8 ways to make your property more disability-friendly

UK Home Improvement

8 Ways to Make Your Property More Disability-Friendly

In the UK, there are millions of people living with a disability. If you fall into this category or have a loved one who does, adapting your home to cater to everyone’s needs is key. Having a safe environment for you and your loved ones will help retain independence, make it easier to get around, and most importantly, lower the risk of injury.

Depending on the kind of mobility or disability concern you or a family member is experiencing, there are a magnitude of changes you can make to your home today to make it a more welcoming space. Here we will explore some ways you can make your property more disability-friendly.

Provide a Ramp Rather Than Stairs

If you or a loved one has mobility issues and uses a wheelchair, getting in and out of the house can be challenging, especially if you have stairs. The obvious solution to this is installing a ramp. This will instantly make your property more disability-friendly. If you’re unable to renovate your home to exchange stairs for a ramp, look into whether you’re able to use temporary measures, such as a portable ramp. Make sure to check what permissions you’ll need before completing any work on your home.

While many new build properties are already built with level access in mind, not everyone is so lucky. You’ll want your property to be accessible for all, so installing a ramp will mean guests and loved ones can come and go as they please without any assistance needed.

Install a Stairlift

Many homes in the UK are multi-storey. If you have stairs but have someone living in your property who has mobility issues or uses a wheelchair, this will inevitably make stairs impossible to climb. The good news is you can install a stairlift that loved ones can use to get to and from each floor.

Stairlifts are available in both on-the-go and permanent solutions which will make an enormous difference to the quality of your living space. As long as you or a loved one can get in and out of a wheelchair, stairlifts are a brilliant addition to your property. Stairlifts also prevent injuries, are easy to use, and most importantly, restore independence. 

Widen Doorways

When it comes to making your home more accessible, space may be one of your trickiest obstacles. To make your property more disability-friendly, look into widening doorways. Doing so enables you to accommodate the additional width of a walker or wheelchair. You’ll find many homes in the UK that are hundreds of years old and are built narrower than a modern property.

Extending the width of your doorway isn’t going to come cheap. You’ll need to ask what changes you can make to your home if there are covenants or restrictions in place too. Thankfully, there are portable wheelchairs and powerchairs you can buy too which make it easier to get in and out of the home. Mobility Solutions sells such devices which can be used for indoor and outdoor use. Their mobility aids can transform you or a loved one’s quality of life and make home living that little bit easier. 

Install Handrails

If you or a loved one are able to use stairs but require a bit of support, something as simple as adding an extra handrail could be the answer. Having handrails on both sides of your staircase can offer the support you need while increasing the safety of using stairs in your property. It’s worth stretching the handrail past the first and last stair. 

Doing this enables anyone using it to secure their grip before climbing the stairs. Adding extra handrails is especially handy for anyone with visual impairments. This is because they provide support before walking on uneven surfaces. 

Opt for Wooden Floor Over Carpet

If anyone in your home uses a wheelchair to get around, it’s time to pay attention to your flooring. If you have carpets in place, they can be real hazards and prevent wheels from moving freely. What’s more, carpets can increase the risk of trips. The good news is there is a solution – wooden flooring!

Switching your flooring won’t cost you an arm and a leg and can be done fairly quickly. Wooden flooring will make it far easier for wheelchair users to roam around. Engineered hardwood flooring provides a more accessible, smoother surface. It’s wise not to lay down area rugs on wood flooring either, as this can pose as a trip hazard too.

Adjust Worktop Height

When it comes to kitchen worktops, it may be time to adjust their height. If you’ve got someone living with you that uses a wheelchair, being unable to access the worktops can be a real problem. After all, everyone needs to use the kitchen space! There are two options you have to pick from before adjusting the height of your worktops. The first is to adapt the height completely so that the majority or all the space is wheelchair accessible.

If this is not suitable, think about adjustable-height worktops. This enables you to alter the height based on the needs of the person. Those who have multiple users in the home who require different worktop heights will benefit enormously from the latter option. 

Add Grab Bars in the Bathroom

Those on a tight budget can’t go wrong by installing grab bars in the bathroom. They take seconds to install and can make your bathroom instantly disability-friendly. Grab bars provide much-needed support, especially for individuals who have difficulty using the toilet. They are also beneficial for those who need that little confidence boost in high-slip areas.

You can add grab bars to the shower too. Doing so can prevent slips and falls on slippery surfaces. There is the option to go one step further and install a frame around your toilet which provides extra support when standing and sitting. 

Review Furniture Placement

Furniture can be a real obstacle for those with a disability. If you or a loved one is wheelchair-bound, too much clutter in the home can make it near to impossible to manoeuvre around. You need to be especially careful where you house furniture. Whether it’s the sofa, dining room table, or television, making sure there’s enough space for wheelchair users to get around is key.

The best place to start is by getting rid of clutter. You may have accumulated lots of junk over the years which can be a real safety hazard. Once you free up space, those with disabilities won’t struggle to get from A to B. Make sure to use storage solutions to house any items you can’t part with.

Making your property more accessible will ensure you’ve got a space where you and your loved ones can not only relax but feel safe too. Whether you make minor changes like adding grab bars, or you splurge on changing your flooring, or installing a stairlift, making your home more disability-friendly can even boost your property’s value.

In a nutshell, your home should serve as the one space where you feel most content. For this to be a reality, we have plenty of suggestions like those listed above which can make your home more accessible for every member of the family. 


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