You Don’t Have to Sacrifice Style to Design an ADA Compliant Bathroom!
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides requirements for business owners and others who might need to create a safe, accessible space for individuals with disabilities. Despite the precise nature of these requirements, you don’t have to toss out aesthetics to make room for compliance! Here are a few ways you can create a stylish and attractive bathroom while satisfying ADA design criteria.
Form Follows Function: Let Accessibility Lead Aesthetics
At the heart of any good design is an understanding of the user’s needs. In an ADA compliant bathroom, this means putting the accessibility requirements at the forefront so that individuals with disabilities can easily use it. Start by addressing the must-haves outlined by the act. Once you’ve got good infrastructure, you can start brainstorming about how to make it look good.
In this case, the axiom “form follows function” means that your aesthetic choices should be complementary and not get in the way of accessibility. For example, ADA guidelines require that mirrors be mounted no more than 40 inches above the floor. If you mount your mirror at the appropriate height but cover the lower half of the mirror with tall countertop décor, it defeats the purpose of the guidelines.
Compliance and Decor Working Together
Although the layout of an ADA bathroom differs from that of a bathroom geared toward those who do not have disabilities, they can be decorated in much the same way. Things like paint, wallpaper, window shades, counter materials, etc. can easily be used to create a certain look or feel without affecting the room’s compliance. Just make sure you check for any relevant guidelines before making any decisions.
As you decorate, remember to keep your users in mind and double-check for unintended issues. You may not think twice about how high the artwork is hung, but a person in a wheelchair might!
Using Trends to Your Advantage
A convenient element of accessible design is that it’s very compatible with current interior design trends. In recent years, bathroom design has trended toward a very open, minimalist industrial style that works quite well with ADA guidelines.
Metal hardware and off-the-floor storage are in vogue as well as compliant. Things like stainless steel grab bars, shower stalls with seats, and clean spacious floor plans meet ADA requirements while creating an atmosphere of simple contemporary luxury.
Update Old, Non-Compliant Tubs or Showers
Updating an existing bathroom to an ADA compliant one gives you a great opportunity to give old tubs and showers a much-needed facelift. Rather than tearing out old fixtures and re-routing plumbing, however, you might want to consider using ADA shower enclosures like AccessaBath systems from American Bath Enterprises, Inc.
AccessaBath showers feature barrier-free wheelchair access, pressure-balanced valves, handheld shower wands, steel grab bars, comfortable folding shower seats, and easy-to-clean acrylic surfaces. Plus, they can be customized to fit over your existing outdated tub or shower and utilize plumbing and fixtures as-is.
For more information about AccessaBath acrylic shower systems and ADA compliant bathroom design, call the experts at American Bath Enterprises, Inc. today at (888) 228-4925.