Interior design can make a space beautiful, but an expert interior designer can also create spaces that keep older clients in their own homes longer, allow people with disabilities to maintain independence, and increase autonomy for individuals at nursing homes and retirement facilities.
Accessibility is an important concept when designing a space. With all clients, a designer’s understanding of the client’s goals, routines, and abilities lets them make a personally satisfying, functional, and balanced space.
Expert interior designer Lori Wiles and her team have experience customizing homes and commercial spaces to provide a beautiful, accessible environment.
Older clients may want to stay in their own homes and live independently but face challenges due to past injury, muscle weakness or arthritis, illness, etc. So much can be done beyond considering whether a person needs to go up and down stairs.
The kitchen is a great place to increase accessibility. Many people want to continue to cook for health, enjoyment, comfort, convenience (and a host of other reasons) even when it becomes difficult. Lori advocates an accessible kitchen with an induction stovetop and adjacent sink to make cooking possible for people with a wide range of ability. Besides being more energy efficient and allowing for shorter cooking times, induction stovetops are safer to use.
Lori explains that an induction cooktop uses magnetic forces to create an electric circuit with magnetic cookware (not the stovetop itself), which means the cooking surface is cool the instant the cookware is removed (though the pot or pan, and the food in it, will be hot). The stovetop surface is flat and smooth, convenient for moving pots and pans without unnecessary lifting.
An adjacent sink means dishes can be moved from a cooking surface to the sink or vice-versa without being carried, which increases safety and convenience.
Furniture is another important consideration, making sure (as with any space) that it’s easy for the people using it to get around. A chair that’s comfortable, beautiful, easy to move, and get in and out of is crucial. Lori takes accessibility into account in any room she’s furnishing, whether it’s a commercial space or a private living room.
Showers are another important place to consider the needs of the client. Modern technology allows showers that are started remotely and can be programmed with specific temperature and water pressure settings for each user to create the perfect shower experience. As well as a welcome comfort, this provides safety and autonomy for people who struggle with handles. A person who has trouble with mobility may appreciate a walk-in shower with rails and seating, minimizing steps on a slippery surface.
Working with a designer who knows all the current available options for function as well as style results in better spaces for each individual client. An accessible space that’s functional, balanced, and satisfying keeps clients living life, just the way they want, longer.