using mobility aids can reach them.
If stairs are making your home tricky to access, short ramps can be installed easily, and can be moved around as needed. While incorporating these mobility aids can seem like a burden, many modern companies make decorative versions that will blend in with your design plan and make your home accessible without compromising on style. If you maintain the mindset that accessibility is an opportunity to make your home unique, you can take new and interesting approaches to decoration and design that will set your home apart and challenge you creatively.
Safety and Style
Modular or customized furniture is ideal for accessibility because you have complete control over the size and shape of the pieces you order. Choosing bright colors will liven up your home, and subtly improve visibility without being too obvious. You should also ensure that any furniture or accessories you buy don’t contain dangerous additives in their paint or wood treatment. People who are very young, old, or unwell can be especially susceptible to the harmful effects of formaldehyde and other unsafe products used by some manufacturers. Always make sure you do your research on the materials you’re bringing into your home, and find a manufacturer you can trust.
Choosing to make your home accessible not only opens it up physically to new people, but it opens your mind creatively to new designs and ideas that you may never have considered before. Taking on the challenge of designing an accessible home is rewarding, engaging, and a fantastic project for the creative mind. The only limit is your imagination!