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Design considerations for Wheelchair Access in the Home

Currently, nu:projects are in the finishing stages of a commercial renovation in East London. With it being commercial, questions surrounding accessibility had to be considered. Wheelchair access and easy manoeuvring from one area to another for people with mobility restrictions had to be provided.

Not only does mobility affect individuals with health restrictions. With an ageing population, mobility around interiors in buildings is something that has to be thought about. There is still a lot that can be done in creating practical functional living spaces that are also chic and pretty for individuals with mobility restrictions. This is exciting for the future as so much can be done in terms of design.


Here, we will discuss the applications that should be considered if creating a hotel room or any room that needs to be mobility design conscious.

Firstly, the key points to consider. Floor areas have to be wide enough to allow navigation seamlessly around the room for wheelchair users. For a smooth U-turn, 1500mm should be given. Level access is also very important. Ramps, lifts and level flooring is important to allow a wheelchair to transition from one space to the next without restrictions.

Photo: interiorbarndoors

In terms of bathrooms, grab bars should be provided as well as roll in or curb-less showers. Safety is a big consideration and it is important that every individual finds it easy to manoeuvre from one space to the next.

Lighting deserves a lot of attention. A place should be bright and lit well so that people with mobility restrictions, as well as minimal sight can get around a space. It is also a good idea to have plug sockets and light switches at suitable levels. A good height for plug sockets is 450mm to 1200mm from floor level. This allows easy access for people in wheelchairs without the need to crouch or struggle.

Some people with autism may find it difficult to deal with loud noises. Sound proofing walls is a good way to go to block out exterior noise. Soundproofing can be quite expensive, in terms of raw materials, labour and installation fees but it is a good extra to have in place for adding value to a property.

Photo: elosatone

In terms of kitchen cabinetry, it is good to have space underneath the countertops. This will allow people in wheelchairs to get close to the kitchen units when cooking, cleaning etc. It is also a god idea to make countertops lower than their normal height. 815mm is a good height for wheelchair users. In addition, height adjustable cabinet lifts are good to have to pull down and push up in kitchens allowing easy access to high shelf units.


In terms of modern design trends that are really good for individuals with mobility restrictions there are a couple of great trends that would be very suitable. Pocket doors are a great solution and very chic too. Sliding doors on an electronic system are great for wheelchair users. For example, large screens of glass are modern and with glass doors incorporated, give a very sophisticated, classy feel.

Below is an article by Quelcy Kogel that is very interesting as it illustrates how having a home that needs accessibility as its main criteria does not need to fail on the design side:

There is still a lot that can be done in terms of creating functional and cool design for individuals with health restrictions. This is exciting and should be grasped with full steam ahead as it is a new market not yet explored by many so far!

nuprojects 020 7731 6841 #nu

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