We all dream of having a beautiful bathroom. A spa-like haven where we can retreat to. A beautiful bathroom where the focus feature is a bath that we can sink into and soak our worries away. It sounds lovely, doesn’t it? The reality can be a bit different if you have a disability, or like myself, suffer from recurring injuries that can affect my mobility. The dream bathroom scenario sometimes needs to be adapted to fit your lifestyle and your needs. The interior design of an accessible bathroom doesn’t have to be the stuff of nightmares or what you might expect to find in the home of a 90 year old – no offense to any 90 year old reading this.
I was recently commissioned by Bathing Solutions to give my thoughts on the interior design of an accessible bathroom. It couldn’t come at a better time as my landlord is currently working on some home renovations. In particular, she is re-doing our bathroom and I am currently typing this as I nurse yet another knee dislocation. So as you can see, this topic is one that is near and dear to me.
If you are lost as to where to begin then this post is for you! You can have a stylish and accessible bathroom to meet all of your needs – here’s how!
Choose Your Design
Our landlord also happens to be my mother in law which means it was nice to be able to have some input into the design and layout of the new bathroom. Ultimately, she is planning for when she is older in age and she moves back into the flat; but as we are currently living in the flat the upgrades really suit us as my mobility tends to be compromised every year or so due to existing issues with my knee ligaments.
Consider Your Needs
There are many things to consider when it comes to the interior design of your accessible bathroom. The first thing should be what your needs are. From determining whether you need a wheelchair friendly space to whether you need assistance showering. Your needs are what will determine what exactly you need in your bathroom.
Here’s a quick mock-up to give you an idea of what the bathroom looked like before. We have a separate WC in the flat, which actually makes this room an ideal size if you need to bring in a wheelchair in the future as there is ample space for that.
After considering different options she chose a walk-in shower. The walk-in shower was perfect as it was modern, allowed independence, and ease of movement without feeling too cramped up. This will also give her the option to add a chair or bench in the future to make showering easier.
Pick Your Surface Carefully
It really makes no difference to have an accessible bathroom or not, if said bathroom doesn’t have the right surface texture for your needs. Imagine having a beautiful wet room but one that is fitted with slippery tiles. That’s counterproductive and probably more of a hazard than your existing bath.
Always make sure to find the most slip resistant tiles both for inside your walk-in shower as well as for the rest of the bathroom.
Our old tiles were nice enough but they weren’t slip resistant which made it a big hazard for everyone from ourselves, to the mother in law, to our kids.
Make Your Design Modern
Take full advantage of the technological advances available by upgrading what you can. For example, if you use a wheelchair then adding an automatic tap is a simple addition that can make life easier. Another good thing to do is to opt for a sink vanity with an adjustable height. This gives the user the option to adjust the height based on your needs, and makes the space more flexible for a bathroom that has multiple users.
Incorporate Must Haves into the Design
Your overall design and aesthetic don’t have to suffer because of your special needs. Instead of going for the most basic white handlebars upgrade them to match your other metal fittings. Your taps and your towel rails will look gorgeous when upgraded. Incorporate all of your essentials into the design and give them the same attention as you would everything else. For example, a shower bench can either be built in using the same tiles as your shower.
These tips will make your bathroom, whether it’s accessible or not, the spa like haven that you deserve.
I will update the post with images as soon as my bathroom is finished!