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How to Make Your Home Accessible

  • Published: 2009-07-15 (Rev. 2016-04-06) - Contact: georgelarson
  • Synopsis: Homes that are handicapped accessible do not isolate your friends or family in wheelchairs.

Main Document

"The bathroom door can be hinged to swing out rather than in to give a person using a wheelchair enough room to shut the door when inside the room."

A disability accessible home, or your home being "visitable", is defined as "anyone is able to enter and use locations of a home necessary for a visit or short stay".

Make Your Home Visitable

This means that your home's architecture is disabled accessible does not isolate your friends or family in wheelchairs, but welcomes them and all guests.

Welcome all of your guests, even if they use wheelchairs, walkers, or have some other mobility impairment such as stiffness, weakness or poor balance. When you take a few steps to change key areas of your house your mobility limited guests will not be isolated by your home's architecture.

There are three essential areas of your home that need changes to make it visitable.

  • One entrance needs to have zero steps.
  • Entry and bathroom doors (and any door in between) need to have at least 32" for clear passage.
  • At least a half bath (preferably a full bath) on the main floor.

Universal Design Benefits

What are the benefits of making your home more disability accessible and visitable, presently called Universal Design

  • Your home welcomes everyone. Having a card party, holiday gathering, or special occasion? Think of those who can not attend because of the inconvenience of entering your home or using necessary facilities.
  • If a family member develops a disability though illness, accident or aging the person, and you, will be able to remain in your existing home, rather than having to move to another house or a nursing home.
  • Everyone will find it easier to bring in baby strollers, grocery carts, heavy furniture, etc.
  • Visitable homes welcome aging parents and provide easy use and convenience for you.
  • Visitable homes enhance the sale and resale of your home.
  • Imagine how many steps you can avoid in a day if you had a ramp. All these changes are convenient for the homeowner, too.

Disability Accessible Features in a Home

  • A ramp can be constructed on a door where access, once in the door, will be the most convenient.
  • The bathroom door can be hinged to swing out rather than in to give a person using a wheelchair enough room to shut the door when inside the room.
  • There is usually enough wall space to change out your entry and interior doors for a wider door.

If you want to make your home more 'visitable' it takes a little money and elbow grease. The benefit will not just be for all your guests but the satisfaction for yourself that you can now welcome everyone to your disabled accessible home.

Reference: Toni Grundstrom (pen name - georgelarson) has been a freelance writer and telecommuter for over 17 years - My goal is to continue to succeed in life while combating MS. I am using my 18 years of marketing experience and writing background to write articles on marketing, disability, and activities I enjoy and interest me. I design and build stained glass creations including stepping stones, garden art, hanging panels and windows for your home.


  1. Federal Court Rules Properties Must Be Accessible to People with Disabilities Before Occupancy - Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
  2. Home Elevators for the Elderly and People with a Disability - Robert H Harris
  3. Affordable, Accessible & Appropriate Housing for People with Disabilities - National Council on Disability


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