Optimal Space Planning for Universal Design from the Kitchen

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, shouldn’t everyone be able to utilize it? With additional thought, the kitchen could accommodate all — from little ones baking their first batch of cookies to baby boomers starting to take care of joint issues, to those already dealing with physical constraints. Kitchens need more care than if we are to really embrace the idea of universal design.

Universal layout is simple and intuitive, with attributes and products that allow people of all ages and physical abilities to live comfortably and safely. To get a space as busy and significant since the kitchen, this can just be a good thing. Here is the way to accommodate some basic areas in the kitchen with universal design principles.

Teass \ Warren Architects


If your kitchen has a door, ensure it is at least 36 inches wide to supply a clear opening for people with an assisted apparatus. The doors for this kitchen more than qualify.

Architecture – Patrick Perez Architect

If you can get rid of the door entirely, even much better. This eliminates a common barrier of getting to the kitchen : having to push open or operate any kind of door hardware whilst balancing armloads of markets.

Marlene Wangenheim AKBD, CAPS, Allied Member ASID


When planning a kitchen, then elect for 42 inches into an optimal 48 inches involving counters. This allows for more than one cook in the kitchen and lets anybody in a wheelchair or walker readily operate without slamming into cupboards. At a U-shape kitchen, plan for 60 inches of clearance minimum between opposing counters. This permits a wheelchair to really have a comfy turning radius.

Charlie & Co.. Design, Ltd

Larger open kitchens and spaces appear to function best when obstacles are completely eliminated.

Monarch Renovations

If traffic passes behind a seated diner in a peninsula or island, plan for at least 60 inches of space behind to allow passage for a individual in a wheelchair.

Magni Design

Raised toe kicks allow greater toe and foot clearance for anybody in a wheelchair, and allow them to get nearer to the countertop or workstation. The toe kicks should be a minimum of 9 inches high. The kitchen shown here only about eliminates them altogether, opting for modern furniture legs for assistance that are still easy to work around.

Another alternative to freeing up toe space would be to get pre-assembled cupboards, eliminating the toe kick altogether. This choice allows for complete customization of counter height and toe space.

DJ’s Home Improvements


If someone is in a wheelchair, plan workstations that have clear distance below these to allow for simple reach to fixtures. Knee space needs to be a minimum of 30 inches broad.

Make sure that any exposed plumbing is coated, covered or behind door panels to protect against any burns from hot pipes. You might also have retractable doors shutting off the space beneath the workstation when it’s not being used.

InterDesign Studio

Here the cooktop also has clear distance below for simple access.


Pressalit Care Indivo Electric Lift Worktop Frame (Discontinued) – GBP 1,919.77

Adjustable cabinets and countertops are another great feature to think about when planning your kitchen. Pressalit Care’s height-adjustable lifting units allow you to make an optimum and ergonomically correct working environment, allowing everyone to work securely, together or independently.

Heights can be corrected manually, with a hand crank, or at the push of a button after it’s wired in by your electrician.

InterDesign Studio


when you have space for an island or a peninsula that accommodates seats, make the counter 30 inches high — the same as table elevation. This offers optimal seating for everyone, irrespective of age or mobility. Little ones could shimmy up onto a regular seat, and older folk do not need to hoist themselves up onto a bar stool. A wheelchair can only slide in too.

ROM architecture studio

Include at least one workspace countertop in a height of 30 inches or less, to accomodate someone sitting while doing tasks. Conversely, if the individual using this distance is very tall, look at raising the countertop into a height that will keep items ergonomic.

ROM architecture studio

This extended reduced counter is available underneath and reachable from either side, inviting little ones or people in chairs to take part in the daily cooking activities. Chairs or stools can also slide under the counter, turning it into a makeshift snack bar.

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