Organisation tips

Multi Generational Living – Accessible Kitchens

It’s time to think about kitchens in a different way.

The hardest-working room in the house can still be stylish and functional for everyone. This is especially important when mobility is a consideration.

The primary aim of accessible kitchens is to provide safe functionality and independent living. Our expert designers have detailed their top tips to incorporate accessible features into your design without losing the all-important wow factor.

Preparation is key

Before tackling a big project, ask yourself some questions to really evaluate your kitchen requirements.

  • What works already; what do you want to keep?
  • Is there anything that just needs a small adjustment?
  • What doesn’t work currently?
  • Are there any safety considerations?
  • Are there currently any areas or appliances that are inaccessible to any members of the household?
  • Do you need wide pathways for wheelchairs?
  • Do you need to reduce reaching and bending down?

Accessible shelving

There are no reason shelves must be up high on the wall- installing them under cabinets could be one simple solution that makes life easier for wheelchair users.

Pull-out units are practical and neat and make easy work of grabbing those store cupboard ingredients or pots and pans. No stretching and reaching to the back of a shelf required. There is a range of clever storage features and integrated bins available from Wren that keep things tucked away until easy access is needed.

Things to consider

  • Appliances should be positioned in the best place for easy access.
  • For wheelchair users, tall or mid-height ovens will work best.
  • Would you benefit from an oven where the oven door tucks neatly away when open, allowing unrestricted access?
  • A heat resistant pull out shelf under the oven is also an extra safety feature.

The right sinks, appliances and taps

Sink depth is important for wheelchair users, as the bowl needs to be shallow enough to enable easy access from a seated position. The underside of the sink should include a heat proof pad.

Hot water taps are worth considering as an easier and safer alternative to a kettle, removing the need to carry heavy kettles across the room. Digital touch control features on models are great for anyone who particularly struggles with dexterity.

Induction hobs are safer than reaching across glass or ceramic plates, and easier to slide pans on and off. Controls for the hob should be positioned at the front rather than the side, again to reduce the need to reach and lean over.

Make the most of the tech

Technology really can be smart and adjust to the unique requirements of everyone in your home. Shelving and worktops can be controlled using the wireless remotes, and safety sensors installed to prevent damage and accidents. You can even control all your kitchen lights with the use of voice command. Wren’s smart system is incredibly simple to install and use.

Finishing touches

Once the bug decisions are made, don’t forget the details. Handles on cupboard doors and drawers need to be easy for everyone in the household to grip and use, so think about large pull bars rather than decorative knobs. The position of the handles is also important.

Plug sockets and light switches should be positioned where everyone in the home can easily reach them. Sockets don’t have to be in the wall behind a worktop. Pull up sockets on an island or breakfast bar could be more accessible, as well as improving the aesthetics by tucking neatly away when not in use.

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