There are two main elements of every bathroom design: Aesthetics and functionality. Of course we want bathrooms that look amazing and reflect our personal tastes—but we also need them to be as functional as possible. We need the best fixtures, storage options and amenities to create the lifestyle we want.
For some people, bathroom accessibility is more important than anything. If you have physical limitations or disabilities (or know someone who does), you know the importance of having a bathroom with the correct dimensions and support features. And yet, more often than not, people settle for bathrooms that don’t actually meet their needs.
Accessibility is Within Reach
People don’t have to live with bathrooms that fail to meet their accessibility needs. With a little thought and planning and a modest budget, it may be possible to achieve meaningful transformations and modifications that improve quality of life and improve standards of safety around the home.
The fact is, bathrooms can be dangerous when not property adapted to the needs of the people who use them. Assessing the danger areas and finding ways to eliminate danger—all within a set budget—is a task that should only be entrusted to the most experienced bathroom renovation contractor.
Bathroom falls are a common reason for hospital visits amongst the elderly and people with disabilities. But what are the real causes of these accidents? Water on the floor can make the area too slippery. Inadequate room to maneuver can lead to loss of balance. Lack of proper support handles or accessible shower fixtures can put people in awkward positions and lead to physical strain or even a fall.
The good news is, all of these dangers can be cleared up with the proper renovations. Bathrooms that have been professionally modified to meet accessibility needs are safer and more comfortable. They also offer greater peace of mind—both for the people using them, and for their loved ones.
What About Style?
It’s a mistake to think that style goes out the window when accessibility is taken into account. The problem is simple: There aren’t enough bathroom renovators out there who know how to combine style and accessibility into a single package. Every bathroom is a combination of looks and functionality, and bathrooms with specific accessibility features are no different. The goal should always be to create a peaceful, tasteful oasis within the home—regardless of how accessible the bathroom needs to be.
Knowing exactly how to adapt a bathroom will depend on the unique needs of the people using it. Is the bathroom only going to be used by people with accessibility needs, or does it need to be comfortable for anyone to use? These are important questions to ask. It’s also a good idea to think beyond the accessibility needs of today, and consider what might be useful tomorrow. This allows people to get more out of their renovations and “grow into” the renovated bathroom over time.
Common accessibility renovations include:
- Tubs or showers stalls with wheelchair-accessible (curbless) entrances and interiors
- A variety of accessible seating designs within the shower
- Walk-in bathtubs
- Grab bars strategically placed in and around the shower and toilet area
- Textured flooring specifically designed to prevent slips
- Plumbing adaptations that control water temperature to prevent burns
- Increased lighting
- Handheld shower sprays for seated bathing
- Accessible towel hooks and storage shelves
- Accessible light switches
- Adapted sinks/vanities mounted with no cabinets beneath (this allows people to use the sink while seated)
- Sturdy materials and solid workmanship to help prevent accidents and breakages
- Vanities that move up and down using electric controls, for accessibility to various users
- Specific, individualized adaptations to any part of the bathroom
Professional Standards of Bathroom Accessibility
Bathroom accessibility is a specialized skill that requires careful attention to specific needs of individuals. In many cases, it also requires adherence to strict laws, standards and codes—plus the ability to maintain strong aesthetic values throughout the design and renovation process. Once you have a fairly strong idea of the adaptations you need, it’s time to seek a bathroom renovation specialist with a proven track record in tasteful accessibility upgrades.