Using a wheelchair or scooter may come with its share of challenges, and it also presents plenty of opportunities to transform your lifestyle into one that provides freedom, comfort, and confidence. 

For many people, the kitchen is one of the most beloved rooms in the house. And since most kitchens aren’t built for wheelchair users, they can become sources of frustration, as well. 

Yet as more and more new products and innovations hit the market, now is the perfect time to upgrade your kitchen into a wheelchair-friendly space — a place that’s easy to access and maneuver  and you can cook and eat the food you love

The good news is we have a few wheelchair-accessible kitchen ideas that can transform your cooking area into the most wheelchair-friendly room in your house. The even better news is that these ideas are relatively simple and affordable.

Go Low

Standard countertops are 36 inches high, which can make much of your kitchen out of reach. Remodeling your counter space to a lower height is ideal. 

Add a small drop-leaf table as an island to your kitchen area, or place it off to the side. At 28 to 30 inches high, tables give you a lower space to prepare meals or place appliances such as microwave ovens, coffee makers, or toasters. 

You can also install a sliding cutting board under your cabinet for less than $50. A handyman or carpenter can replace a small drawer with a nice sheet of wood, giving you much easier access to a right-sized, one-person work area. 

Touchless Sensors

Faucets and light switches above a countertop can be hard or even impossible to reach. You can replace switches or handles with features that come with motion sensors, so a wave of the hand is all you need to get the water running, get a squirt of dish soap, or turn the lights on.

Create More Space

On the other hand, cabinets below the sink make it very challenging to reach the sink from a wheelchair. For a relatively affordable sum, you can have the cabinet directly below your sink removed, making it easy to wheel up and get in the perfect position to access the sink. 

One challenge with this idea is the possibility that pipes and garbage disposal will be exposed or in the way; however, a professional plumber can easily rearrange your pipes toward the wall where they remain unobtrusive. 

Another way to make your cabinets more accessible is to add slide-out shelves or replace existing shelves with slide-out versions. Even someone without a wheelchair can have trouble digging through lower cabinets and reaching items toward the back, so sliding shelves benefit everyone. 

Take a Power Trip

With more and more devices and appliances available for use in the kitchen, the need for easy access to power outlets is greater than ever. Thankfully, you can hire an electrician to lower your kitchen outlets to a more reach-friendly height — and maybe add a couple more while they’re at it. 

Even better: If you’re moving your power outlets, consider replacing them with “smart” outlets that you can control from your phone. 

Use the Walls

Since the highest cabinets are often out of reach completely, consider moving some of your kitchen utensils, spices, mugs, and other lightweight items to empty spaces along your walls. You may be surprised how many spots become available for this solution, including the sides of cabinets or the edges of your counters. 

A huge variety of options are available, from hooks and rods to narrow shelves and customizable metal peg boards. 

Even the Floor

Ramps have become common in homes where wheelchairs are present, especially where one or two steps can make movement extremely difficult. And even low barriers such as thresholds can be unnecessary obstacles. Many companies make ramps, lips, and other transition pieces that even out the path over minor bumps that can stop your wheels in their tracks.

Extra tip: Keep the floor clear. Area rugs and standing mats may add a dash of color or warmth to a kitchen, but they also get in the way. 

More Wheelchair Accessible Kitchen Ideas

There are countless wheelchair-accessible kitchen ideas out there — some easy, some affordable, some less so. If you’d like more ideas or guidance for making your cooking area more wheelchair friendly, contact your friends at Omicelo Health. 

Our mission is to strengthen the connection between home and health. So whether you have family that wants to age in place or make home modifications, contact us for help. 

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