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Ways to Increase Accessibility Around Your Home

Over recent years, homeowners and builders have become aware of the need to make houses more accessible. And it makes a lot of sense whether there’s someone with mobility issues in your family or not. Not only can it make your home more saleable in the future, but it can also bring lots of benefits to your family. It provides a space for multi-generational living and makes your home easier to live in as you get older too. 


If this is something you’re considering now or for the future, here are some practical ways to increase accessibility around your home. 


Make it open plan


Standard-sized doorways can often make it difficult to manoeuvre yourself freely around the home when you’re using a wheelchair, frame or similar aid. So, a more open-plan layout can be good for increasing accessibility and improving life for those with mobility issues. 


You could go fully open plan and take down partition walls or simply open out the doorways to improve the flow between your living spaces. This has the added benefit of making your house more desirable to buyers, as people tend to prefer sociable living spaces. 


Install a wet room


Bathrooms are typically one of the least accessible rooms in the home. This is because they tend to have a tiny footprint that’s largely taken up by the bath. It makes the bathroom an awkward space, with little room to move about. We tend to overlook the inconvenience of bathrooms because we don’t spend much of our time there. But there’s a lot you can do to increase their accessibility and general appeal. 


The most obvious way to solve this problem is by installing a wet room. Not only do they open the space out, but they can increase the sense of luxury too. You’ll need to use suitable tiles that are non-slip or install a waterproof and non-slip vinyl covering. Vinyl is easiest to clean, but you may find tiles more aesthetically pleasing. Consider adding handrails to aid safe movement and a taller toilet, known as a high-rise toilet. A seat in the shower area may also be useful. For flexibility, a foldable option is a good idea. 


Fit hard floors


Hard floors are not only durable, but they’re much easier to move around on than carpets. For bedrooms and living rooms, solid wood, engineered wood, or wood-effect vinyl planks should work well. Wood has a warm tone that helps to keep these spaces feeling cosy without hindering movement. You may also fancy one of these options in the kitchen too. But you could also go for a porcelain tile. If you decide to tile, avoid smooth, high-sheen versions, as these may be too slippery. Look for an R9 to R13 grade anti-slip finish instead. Tile retailers usually have a good selection of modern designs in their anti-slip ranges, so you don’t need to choose anything that looks too functional.


If you’re redoing your flooring, you may wish to add in underfloor heating and provide a bit more comfort. This also means you can remove radiators and free up a bit more floor and wall space. 


Reconfigure the kitchen


Kitchens are designed to be practical, but despite this, they’re not typically practical or accessible for anyone with mobility problems. However, there are lots of positive changes you can make without needing to get a bespoke kitchen made. Most standard kitchens can be adapted in some way. 


Removing high-wall cupboards and lowering the worktops are two simple things that can help make everything more accessible and reduce stretching. And just making sure there are no extra hurdles to movement, such as bulky islands, bins and rugs. Spacing the cooker, fridge and sink within easy reach of one another minimises the need to move about. And installing ovens and sinks at a sensible height can make life much better. In addition, think about having slidable oven doors and an induction rather than a gas hob to make cooking safer to do. And don’t forget the small details such as practical cupboard handles and tap levers to make each task that bit easier to carry out.

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