ACCESSIBLE DESIGN IN THE KITCHEN
Because the kitchen is the major entertainment hub of the home, special attention should be paid to make sure all of your guests can take part in the activities at hand, no matter their age or ability. Here’s how:
An open central area creates an easily maneuverable pathway so anyone can enter the main work area. Ideally, lower storage areas would open up or adjustable surfaces would be in place to allow a chair or mobility aid to be pulled up directly to a work-station as well for those who may have difficulty standing for lengths of time while assisting with food prep. (See lowered island on right.)
Long handles on the cabinet doors and drawers provide a more practical grip for those with decreased dexterity. Such hardware is also not left- or right-handed prohibitive.
A side-by-side refrigerator with handles extending the length of each door allows anyone tall or small to access the items stored inside. A wide-open space in front of the fridge also enhances its accessibility, as it increases the mobility in and around the appliance.
A dark-colored countertop easily sets it apart from lighter wood or white-painted cabinetry. Contrasting colors make it easier for those with poorer eyesight to discern boundaries, appliances and work stations. A variety of lighting — from recessed ceiling lights to suspended pendants and chandeliers to undercabinet track lighting — also increases visibility.