While some customers reface their kitchens for an impending home sale, more people are upgrading with long-term goals in mind. With careful consideration during the design stage of a kitchen renovation, some basic design choices will help a homeowner support their long-term goals. “Aging in place” is the term often used to describe spending one’s senior years at home while staying independent. Careful planning will support that independence while providing immediate benefits. Read on to learn what to consider during a senior-friendly kitchen upgrade.
Reducing Reaching and Bending
While storage optimizers, cabinet organizers, and other additions are a great way to keep goods accessible, storage isn’t the only thing requiring simplification. Consider moving electrical outlets into the kitchen’s backsplash, under upper cabinets, or to other places where they’re easy to reach. Single-lever and hands-free faucets reduce reaching, and pull-out sprayers put water where it is needed.
Leave Plenty of Space for Chairs and Wheelchairs
Workstations and walkways are two places where extra legroom can be made. Even a few weeks in a wheelchair after a minor injury can be a big inconvenience if the chair won’t fit into the kitchen! During a kitchen remodeling project, be sure not to create narrow spaces. Consider widening an existing walkway for better accessibility. 48 inches is wide enough for most wheelchairs, and it will keep the kitchen from feeling too crowded. Don’t forget to make the doorways wider as well.
Build Seated Workspaces For Long Cooking Processes
Prolonged standing is tiring at any age, but it’s troublesome for seniors in particular. Make a kitchen remodeling project more senior-friendly by incorporating rest areas into the design. A countertop area with an open space underneath can serve as a kitchen desk and a seated cooking area for older guests. An eating nook or a breakfast bar can serve a similar function.
Minimize the Risk of Falls
When remodeling a kitchen with a senior in mind, keep flooring slip-resistant and integrate hand-holds and sturdy ledges wherever possible. Small rugs and floor mats are a significant fall risk, so go for attractive, sturdy flooring that needs no decoration or protection.
Keep Cabinets’ Contents Easy to Remember and Locate
Most homeowners have, at some point, had trouble finding something in the kitchen. Glass doors are an elegant way to display cabinets’ contents while reducing confusion for a forgetful senior.
Put Things in a Better Light
Lighting, throughout the kitchen and in areas like pantries and cabinets, will make a big difference for senior homeowners. During a senior-focused kitchen remodeling project, consider adding motion-sensing or rocker-type light switches for easier use.
Install Easy-to-Reach, Easy-to-Use Appliances
Choose kitchen appliances with easy-to-read, clear displays, with all dials and controls up front. Consider installing a drawer-style dishwasher, as it’s easier to load and unload than a traditional model. If that’s not an option, think about raising the dishwasher to make it easier to use. Keep the microwave at the cabinet or countertop height, not over the range. A drawer-style microwave frees up valuable counter space and makes transitions to and from the countertop easier. Similarly, a wall oven makes baking easier and minimizes back strain.
Install Helpful Hardware
D-style and lever drawer handles are sturdy, yet comfortable grasping points that are easy to use. While sleek, decorative knobs may be more attractive, they might become less usable as a person ages. There are numerous options as far as kitchen cabinet hardware is concerned, and most homeowners can find a set that’s useful and good-looking.
These eight kitchen remodeling tips will help homeowners create spaces that meet their short- and long-term developmental needs. By following this guide, readers can create attractive, functional kitchens now and in the future. Learn more at Fairfax Kitchen Bath or call today to schedule a consultation.