Accessibility Design Tips

Accessibility Design TipsRemodeling your home to accommodate family members with disabilities can be accomplished in a number of different ways.

It’s important to understand that, depending on the complexity of the changes, disability accommodations can range significantly in price. For example, if you need to make space for a wheelchair, then you may need to add ramps, stair lifts or even an elevator.

There are many ways to change your home to accommodate for disabilities, including adding alerts to things like computers and clocks, as well as turning written signs into Braille.

Here are a few more areas of the home to take into consideration:


In many older homes, doorways are not always wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Or, even worse, the doorjamb does not allow for a wheelchair to enter without outside assistance. In an existing home, you may need to make plans to widen doorways. Keep in mind: reconstruction of a doorway and hanging a door that is no longer going to fit a standard sized doorway is often expensive.


Typically, bathrooms tend to have doors that are too narrow, and have no grab bars. Consider installing grab bars next to the toilet and in the bathtub, so a loved one can get up and down more easily. If the sink stands alone, install an L-bracket so it does not fall when leaned on for support. Think about installing a hand-held showerhead, too. Finally, you may need to buy an elevated toilet seat, as most seats are typically too low to the ground to sit on.


For disabled individuals to reach items in base cabinets without problem, it’s recommended there is a space of 40 inches in between each, with the exception of U-shaped kitchens, which should have 60 inches in between each. To adapt shelf cabinets, you can take a 30-inch section put on brackets so they can be adjusted to reach family members with different heights. The same can be done with a kitchen counter.


Adding ramps to provide wheelchair access can be as simple as securing a piece of plywood over steps to as elaborate as pouring a cement ramp. Before attempting the simpler, (cheaper) version, learn about city codes, if any. If your front steps are too steep, you may need to build a ramp that switches back and forth from right to left to make the slope more gradual for your loved one.

Stairs and Elevators

Finally, in most multi-level homes, stairs are obviously always an issue for wheelchairs, but they can be fitted with stair lifts. Lifts take a chair up a flight of stairs by using an electronic track. Typically, a lift is fitted with a chair so there is no need for one to be waiting at the top and bottom of the stairs. Most lifts are reasonably affordable since most staircases can be fitted with these types of stair lifts. For a larger price tag (and more major remodeling), some houses can be equipped with elevators, which tend to require a major remodel of the layout of your home.

For many of our clients, home remodeling is their ultimate dream – it allows them to stay in the home they love while at the same time have the living spaces that they’ve always wanted. With over 20 years of home remodeling ideas and experience in the Phoenix metro area, Republic West Remodeling can help you realize your dreams and maybe even take them one step further.

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