We don’t need much of an excuse to talk about getting a good night’s sleep, so in honour of National Bed Month (March), and the fact that it’s World Sleep Day on 19th March, we look at the key things to consider when designing an accessible bedroom.
In the UK today, there are currently 14.1 million disabled people and 1.2 million wheelchair users. 365,000 disabled people currently say their home does not meet their needs, and from our experience enabling disabled people through good design in their homes, we know that getting the design of bedrooms right is a crucial element.
We recently shared the latest #DIYSOS Big Build, which once again demonstrated how adaptations can be made to homes to make them accessible for individuals and their families. In this particular episode, the master bedroom was modernised, and a specially adapted bed and hoist installed, giving the client the independence to move around the room on her own.
In this article, we look at some of the ways a bedroom can be designed to make it fully accessible for a person living with a disability.
The ideal location for an accessible bedroom is the ground floor. If your home does not have a bedroom on the ground floor, there are ways to create one, including converting existing ground floor rooms or, where possible, adding an extension to the existing property.
An example of this can be seen in a France + Associate project, where we are constructing a new single storey extension to accommodate a specialist bedroom and bathroom for a child with cerebral palsy.
Where it might not be possible to add an extension to a home, other solutions are available such as the installation of ramps, stairlifts or even in-home lifts to enable access throughout the entire home.
Once the location for the accessible bedroom has been agreed, the next most important consideration is access to the room itself. The bedroom entrance should be wide enough for wheelchair entry and suitable for pulls and grab rails.
Once inside the bedroom, there should be a 1500mm turning circle, clear of door swing and a 1100mm transfer space to each side of a double bed or one side of a single bed. We usually stipulate a bedroom to be at least 18 sqm in size, and no narrower than 3.6 metres, for a wheelchair user. Average bedrooms in comparison are at the most 12 sqm – much less in “new build” homes. For wheelchair users, this room should be on the ground floor of their home, to allow for easier access but also to rapidly escape in the event of an emergency.
Ceiling hoists should also be included, or the ceiling made structurally sound for future hoist installations.
The flooring in an accessible home should improve the accessibility and safety for individuals who use wheelchairs and other walking aids to move around. In most cases, we would advise non-slip vinyl flooring, however we appreciate that some people prefer the warmth and comfort of carpet, particularly in a bedroom. In these instances, commercial carpet tiles or a very low pile carpet may be the solution as they are extremely durable (wheelchairs are heavy and leave track marks).
The furniture in an accessible bedroom is considered at the design stage of the process to ensure it meets the needs of the client. Custom height wardrobes and accessible hanging, shelving and drawers can all be installed without compromising on style, with foot operated doors and control switches installed to enable a disabled person to move around and use the room independently where required.
Obviously, the most important piece of furniture in the bedroom is the bed. Again, from the very start of the design process, the location and positioning of the bed will be considered to ensure there is space for a wheelchair to manoeuvre and for a client to transfer. Electric adjustable beds, bed rails and grab bars can all be included in the design of a bedroom to ensure a good night’s rest.
En-suite Bathroom or wet room
Where possible, it is advisable to include an en-suite bathroom or wet room into the design of an accessible bedroom, that can be accessed using the hoist system.
The bathroom space needs to be big enough to accommodate a wheelchair user and, in some cases, their carer(s). It also needs to be a safe space for bathing, with the required specialist features and equipment included.
(We discuss these in our previous article, ‘Accessible Bathrooms’).
3d Architectural Visualisation
At France + Associates, we have the latest in 3D technology and software, that enhances the architectural services available to our clients and their families. 3D architectural visualisation can be used at the design stage to show a client how their home and rooms will look once the build is complete. This unique perspective even allows us to show clients where furniture, such as beds and wardrobes will be so you can be sure the room meets your requirements.
In the video above, the client’s family were able to see the proposed design for their child’s bedroom and en-suite bathroom at the design stage. In this particular project, the home is being adapted to make it fully accessible for a child who suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy, profound and multiple disabilities (PMLD) and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) following a negligent delivery at birth.
At France + Associates, we are dedicated to designing homes that are accessible, functional and safe for clients, without compromising on style.
For more information, please contact us on 01484 960560 or email@example.com.
Doc M of the Building Regulations
For more information, contact us on
01484 960560 or email us +
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