Sitting And Cooking: Five Kitchen Designs For Someone In A Wheelchair

Home & Garden Articles

An estimated 22 million people in Australia are in wheelchairs. If you are in a wheelchair or will soon begin using one, there are things you can do to make your kitchen wheelchair-friendly. Whether you are designing a new kitchen or modifying an existing kitchen, here are five things to consider:

1. Wide passages and doorways

To ensure you can reach your kitchen easily and move around in it, you want wide passages and doorways. Ideally, the spaces between countertops should be at least 1,000 millimeters wide. Under the Building Codes of Australia, this is the width required for access ramps, and it allows space for a wheelchair to pivot.

Your doorways can be slightly less wide, as you only need to be able to navigate through them, not turn around in them.

2. Low countertops

You want countertops, stoves and sinks that are lower than normal so you can reach them while in your wheelchair. However, you also want room to slide your chair beneath these surfaces so that you do not have to reach from the back of your chair past your knees. You can have a contractor build surfaces that have absolutely nothing but supportive legs underneath them, or you can have doors that hide the cavities underneath the cupboards so that your kitchen looks more standard and less modified.

3. Wheelchair friendly appliances

There are a variety of appliances that can make using the kitchen easier for someone in a wheelchair.  Consider getting an electric glass stove that does not have an oven underneath it. That way, you can use the space under the stove to slide your chair in so you can cook.

When you are ready to bake or roast, you need an oven that is in the wall and slightly elevated. Some people in wheelchairs use doors that open downward just as regular oven doors do, but others prefer doors that open to the sides. That way, you do not have to pull the oven door down toward your lap.

4. Lazy Susans in the cupboards

You certainly cannot get rid of all of your cupboard space so that you have room to slide your chair underneath your countertops. However, with the cupboards that you have, keep in mind that you may have trouble reaching the back of your cupboards. To make it easy on yourself, have lazy Susans or turntables installed in the counters.

These shelves are round, and they can be turned so that you can access the entire contents of the shelf. Additionally, you can also use shelves that pull out like drawers, allowing you to reach items in the back of the cupboards.

5. Versatile workspaces

If you live with other people who also cook in the kitchen, you may want to create some versatility in your kitchen design. These efforts can also be useful down the road if you want to sell your home. If you have an island or a cupboard extending out, consider building the countertop lower on one side. The higher side can be used by someone who is standing while they cook, and the lower side can be used by you. If you sell the house, the lower side can be used as an eating counter with bar stools.

Alternatively, make low countertops out of cutting boards that slide into the cupboards. You can pull them out and use them as cooking surfaces as needed while you live in the home, but if you want to sell the house down the road, you can replace them with regular drawers.

For more information, contact a company like Wallspan.


12 March 2015

Home Truths: Decorating Through The Years

I am the proud mother of nine grown up children! There wasn't much money around when they were little, so I was always sewing, knitting, growing vegetables and generally being self-sufficient. Now that they have their own households, you would think that I could rest a little, but I am busier than ever. I am blessed that my children and their partners are talented and have good jobs. However, they are very busy, so most of their home decorating is left up to me. From making curtains to painting bathrooms, I always have at least one project on the go. To tell the truth, I really enjoy it and it makes me feel that all my skills gained over the years are useful. I thought that people might like to read this blog which shares a lot of tips and ideas. I really hope you enjoy scanning through these pages.