Planning an accessible bathroom remodel may seem overwhelming, but with the help of your local home remodeling contractors, you can rest assured that you will end up with a space every member of your household can use. Here are five tips to keep in mind as you and your team work together on your bathroom design.
Design for independence
The goal for an accessible bathroom remodel is for you or your family member to maintain as much independence as possible in the use of the space. There are several simple things to factor into your design to achieve this aim. One of the most important is to make sure the dimensions of the bathroom suit your needs. For example, if you are remodeling to accommodate a wheelchair, you will need to plan for a five-foot-wide turning radius and 34-inch wide door frame with a door that swings out.
While an accessible bathroom may be primarily designed for independent use, it is also important and perhaps necessary to also design the space for a second person to provide assistance. This can mean installing fixtures that are common in health support services, such as hydraulic chair lifts or sling lifts, that are easy for both the user and helper to operate.
Weigh your bathroom fixture options
There are multiple options for bathroom fixtures that enhance the accessibility of your bathroom. You may first want to consider if a tub, shower stall, or hand-held shower hose is best for your needs, then explore the many options for non-slip floors in the bathing area. There are also many types of textured tile flooring that can be used throughout the bathroom, as well as sinks that provide the proper clearance underneath for wheelchair access. Grab bars are a feature of many accessible bathrooms and should be placed according to your specific use case. Lastly, don’t forget about making sure the light switches are within reach, or perhaps installing natural light alternatives such as commercial skylights, to maximize light and safety.
Consider storage accessibility
Though some of the first things that come to mind when you consider an accessible bathroom might be the specifically-purposed fixtures, it is also critical to think about how and where your normal storage will be used. Things as simple as towels, soap, and toilet paper should be easy to grab for every bathroom user and can be stored in open shelving units. Additionally, it may be helpful to think about forgoing the above-the-sink medicine cabinet for another location in the bathroom.
Plan for future needs
In some cases, the conditions for which an accessible bathroom is needed will change over time. This means it is important to plan for what your future needs will look like as you design and install this bathroom remodel. For some households, this means planning for fixtures you may need down the road or simply creating enough wiggle room in the dimensions to expect the unexpected.