Fresh Ideas for Handicapped Kitchen Design

Let’s talk about handicapped kitchen design for a second!

Often, individuals may find the need for accessible homes for themselves or their loved ones. In fact, there are nearly 30 million Americans who are using a wheelchair on a daily basis. These numbers are only expected to increase as those who are aging or disabled find ways to safely remain home. To increase independence it’s very important to make your home or the home of a disabled or aging loved one as accessible as possible. Home modifications are easier to make today than ever before and can be safely tailored to individual needs in most cases for those who want to live in an independent way. Let’s look at some great ideas to fit right into your handicapped kitchen design.

Find the perfect counters for your handicapped kitchen deisgn!

1. Kitchen Counters and Work Surfaces for Your Handicapped Kitchen Design

  • Most countertops are installed at 36”. For a more accessible work surface, it’s important to adjust or install counters at 34” for most individuals.
  • The width of the countertop is also important with the ideal width being 30” wide.
  • Any adjustable counters ideally would be within a range of 28” to 36” high.
  • Also, make sure that you can comfortably slide under the counters to remain seated in your wheelchair while working comfortably in the kitchen.
  • If this is a new construction be sure to define the countertop height early on. This can better help you to plan where appliances and cabinets will be located later as well.

2. The Kitchen Sink for Your Handicapped Kitchen Design  

  • A sink with an open space beneath allows for easy clearance of walkers or wheelchairs. For adults knee clearance should be around 27” in height and 8” deep, this is better at 11” for children though.
  • Rear draining sinks also have a great advantage as well. This keeps plumbing and pipes out of the way, insulating adds further protection for vulnerable legs and knees too.
  • Adjusting water temperatures to prevent scalding is also advisable.
  • A single lever faucet is also a great inexpensive option as are touch controlled faucets. These allow users to turn off and on the faucet with the touch of just one button. To make your sink even more accessible, consider a side installed faucet which may make faucets more accessible for some users.

Sinks for Handicapped Kitchen Design

3. Kitchen Cabinets for Your Handicapped Kitchen Design

  • In some cases, you may choose to simply lower the height of existing cabinets, such as in a remodeling project, to make the kitchen more accessible for everyone.
  • Of course, with new technology coming onto the market daily, electronic cabinets, like Zack Rack, are now an option as well. Bring everything you need into reach with the touch of a button and never worry about reaching that tedious top shelf again.
  • Keep frequently used items at a lower level such as cutting boards, utensils, or spices for everyday ease of cooking.

4. Doors and Halls in Your Handicapped Kitchen Design

  • It’s important that doors be 36” wide door to allow wheelchair and walker users to access the kitchen easily. Although, for many, a 42” width may be even more accessible.
  • Swing clear hinges can help to make a clear opening too.
  • Lever-style door handles make opening a door a snap.
  • All passageways in the accessible kitchen should be at least 40” wide.
  • However, in a U-shaped kitchen, all passageways should be 60″ wide.

Freezers for Handicapped Kitchen Design

5. The Right Appliances for Your Handicapped Kitchen Design

  • Appliances should ideally be installed at a lower level. When installing be sure that they are around 31” off of the floor.
  • Electric ranges should have staggered burners and controls should be on the front of the stove to prevent the need to reach over hot burners while cooking.
  • Dishwashers should be raised to a height of 6” to 8” off the floor. You can also make the dishwasher accessible from both sides as well to make it even easier to use.
  • 5 lbs of maximum operating force on all appliance controls are also standard in most accessibility requirements.
  • Opening the oven as a seated cook can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Choose a side-hinged oven to avoid having to struggle and stretch.
  • A bottom drawer style freezer is also handy in the accessible kitchen to make the freezer accessible for everyone.
  • Be sure your supplier allows you to return items that aren’t a good fit for your personal needs if you can’t personally try it out before purchasing it.
  • Decide which direction you’d like your appliance doors to open in and be sure that you can access the appliance comfortably.


Need more help with your handicapped kitchen design? Contact us today to learn more!

Handicapped Kitchen Design Infographic

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