General Kitchen Design Tips

[ ] Concentrate the work centers or triangle: limits needless steps.

[ ] Consider clear floor space and traffic flow when planning island or peninsula.

[ ] Use “easily accessed” storage of all supplies and utensils.

[ ] Use non-glare finishes, especially for older eyes.

[ ] Provide good, adaptable and adjustable lighting throughout the space to make area comfortable for younger and older eyes.

[ ] Use lower wall cabinets or pull down storage to bring more storage into the 15-48″ universal reach range.

[ ] Choose lighter colors on cabinets, counters, floors and wall coverings to benefit eyes that are aging or impaired.

[ ] Plan lower windows to allow more people to see outside, including children and people using wheelchairs.

[ ] Plan pull-out work counters placed at lower than 36″ counter height to accommodate people who are shorter or who sit to work.

[ ] Choose non-skid floors – check slip resistance and rating.

[ ] Design contrasting or raised countertop edges to cue people with visual impairments.

[ ] Hinge cabinet doors to make access easier, and eliminate them when appropriate.

[ ] Use vertical pull-outs in cabinets for better access.

[ ] Consider adjustable height cabinets to bring storage into the universal reach range (15-48″).

[ ] Plan drawers, roll-outs, lazy susan or corner swing out shelves, etc. to provide greater base cabinet access.

[ ] Plan heavy objects at countertop height, using tambour or other appliance garages to enhance storage.

[ ] Use full extension drawer glides for maximum accessibility.

[ ] Use glare-free task lights.

[ ] Design for long spans of continuous countertop to allow for sliding items on counter as opposed to carrying them from work center to center.

[ ] Install timers to insure that any appliance that should not be running will be automatically shut off.

[ ] Limit cabinet door sizes to 18″ and consider bi-fold doors to lessen interference with clear floor space.

[ ] Use tilt down fronts or angled plug molding to access switches or plugs that would otherwise be difficult to reach.

[ ] Use current switching technology, such as pressure pad-operated doors and voice or motion activated lights to free up hands.

[ ] Keep room and appliance controls, outlets and switches at the front of base cabinetry or low enough to be reachable, within the universal reach range (15”-48” a.f.f.).

[ ] Consider touch latch cabinet doors to eliminate the need to grasp knobs or pulls.

[ ] Use wire or architectural pull in lieu of knobs.

[ ] Use adjustable (hydraulic) office type chair to create flexibility in the working height while seated.

[ ] Design a back or garage loading pantry and recycling center to eliminate the need to carry bulky items great distances.

[ ] Design a recycling center that has bins that are easy to remove without great lifting.

[ ] Use rolling carts to transport many items at one time.

[ ] Use pneumatic legs on the table to raise and lower it to accommodate potential usage.

[ ] Use lighted interiors on cabinets to aid in visibility.

[ ] Install repairable counter surfaces.

[ ] Use drawers in lieu of doors to make easier access.

[ ] Install hot water dispenser within reach of seated or shorter users.

[ ] Install standard wall cabinets at a lower height when feasible.

[ ] Provide a variety of countertop heights: 30″, 36″ and 42″ provide comfortable work surfaces for people of varied heights.

[ ] Reinforce base cabinet bottom drawer with solid platform and full extension locking drawer glides to create a step to reach upper cabinets or a microwave.

[ ] Provide an easily-accessed step stool to reach upper cabinets.

[ ] Models available with or without railings, for installation in the toe-kick, on the inside of cabinet doors, or collapsible for easy storage.
[ ] Use shallow pantry cabinets or roll-out shelves to increase accessibility.

[ ] Store heavy objects at the safest and most convenient height.

[ ] Consider a built-in ironing board in base cabinet drawer or wall recess for easy access.

[ ] Store dishes/glasses in wall cabinets placed on the floor with an added toe kick, or in base cabinets fitted to facilitate their storage to make access easy and convenient for everyone.

[ ] Design projects so that they do not look institutional.

[ ] Use levers or touch controls and avoid smooth round control knobs.

[ ] Test a control to see if it can be operated with a closed fist.

[ ] For greatest accuracy plan controls close to the body at elbow height.

[ ] Suggest a vinyl jar opener or a vinyl knob cover to improve grip on knobs.

[ ] Choose controls that do not require sustained holding.

[ ] Be aware of simple assistive devices:
[ ] A wall mounted holder to help open jar lids.
[ ] ‘A potato peeler with a clamp requires just one hand for use.
[ ] Pan holders keep the pan from turning while stirring.
[ ] A pan drainer allows one to drain off hot liquids with one hand.
[ ] A gripper to add to silverware, small objects and handles.

[ ] Select small appliances on a basis of weight, balance and control.

[ ] Ask manufacturers for Braille or oversized raised print (overlays) on appliance controls.

[ ] Keep guard rails around burners of gas and electric appliances.

[ ] Try to choose switches and controls that are audible, large print and easy to read.