11 Wheelchair-Accessible Bathroom Designs and Layout

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I was at my grandparents’ place recently, and we searched for a list of wheelchair-accessible bathroom designs. 

We also needed a shower seat for disabled persons, so we sought to talk with a local contractor. Read on to see some design concepts you can use to make your bathroom wheelchair-accessible.

According to the CDC, 2 out of 5 adults over 65 are at high risk for living with disabilities. (1)

key Takeaways

  • There are various accessible designs to use in bathrooms.
  • The ADA guidelines highlight how commercial bathrooms should be.
  • There is no restriction on how much creativity you can use in the bathroom.

11 Wheelchair-Accessible Bathroom Design Ideas

1. Walk-in Bath 

These baths are ideal for people with physical limitations who prefer to soak and relax. Moreover, they come in varying sizes and shapes to meet your needs.

Bath accessories are accessible because they usually have a watertight door and a low threshold. Moreover, it is essential to install slider bars and grab bars to help hoist yourself in and out of the tub.

2. Colored Taps 

A colored tap and basin can be an excellent way to help people with visual impairments identify the hand washing area.

You can be creative and mix the colors to provide an aesthetic contrast.

Moreover, most of the accessible tap configurations come with two operating handles. This setting allows people with disabilities to reach out without straining their hands.

3. Angled Mirror Above the Vanity

You can never go wrong with having a mirror placed above the vanity area. Mirrors add an elegant finish to the bathroom space, reflect light, and make the room feel bigger.

However, since the mirror will be above your eye level, have it inclined for easy usage. You can talk to your bath designer about installing a tilting mirror that you can adjust and return to the normal angle after use.

Here is a YouTube video from Longhorn Workshop on installing a tilting mirror.

4. Hand-held Shower Head

A hand-held showerhead is an excellent alternative to having a high-placed one. Furthermore, this hand-held bathroom accessory can reach parts of your body with little help.

You can choose a wide range of colors like copper, gold, or even a plain-colored hose matching the area. Also, note that if in the care of a helper, the individual will have an easy time showering you without moving you around.

5. Hanging Lights

You won’t go wrong with having a series of lighting illuminating your accessible bathroom space. Moreover, you can experiment with various lights to meet your needs.

Artificial lights can help prevent shadows in the bathroom corners and can be paired with a mirror to bounce the light across the room.

Lighting accessories come in various colors, and you cannot miss fixtures matching the space.

Check out this YouTube video for more lighting designs.

6. Grab Bars

According to the CDC, one out of four older people aged 65 and above falls annually. However, you can minimize this occurrence by having safety grab bars around the floor space. (2)

You can mix vertical and horizontal grab bars to create a unique design that offsets one’s eye strain.

You can also install decorative shower grab bars within the shower stall or bathtub to raise or lower yourself into the basin to improve the bathroom layout.

Here is a YouTube video from Lowe’s Home Improvement on proper grab bars installation.

7. Floating Vanity

A floating vanity area can be an excellent way to make your accessible bathroom more accommodating.

Moreover, any wheelchair user can slide beneath the wall-hanging bathroom fixture to access the vanity area.

According to ADA-accessible bathroom regulations, a sink should be 34 inches high and have a knee clearance of at least 27 inches.

Also, insulate any plumbing fixtures beneath the vanity to avoid disturbances. (3)

8. Accessible Faucets

Tap accessories in an accessible bathroom should be easy to use. So ideally, you want an automatic sensor-enabled, lever-operated, or push-to-operate faucet.

On the other hand, you want to avoid taps that warrant gripping and twisting the knob to operate because you or the next person may not have the privilege to use the knob.

9. Walk-in Shower

These accessible shower types are an excellent option for people with limited mobility and general mobility issues.

Moreover, depending on personal preference, the shower can have a low threshold or none to accommodate a wheelchair.

A walk-in shower allows for creativity, allowing several water nozzles on the wall and ceiling for a spa effect.

In addition, and due to the open nature of the bath space, you can have a shower chair for a comfortable experience and add an accessible sink to optimize bathroom accessibility.

You can also add a shower curtain to maximize your shower ergonomics. 

Check out this YouTube video from Complete Home Remodeling DIY on walk-in shower design ideas.

10. Wooden Wall Pattern

As a nature lover, you will love the rustic feel a wooden pattern provides to your bathroom space. You can go for rigid patterns on the finished floor and walls and pair the look with potted plants.

Wooden floor coverings match various color accents like white and gray walls. Moreover, you can get wooden grab bars from the stores to complete the rustic feel.

11. Built-in Storage Units

You usually want your bathroom to stay clutter-free while creatively housing your essentials.

Fortunately, there are various ways you can use the accessible spaces to stash toiletries and medical equipment.

Storage units can range from recessed, floating, wheeled, and hanging shelves. Moreover, you can seek more tips for wheelchair-accessible bathroom designs on how to organize the space.

FAQs

1. How do you design an ADA bathroom?

An ADA-compliant bathroom is built with accessibility in mind. So it must be spacious and have design features that individuals with mobility issues can use with little or no help.

2. What makes a bathtub ADA compliant?

A bathtub becomes ADA compliant when it allows people with disabilities to enter and exit quickly.

3. Does an ADA bathroom require a sink?

Every accessible bath must have a hand washing area for wheelchair users. Moreover, the point should be easily accessible and have a clearing underneath it.

4. What are wheelchair-friendly requirements?

A wheelchair-friendly bathroom requires at least grab rails, lower toilets, and walk-in showers.

Conclusion

You can use various wheelchair-accessible bathroom designs to make your bathroom more accommodating.

Moreover, a simple renovation project can go a long way to ensure you age in place at your home.

After going through the above accessible designs, we chose to have a roll-in shower and bathtub. As a result, bathing experiences have changed, and you can use any of the methods above for better baths.

wheelchair beside a bathtub

Resources

  • 1. CDC. Prevalence of Disabilities and Health Care | CDC [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/features/kf-adult-prevalence-disabilities.html
  • 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Facts about falls [Internet]. www.cdc.gov. 2020. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/falls/facts.html
  • 3. 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design [Internet]. 2010. Available from: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAStandards.pdf
About Martina Todorovska

"Martina is a graduated Doctor of Dental Medicine with a huge obsession for anything beauty-related. Her freelance writing started out as a creative outlet and turned out to be a full-time job. If you have any beauty questions, the chances are Martina has the answers. Follow her on LINKEDIN. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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