What is accessible design? Why is it so important to you?

Imagine if today you slipped and broke your leg.

Would you be able to get into and around your home in a wheelchair or walker without any help?

If your home had accessible design features, it wouldn’t be a problem.

You would be able to maintain your freedom and independence, and go about your daily routine with barely a hiccup. You could happily continue to entertain friends and spend time with your grandchildren.

Your home would not present any barriers to you.

In fact, it would evolve with you into the future.

By incorporating accessible design, you will create a FABulous home:

  • Flexible to accommodate all your current and  future needs
  • Accessible to you, your friends and your family, no matter what their ages or abilities
  • Beautiful and very enjoyable to live in

Who does accessible design benefit?

It benefits everyone at every age.

No matter who you are.

For example, a step-less entry will be just as welcome when:

  • pushing a baby stroller through
  • arriving home with an arm-load of grocery bags
  • rolling through in a wheelchair
  • riding through on a tricycle
  • hobbling through on crutches
  • delivering large appliances
  • moving house

When should you start incorporating accessible design?

Right now!

Don’t wait like my friend Susan did. While decorating the school gym for her daughter’s prom, she fell from a ladder and shattered her pelvis. Susan had to move in with her mother (who had a wheelchair friendly home) for her 2 month recuperation period. She could have recovered in the comfort of her own home had it been designed with accessibility in mind.

If you are building a new home or undertaking a major renovation, then your timing is perfect. It is easier on the pocket book to incorporate accessible design in the planning phase, before you start building. Retrofitting years down the road would be expensive and stressful.

Some essential features to include in your plans before you build are:

  • Level approaches and no steps at every entrance
  • Incorporate wider doorways and hallways
  • One room on the main level that can be turned into a future bedroom
  • One wheelchair accessible bathroom on the main level with reinforced walls for grab-bars
  • Stacked closets on different floors to become a future elevator shaft
  • A well thought-out lighting plan (which includes window placement)

‘The future depends on what we do in the present’ – Mahatma Gandhi

Where in your home should accessibility be applied?


Both inside and out.

Don’t worry that the “special” design features will stick out like a sore thumb. They won’t. Your new accessible home will look just like a normal home but it will be much easier to live in and feel more spacious. In fact, your friends and family may not even realise that it is an accessible designed home. The only thing they will notice is how much they love it.

Three key areas in which to apply it are:

#1) Entrances

Comfortable and convenient access into your home is a basic necessity. An entrance isn’t only your front door as you may be entering your home through the garage much of the time, or even through a side door. Remember to think about the entrances that lead to your yard, garden, patio or deck. You will want to ensure that you can reach all of the entertainment spaces to enjoy every square inch of your beautiful home.

#2) Bathrooms

Bathrooms are high traffic areas where it is important to create a safe, accessible and functional environment for you and your family. It could also do double-duty as a luxurious haven, to retreat to at the end of a crazy day. An accessible bathroom is an essential part of helping you maintain your independence if your future needs change. It is also a necessity to have in order for you to welcome visitors of all ages and abilities. Some friends or family members may not be able to come to your home if they don’t have the use of an accessible bathroom.

Read more about top design tips for an accessible bathroom.

#3) Kitchens

The kitchen is the heart of the home and life seems to revolve around it. This busy space is often shared by many different family members who have various abilities and requirements. It is a place where you may get your creative juices flowing, entertain your friends or bake with your grand-children. Careful planning is essential to fit in all your desired appliances and gadgets so that each person can function independently and easily.

Read about accessible design in your kitchen.

What are you waiting for?

If you have been thinking about making a change to your current home, or maybe building your dream home, now is the time to begin planning.

Talk to your interior designer, architect or general contractor today about implementing accessible design features into your new home.

Don’t put it off any longer.

Don’t wait until you find yourself in a pickle and are forced to make a quick decision. You can take your time now to make the right decisions. Planning ahead will save you money and your sanity.

Today is the perfect time to begin transforming your home for the better and incorporating accessibility features, so you will be prepared for the future.