Not all kitchens are the same and that also applies to accessibility kitchens. While you may expect the standard adjustments, such as handrails and wider doorways, there are also many other elements that make up an accessible design.
The practical considerations do play an essential role in making a kitchen more convenient and at Room by Room, our kitchen designers take great pride in designing accessible kitchens that not only perform perfectly, but also look beautiful.
To help you understand the main elements of an accessibility kitchen, we have provided our tips below.
Consider The Kitchen Worktop Height
One of the most important considerations when designing an accessible kitchen is the height of the worktops and the hanging accessories.
Usually, countertops would be positioned at a height of around 36” from the ground, but for an accessible kitchen, the height may vary depending on the person.
Installing the kitchen worktop at a height of anywhere between 28” to 34” would be ideal for making a kitchen more accessible.
This will also need to be considered for other important areas of the kitchen, such as the sink, the hob and the microwave.
Check There’s Enough Clearance
Once you have decided on the height of the worktops and kitchen sink, you then need to think about how much clearance you will need below the surfaces.
In order to allow for leg clearance, the countertop should not be obstructed by floor cabinets. During this phase, you can also plan out where the cabinets and appliances will be located based on where the worktops will be installed.
Whilst clearance under the worktops is important, you also need to consider the space for moving around the kitchen, especially for those with a wheelchair requirement. It’s a good idea to allow a bit more space between the worktops and the kitchen island than you would normally need.
There is a wide variety of ways that you can make overhead cabinets and other hanging accessories more accessible in a kitchen.
Depending on your budget, you could opt for a height-adjustable cabinet that can be lowered electronically at the touch of a button. For a lower-cost option, lower-level cabinets can be incorporated into the design in order to meet individual requirements.
It’s a good idea to place regularly used items such as cutting boards, cutlery, plates and bowls, within close reach. There are also accessories for kitchen cabinets that make them easier to pull down and use, such as adjustable or pull-down shelving, touch-release drawers and doors, extension drawers, and swing-up cabinet doors.
Access to Appliances
As with the height positioning of worktops, it’s important to consider where the kitchen appliances will be installed.
There is a variety of convenient kitchen appliances available that specifically cater to accessibility needs, such as an electric cooktop with staggered burners. These electric cooktops have controls on the front, which avoids the necessity to reach across the burners. For ovens, you may wish to consider one that has a side-hinge to make opening and closing easier.
When choosing a kitchen appliance, it’s really important to test it out in person. You need to be sure that it’s right for your needs and your kitchen. However, if you’re unable to go to a showroom to do this, then you may wish to choose a supplier that accepts product returns, should it not be suitable.
Work Zones and Floorspace
Another crucial aspect to think about when planning an accessible design is how you are going to lay out the work zones and how you will use the floor space.
Wheelchair users will need more room to comfortably manoeuvre so there needs to be enough clearance between the kitchen island and the countertops. You also want to keep the important work areas close together for convenience.
The type of flooring you will use will also make a difference, as there are different materials and surfaces to choose from. In an accessible kitchen, low maintenance and slip-resistant flooring are recommended.
Task lighting is another good idea to help increase visibility on worktops and surfaces to create a safer environment for cooking. There are so many great options nowadays, that functionality doesn’t need to be at the expense of aesthetic.
If you have multiple points of entries and exits, then it’s advised to add multi-pole light control switches to both areas for ease of use.
Contact Room by Room for Accessible Kitchen Designs
If you’re looking for a new accessible kitchen design, then please get in touch with us. Our experts in Wolverhampton have years of experience in designing, supplying, and installing luxury modern kitchens with accessibility features.
Get in touch with us on 01902 710545 or you can send us an email here