Creating Wheelchair Accessible Homes in Raleigh for Aging in Place

Home Builder with Royal Oaks Homes

People purchase homes at different stages in their lives. There are the starter homes for the first-time homebuyer. Then comes the move-up home. But as life changes, you might need to consider a home that allows wheelchair-bound residents to feel comfortable and as independent as possible.


Universal Design

Universal design has become more common as the “aging in place” concept gains more popularity. Universal design incorporates features that empower people to remain in their homes longer by accommodating special needs.

Whether you are planning to retrofit your current home or looking ahead to buying a new home, here are some wheelchair accessible design ideas for aging in place.

Paying Attention to Details

First of all, a wheelchair accessible home doesn’t require compromising your style—just being smarter with the details. Doorways need to be wider (42 inches, as compared to the standard 36-inch door) to easily accommodate the wheelchair’s width. Doors should be fitted with lever-style hardware, not knobs. Work surfaces should be lower (30-inch base cabinets, instead of 36-inch). Lower the wall switches to be reachable from a wheelchair. Grab bars near showers, toilets, and tubs are essential for safety. And thresholds and steps are to be avoided.


So, let’s look at some key areas, starting with the kitchen. Install a work area (e.g., countertop) without cabinets underneath, so that the wheelchair can slide in. Use drawers for storage instead of shelves, because they pull out and don’t require someone to reach deeply inside a cabinet. Opt for a side-by-side refrigerator so the person in the wheelchair can access both the refrigerator and freezer. You can also install a drawer-style dishwasher in place of the conventional pull-down design.

The kitchen plumbing can be set farther back toward the wall so that a person in a wheelchair can roll in and use the sink. A gooseneck, pull-down faucet with a touch sensor is a smart choice, too.


Bathrooms present another key area to incorporate wheelchair accessible design ideas. Like the kitchen, install 30-inch vanities with open space under the sink. Curbless shower stalls with wide doors also feature lower shelves or dispensers for soap and shampoo.

Beautifully Custom for Life

Your wheelchair accessible home can have beautiful cabinetry and countertops, and your choice of tile for the bathrooms. Grab bars can look more like towel bars. Designing for a handicap isn’t a handicap for good designers. It’s an opportunity!

If you’re looking for help with designing a wheelchair accessible home in the North Carolina area, please talk to us at Royal Oaks Homes. With more than 80 years of combined experience as a homebuilder, we know how to design and build a custom home that fits you, your family, and your future.

Comments (2)

John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Matt Riley Those are very good wheelchair accessible tips for aging in place.

Apr 25, 2017 05:17 PM