Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Kitchen for Every Body: Universal Design and Kitchen Appliances.


 A universally designed kitchen functions well for every type of body whether young or old. Let us take a look at choosing appliances that work for every body.


  • A wall oven that opens from the side makes it easier for someone who has balance or bending issues, as well as for someone in a wheelchair.
  • It is also good for families members that are cooking and baking at the same time to have a separate cooktop and oven.


  • A front-control cooktop with recessed space underneath makes it easier for someone in a wheelchair to use. 
  • An induction cooktop lowers the risk of fire and getting burned because the only thing it heats up is the pot and its contents.


  • A side by side refrigerator / freezer model makes it possible for people of all heights and abilities to access contents inside.
  • Drawer model refrigerator and freezers provide another alternative to the standard refrigerator.



  • Raise the dishwasher 6 to 16 inches above the floor for easier access from a seated position as well as for the elderly who have difficulty bending. 
  • If you don't care for the look consider installing dish washing drawers instead.


  • Place the microwave oven near the refrigerator at either counter level or below for easy access. 
  • A hidden panel door prevents little children from playing with the microwave.

Kitchen Sink

  • A kitchen sink without cabinetry below it that is 3 or 4 inches deep with the drain hole offset at the back instead of the center provides knee clearance for someone in a wheelchair.
  • Another important consideration is to have the pipe be flexible or installed against a wall rather then jutting out to prevent burns for those in a wheelchair. Since many have no sensation in their legs it is easy for them to get accidentally burned. If you don't like the look be aware that sinks come with a panel to hide the view of the pipe this also further protects the legs from burns.
  • Choose an ADA faucet with one large lever for ease of use for everyone in the household whether a child, adult or elderly person with grip or vision issues. 


  1. Good ideas---did similar when doing a kitchen for a wheelchaired relative. However, for me @ 5'10" tall and back problems, the lowered counters and appliances are problematic, so I am making my counters higher, even though, of course, perhaps someday I will need things lower. It seems hard to actually create something that fits every one and every situation over the course of a lifetime.

  2. Nice blog. I hope you keep it up. I imagine it's much harder to design for city living with limited space.