How to Design a Functional Kitchen for Those with Limited Mobility

The kitchen is the most common place for you, your family, and friends to gather and socialize. Unfortunately, many kitchens are not built to accommodate those with limited mobility, making it difficult for these individuals to reach tall cabinets, maneuver around appliances, open heavy doors on cabinets or appliances, etc. Whether your loved one is moving into your house or aging in place, use the tips below to modernize the kitchen space to accommodate their needs.

Tips for Designing a Kitchen to Accommodate Those with Limited Mobility


  • Install a shallow sink: this will make it easier to use the sink by requiring less mobility to put items in and take them out.
  • Adjust counter height: this may require more carpentry work but will increase the usability of the counter depending on the height and mobility of your loved one.
  • Install mats near appliances and sink: this will reduce the risk of falling due to slippery floors.
  • Install levers on cabinets: changing out knobs and installing levers on cabinets will allow your loved one to open and close cabinet doors with minimal effort.
  • Install drawer-style appliances: this will make it easier to open appliances because it means not having to do any lifting. An example is a drawer-style dishwasher.
  • Install a lever-handle or hands-free faucet: this will allow someone to use the faucet with minimal effort or movement.
  • Add pullout shelving to cabinets: this will alleviate difficulty opening cabinets.

Making accommodations in the kitchen may require major design changes including moving the kitchen to the first floor or redesigning the layout to accommodate a wheelchair. Whatever the change is, you need to plan ahead and think about what will be the best for your loved one not only today but also in the years ahead. Follow the tips outlined above and review what is ADA-compliant to get your or your loved one’s kitchen prepped and ready for use.

For information about design costs check out our blog “Aging in Place: Costs for Remodeling Your House”.