Episode 89: Bathroom Design Essentials- Accessibility and Bathrooms

In this episode of the Your Forever Home podcast Frances covers off the topic of creating a bathroom that is accessible for when you get older, or are less able-bodied. She outlines design elements that can be incorporated now that will make a big difference later on, and some that can simply be provisioned for and installed later. Through her passion for creating ‘Future Proof’ homes, this is another area that adds to the liveability of your home well into the future.


Bathroom Accessibility

Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are the most used space in our home and one of the most difficult and dangerous places for elderly home owners. They are an essential part of your daily routine, yet they hold so many challenges and pose so many risks. Fortunately, there are a range of practical bathroom alterations that will make it safer and easier to use.  

Walk in shower-step free 

A walk in shower, without any hurdles upon entry makes a lot of sense. One option is having a curb-less shower entry. It looks great and is also a lot more accessible as they prevent bathroom accidents – such as tripping over the curb while getting in and out of the shower. 

Add a built-in shower seat 

Standing in the shower for long periods of time can be difficult for some people, so a built-in shower seat can help give more stability. However, if it’s not within your budget or you don’t like how it looks, you might want to consider having a waterproof stool that can be moved in and out when needed.

Place grab bars in the shower and near the toilet 

Grab bars are another excellent feature as they provide good stability and support. You don’t necessarily have to install them right away. This is something that you can provision for by pre-determining the length and position of the bars in your bathroom. 

Install an adjustable shower on a rail with a handheld showerhead 

This enables you to move the showerhead up and down the rail, giving you more options to suit your needs. It is ideal in a family household as it serves many different purposes.  

  • A tall person can have the showerhead longer and higher up on the rail.  
  • Kids can bring the shower head down and lower on the rails.  
  • Can be used in cleaning the actual shower. 
  • Can be used to wash pets. 
  • And for when you are older, you can easily sit on the shower seat and move the handheld shower up and down to reach you

Select mixer/lever taps for basin and shower for easier operation 

Knobs can be difficult to turn when you have arthritis, so having a mixer tap with a lever is easier to use when turning the shower on and adjusting the temperature  

Cavity sliding doors for ease of opening and closing 

It enables you to have more space in the actual room and it’s essential for increased accessibility – particularly if you are in a wheelchair or have a walker. Not only are you creating a bigger thoroughfare for entry, it is also easier to  maneuver around in within the space. 


  • Ideally, you need a turning radius of around 150 centimeters 
  • The floor surfaces need to be flush so you can easily roll in and out of the space 
  • Doorways should beat 900mm 

Mount the basin close to the edge of the vanity for easier use 

  •  It is also easier to access if it’s at one end. 

Select easy-glide or soft close drawers for the vanity 

Make sure that your hardware is good quality so the drawers glide easily 

Select higher than standard toilets (becoming more and more common) 

Higher toilets are now becoming more popular as they allow you to get up and down with ease. I anticipate that this will soon become the new standard. 

Place toilet min 45cm from any walls, shower screen or bath. 

30 or 40 cm is the norm but 45cm is better so that you’ve got that extra space for maneuvering and accessibility.

Services at White Pebble Interiors

Beautiful Bathroom Design Made Easy Online Course

Ready to design and create your own beautiful bathroom? Get all the interior designer insider knowledge in the Beautiful Bathroom Design Made Easy Online Course. With 21 self-paced modules, this online course allows you to create your dream bathroom. Find out more here.

Book a Chat   

If you’re thinking about renovating or creating a new bathroom,Frances would love to hear from you. You can contact Frances by booking a 15 minute chatwith her.   

Join the “Renovating and Building your Forever Home Facebook Group   

Want to be inspired to create a home you truly love? One that is future proof and adaptable as your family’s needs change? Join our exclusive (but inclusive) Renovating and Building Your Forever Home Facebook Group.

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