How Can I Make My House More Accessible?

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Enhancements in living standards have led people to pay more attention to their quality of life and comfort. When it comes to these, the design requirements are quite demanding.

These aspects come together to make a more accessible environment that meets the prerequisites of your physical and behavioral needs. As such, the home environment becomes more people oriented.

Several parameters come to life when you want to make your house more accessible. It is not just the door but what leads to the door, the height of the handle, and the opening width.

A residential architect is the best way to move forward when it comes to a more accessible home environment. An architect can guide you through these features for your additions to your home. A professional architect must be knowing of all the determinants that come along with such construction.

What’s a User-Friendly Home?

Easy movement and convenience keep everyone happy. A user-friendly physical environment might even improve the efficiency of how your home functions.

A more accessible home design means analyzing the attributes, physical properties, and other relevant information. The impending design will be the result of these needs.

Principles to Follow

When it comes to a more accessible home, you must consider some crucial principles. A residential architect might suggest some useful ideas to make your house more accessible.

Consider the Core!

User-friendly homes generally cater to the needs of all the family members. A more accessible home should create a safe, comfortable, and healthy living environment that will cultivate their personality while providing easement.

These aspects must display the conditions people require. That’s the primary consideration a residential architect may consider.

Psychological Security

Safety should also reflect in the design of the home as well. You must pay attention to the selection of materials to avoid a sharp design. The color palette and materials could play a crucial role in determining your mood for the day.

Even though many people choose to ignore this critical aspect, a residential architect might enhance it so that you understand all the versatile parameters that come along with a more accessible home.

Conform to The Living Habits

The residential design of a more accessible home should be following the habits of its inhabitants. It’s so that they feel comfortable.

For instance, your home could have easy access to chairs for comfortable seating and a wide passage so that the people could walk conveniently. It could be the most unnoticeable of things.

Take the light switches, which you could place at a more convenient height, or even some grab bars near the toilet for support. The best quality of a more accessible home is that it conforms to the requirements of the elderly and specially-abled.

So, as a result, your house becomes a haven for all the family members. (Talk about taking family comes first to heart!)

Codes and Regulations

In New Jersey residential projects are not required to follow any guidelines in regards to making it barrier free however there are guides out there that guide your architect as they make suggestions to you if this is your concern.

General Elements


Stairways are one aspect of your home that you can easily make more accessible for your home. By making it uniform and wider, you’ll have a convenient and comfortable space.

  • All the steps in the flight of stairs must have a uniform height for the riser and a uniform depth for the tread.
  • The height of the risers should be considered if you have trouble going up and down stairs as well as the tread depth.


The provision of handrails is only required on one side but it maybe to your advantage to install a handrail on both sides of the staircase.

  • The handrails must have a consistent height concerning the nosing of the steps and walking surfaces.

Wider Doorways

If your home exhibits wider doorways, you’re in for an accessible home. Wider doorways not only allow for free movement but also accommodate wheelchairs.

  • A 3 foot doorway is generous enough for easy access.


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Photo by: Priva Mobility

The mechanical device functions as a lift for people to move up and down the stairs. A stairlift is convenient, easy to use, and a heavy-hitter in the league of more accessible homes.

  • Modern stairlifts boast a variety of attractive features such as battery isolation switches, adjustable seat height, seat belt, key switch, etc.
  • The straight-rail stairlifts are the most common type in residential use. These exhibit a straight track attached to the steps of the staircase. These are the least expensive type of stairlifts.

Home Lift / Residential Elevator

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Photo by: Contemporary Entry

A residential elevator is a product that transports people in private homes and dwellings with multiple stories. These are quite compact and usually fit up to four people.

  • A home lift doesn’t need additional space for the machine room or the pit, thereby making it highly suitable for domestic use. Sometimes, the maintenance costs are also lesser in comparison to regular lifts.
  • With a home lift, you’re not only allowing for more access to your home, but you also get to flaunt your private lift! Talk about making your friends jealous.

Plumbing Elements

Grab Bars

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Photo by: Bestbath

Grab Bars are a decent way to make your washroom more accessible. They act as a support system and are a must for homes with the elderly and specially-abled.

  • The space between the grab bar and the wall should be 1 ½ inch.
  • The grab bars should be installed in a horizontal position. It must be 33 inches minimum and 36 inches maximum above the floor to the top of the gripping surface.
  • For children, the grab bars must be 18 inches minimum and 27 inches maximum above the floor to the top of the gripping surface in a horizontal position.
  • The grab bars must have rounded edges and be free of sharp elements. The bars mustn’t rotate within their fittings.

Touchless Faucets

Touchless faucets in the bathroom and kitchen sinks could be useful for people with grip problems or arthritis.

  • A useful upgrade to faucets is installing anti-scale faucets in the washrooms. These prevent sudden bursts of hot water in case the cold-water flow is temporarily redirected.

Bathroom Heat Lamp

A bathroom heat lamp could be one of the most useful objects in your washroom when it comes to making your house more accessible. With this technology, you’re doing the best in making your washroom more accessible.

  • If you replace the overhead light fixture above the tub and toilet with one that has an infrared bulb along with a regular bulb, it’ll help keep your washroom comfortable and warm in the cold months.

Roll-In Showers

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Photo by: Bestbath

Roll-in showers are an alternate for the specially-abled and the elderly and form a part of more accessible washrooms. The shower exhibits a rimless design which allows the users to experience some independence when bathing.

Usually, the shower can be a pre-made unit or custom-built.

  • In standard roll-in showers, the hand shower and controls must be located on the back wall above the grab bar. It must be a maximum of 48 inches above the shower floor. It also needs to be 16 inches minimum and 27 inches maximum from the end wall which is behind the seat.
  • In alternate roll-in showers, the hand shower and controls shall be located 38 inches minimum and 48 inches maximum from the floor.
  • If the controls and hand shower are located at the end wall adjacent to the seat, they must be 27 inches maximum from that wall.
  • If the controls and hand shower are located on the wall opposite the seat, then they must be within 15 inches of the centerline of the seat.

Are You Ready?

Now that you’ve found so much information about more accessible homes, what’s your take going to be? If you get a residential architect to look at the plans of your home, they may be able to come up with intricate details in which you can have a more accessible home.

And why not go ahead with it? A private lift, wider doorways, and more space. That’s a more accessible home.

Residential architects always try to come up with a blend of creative and functional ideas to make their clients’ homes more accommodating to their needs. And that’s your way to go.

So, to answer your question of how you can make your house more accessible, there you have it. A plethora of ways to integrate them into your home and present it with convenience and ease.

Contact your local architect, discuss the drawings, and find out how you can make your house more accessible.