Smart Tips for Aging in Place Kitchen Design
Posted on May 10, 2017 at 8:00 am
Written by Karen Hicks
The kitchen is often the center of your home, the place where your family gathers to talk, laugh and eat. It’s your space for preparing food, enjoying food and entertaining others.
If you choose to age in place, your kitchen is one of the most important rooms when it comes to design and functionality. Every part of your kitchen needs to work for you, offering you the same safety and usability as you grow older.
Top Tips for Aging in Place Kitchen Design
At Lifestyle Home Builders, our experienced, professional designers help homebuyers build and customize their kitchens to age in place. Based on our experience, we shared our top tips for aging in place kitchen design.
Start with Appliances
Your appliances take up the largest spaces in your kitchen and are also most important to your work in the kitchen. Consider a side-by-side refrigerator and a built-in counter-height microwave to make life easier as you age. You’ll also want to arrange appliances and sinks so you can keep a work triangle between your refrigerator, stove/oven and sink. This work triangle provides you with a kitchen that’s efficient so you can take fewer steps while prepping, cooking and cleaning up.
After picking your appliances, think about what needs you may have in the future. If you are planning for wheelchair use, talk to your designer about how you can plan for future changes in your kitchen now. For instance, you may want to use a kitchen island now, but have it removed in the future so you can use a wheelchair, along with your under-sink cabinets. The right kitchen design can make these future changes easy.
Create Easily Accessible Storage
A great kitchen design includes ample storage, but unless you can access it, it won’t be of much use. For your lower level storage, instead of using cabinets with doors that get in the way, consider using deep drawers. Deep drawers make items easier to reach. Instead of bending down to reach back into a cabinet, you can slide out drawers and see items that were stowed in the back.
Pull-out or roll-out shelves also let you access items stowed in the back of cabinets. These shelves can even be designed to let you use small appliances, such as a mixer, without removing them from the shelf.
Pull-down cabinet accessories also give you better access to kitchen items, lowering them so you don’t have to strain to reach the top shelf. Pull-down cabinet accessories can be especially helpful for someone in a wheelchair.
Pay Attention to Details
Even the smallest details in your kitchen can make it easier to use at any age. For instance, place pulls on your cabinets and drawers instead of knobs. Pulls are simpler to grasp so you can open doors without much effort.
You should also consider making spaces in your kitchen wheelchair accessible by leaving the center of the kitchen open and being sure there is at least 36 inches of space between all cabinets, door frames and other areas as a turning radius. You may also want to consider raising your dishwasher or lowering your microwave to make these items reachable from a seated position.
Make Your Kitchen Yours
While function is important, it’s also important you feel at home in your kitchen and that it looks how you want it to look. We recommend you bring some of your own ideas, such as images from Pinterest, of kitchen designs and details you love. These details help create a truly personalized design that fits your lifestyle and exceeds your expectations.
If you are considering aging in place, Lifestyle Home Builders has the knowledge, experience, and aging in place house plans you need for a beautiful, functional customized home. As you begin your design process, check out our Aging in Place Checklist for more tips and helpful information about creating a home that will last through your retirement and beyond.