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How to Make Your Bathroom Accessible and Easy to Use

How to Make Your Bathroom Accessible and Easy to Use

Apria Editorial |

If you or a loved one is struggling with mobility, you may find it difficult to use your bathroom safely and comfortably. You may have trouble getting in and out of the shower, reaching the sink, or using the toilet. You may also worry about slipping, falling, or injuring yourself in the bathroom.

Fortunately, there are many ways to make your bathroom more accessible and easy to use for people with mobility issues. Whether you need a few simple modifications or a complete overhaul, you can create a bathroom that meets your needs and preferences.

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about making your bathroom accessible and easy to use.

What is an ADA accessible bathroom?

An accessible bathroom is a bathroom that is designed or modified to accommodate people with disabilities, especially those with mobility impairments. An ADA-compliant bathroom has a design or features that comply with the American Disabilities Act. A handicap accessible bathroom allows people to use the bathroom independently, safely, and comfortably, without barriers or obstacles.

You may need an accessible bathroom if you have a physical disability that affects your ability to move around, such as arthritis, stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, or amputation. You may also need an accessible bathroom if you have a cognitive disability that affects your memory, judgment, or orientation, such as Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or brain injury.

An ada accessible bathroom can make a big difference in your quality of life. It can help you maintain your dignity, privacy, and hygiene. It can also reduce your risk of falls, injuries, and infections. It can also improve your mental health and well-being by reducing stress, frustration, and depression.

Benefits of an Accessible Bathroom

Making your bathroom accessible and easy to use can have many benefits for you and your family. Some of the benefits are:

Increased safety: An accessible bathroom can prevent accidents and injuries by eliminating hazards such as slippery floors, sharp edges, high thresholds, or narrow doorways. It can also provide support and stability by adding features such as grab bars, handrails, seats, or mats.

Enhanced comfort: A handicap-accessible bathroom can improve your comfort by adjusting the height, width, depth, or angle of the fixtures and furniture to suit your needs. It can also provide more space and flexibility by removing unnecessary clutter or adding storage options.

Improved functionality: An accessible bathroom layout can make it easier for you to perform daily tasks such as bathing, grooming, or toileting. It can also provide more convenience and accessibility by adding features such as handheld showerheads, lever faucets, raised toilets, or bidets.

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Features of an Accessible Bathroom

The distinctive features of an accessible bathroom set it apart from standard designs. Grab bars are installed to offer support and assist with transitions, while wide doorways of at least 32 inches accommodate wheelchairs. Roll-in showers, devoid of curbs, allow for direct access, and are often equipped with adjustable, handheld showerheads for added convenience.

Higher toilet seats ease the process of sitting and standing, and non-slip flooring is a must to prevent falls in wet conditions. Moreover, these bathrooms are designed with ample clear floor space to ensure there is sufficient room for maneuvering a wheelchair or walker.

Here is a checklist for accessible bathroom features:

  • A wide and level entry door that can accommodate a wheelchair or walker
  • A non-slip and easy-to-clean floor that provides traction and stability
  • A spacious and clear floor area that allows for maneuvering and turning
  • A wall-mounted or pedestal sink that has enough clearance underneath for a wheelchair or stool
  • A single-lever or touchless faucet that is easy to operate and adjust
  • A mirror that is tilted or adjustable to suit different heights and angles
  • A toilet that is at an appropriate height and has grab bars or a toilet seat riser for support
  • A shower or bathtub that has a low threshold or roll-in access, a handheld showerhead, a seat or bench, and grab bars or rails for safety
  • A storage cabinet or shelf that is within reach and has easy-to-open doors or drawers
  • A lighting system that is bright, even, and glare-free
  • A ventilation system that is effective, quiet, and moisture-resistant

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How to plan and design an accessible bathroom

Planning and designing an accessible bathroom layout can be a complex and costly project, but it can also be rewarding and satisfying. Here are some steps to help you get started:

  1. Assess your current and future needs by considering your physical abilities, limitations, preferences, and goals
  2. Consult with an occupational therapist, a certified aging-in-place specialist, or a licensed contractor who has experience in accessibility design
  3. Research the local building codes, regulations, and standards that apply to your project
  4. Measure your existing bathroom dimensions and layout, and sketch out some possible options for the new design
  5. Choose the materials, fixtures, colors, and styles that suit your taste, budget, and needs
  6. Hire a reputable and qualified contractor who can execute your plan with quality and efficiency.

Remember that throughout this process, it’s important to adhere to the guidelines set out by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This will help ensure that the bathroom will be accessible to all users.

Cost Implications of accessible bathroom remodel

The cost of making a bathroom accessible can vary greatly. For minor adjustments, such as installing grab bars or a raised toilet seat, the expense can be relatively low, often under $500. More extensive changes, like replacing fixtures or adding a roll-in shower, might require a more substantial investment, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. If a complete bathroom remodel is necessary, especially if structural changes are involved, costs can escalate to $10,000 or more. Cost will also vary depending on whether it needs to be a wheelchair-accessible bathroom or not.

Creating an accessible bathroom

Building an ADA-accessible bathroom is a must for anyone with mobility challenges. With the right planning, professional advice, and resources, transforming a standard bathroom into an accessible one is an investment in both the present and the future, ensuring that the needs of all users are met with dignity and respect.


What does an accessible bathroom mean?
An accessible bathroom is designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities, ensuring that they can use the facilities safely and independently. It involves modifications or designs that meet the needs of people with a range of disabilities, ensuring that the facilities are within easy reach, and can be used without assistance. This includes features such as grab bars, wide doorways, wheelchair-accessible sinks, and showers, as well as non-slip floors.

How do I make my bathroom ADA accessible?
To make your bathroom ADA accessible, you should follow the guidelines provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This includes:

  • Ensuring the bathroom door is at least 32 inches wide for wheelchair access.
  • Installing grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower or tub.
  • Providing a wheelchair-accessible sink and vanity with clear space underneath.
  • Ensuring there is enough turning space for a wheelchair, typically a 60-inch diameter.
  • Having a roll-in shower or a tub with a transfer seat.
  • Mounting accessories, such as towel bars and toilet paper holders, within reach from the toilet and shower.
  • Using lever handles for faucets and doors instead of knobs.

What qualifies as an accessible bathroom?
An accessible bathroom is designed to be used by individuals with disabilities or limited mobility. It must provide sufficient space for maneuverability, typically including features such as wide doorways, grab bars, roll-in showers or tubs with seats, higher toilet seats, lever-operated faucets, and non-slip flooring.

How wide does a bathroom door need to be for wheelchair access?
According to the ADA, a bathroom door should be at least 32 inches wide when the door is open to 90 degrees, to allow wheelchair access.

What are the ADA requirements for a shower in an accessible bathroom?
An ADA-compliant shower can either be a roll-in shower with no curb or a transfer shower with a small curb. Roll-in showers should have a minimum inside dimension of 60 inches by 30 inches. Transfer showers should be 36 inches by 36 inches. Both need grab bars, a seat, and a handheld shower unit.

Do accessible bathrooms require special toilets?
Yes, accessible bathrooms often require toilets that have a seat height typically between 17 to 19 inches from the floor, which makes sitting down and standing up easier for many people with mobility issues. Toilets should also be surrounded by grab bars for additional support.

What are the requirements for sinks in an accessible bathroom?
An accessible sink should have no cabinetry underneath to allow space for a wheelchair to roll under it. The rim of the sink should be no higher than 34 inches above the floor, and the space underneath the sink should be at least 27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 11 to 25 inches deep. Faucets should be operable with one hand and not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist.

Are there specific lighting requirements for an accessible bathroom?
While the ADA doesn't specify lighting levels, it is important that accessible bathrooms have ample lighting to accommodate users with low vision. Controls for lighting should be easily reachable and operable by individuals with disabilities.

As a leading supplier of durable and home medical equipment (DME and HME), ApriaHome sources and distributes a wide range of treatment solutions, including assistive mobility equipment and solutions.

We're here to support you as you work toward your improved health and well-being. We strive to meet your ever-evolving healthcare requirements with individualized attention and premium quality treatment solutions.

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Material in this newsletter is only: (1) provided for general health education and informational purposes, and to provide references to other resources; it may not apply to you as an individual. While Apria believes that the information provided through this communication is accurate and reliable, Apria cannot and does not make any such guarantee. It is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice, evaluation, diagnosis, services or treatment (collectively, "medical treatment"). Please see your healthcare provider for medical treatment related to you and your specific health condition(s). Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read on or accessed through this website. Reading this newsletter should not be construed to mean that you have a healthcare provider/patient relationship with Apria.