Designing A Bathroom For Someone With Limited Mobility

If you or someone in your home uses a cane, walker, or wheelchair to get around, these tips will help you design a bathroom with added functionality. A bathroom is one of the most frequented rooms in a home, so it’s important that it is accessible and easy to navigate. From the best bathroom vanities for those with limited mobility to how much space you should leave between fixtures, we’re sharing all the ways you can make your bathroom more universal without sacrificing style.

A Clear Entryway

Before we get to the inside of the bathroom, let’s start with the adjustments that need to be made to the entryway. To clear a wheelchair, the bathroom door must be at least three feet wide. It is also preferable that the door is outward swinging and has a lever handle rather than a door knob. Typically, a wheelchair-accessible bathroom will need to be designed to be much larger than the average bathroom, but if space is limited, a pocket door system can be used to save a little extra space.

Bathroom Vanities With Tops That Are High Enough

The best bathroom vanities for those with limited mobility feature a higher top with adequate space underneath, so that the person can pull up close with their wheelchair. These same bathroom vanities with tops are also preferable for those with a walker or cane, because the empty space beneath can be used to store a stool. A higher vanity can also help provide comfort and added stability when standing. When installing a sit down vanity, make sure there is space on the side to store a walker or cane while at the dressing table.

Interior bathroom for people with disabilities in the nursing home

A Roll-In Shower

There are a few things to keep in mind when optimizing your shower for accessibility. First, there should be no threshold, so that a wheelchair or walker can easily enter and exit the space. You will need to also install waterproof tile, a shower seat and grab rails. For the showerhead, opt for a handheld that can easily be controlled from the seated area.

An ADA Compliant Bathtub And Toilet

If you prefer a bathtub, walk-in tubs are the most accessible. These styles feature a low threshold and a water-tight door, so that entering the bathtub is as easy as possible. Some other things you will want to look for in your bathtub are slip-resistant flooring, a built-in grab bar, and contoured seating. In regards to toilets, manufacturers like American Standard offer ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant toilets at that are designed to be safer and more comfortable for people with disabilities or limited mobility.

Lower Hardware And Light Switches

Light switches, towel bars and robe hooks should all be installed lower, so they are easily within reach. Some accessible bathrooms also choose to include the installation of a phone or other type of alert system as a precautionary measure.

Girl in wheelchair indoors












Space For Easy Maneuvering And Turning

Ideally, your bathroom should include an open area at least five feet in diameter. This should provide optimal space for maneuvering and turning. It is also advisable to leave a minimum of four feet in front and between certain fixtures. While extra space is ideal, it is not impossible to make a tiny bathroom wheelchair accessible. It just requires you to use a little creativity when designing your layout and potentially changing out the existing plumbing.


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