Living Spaces

After you ensure your bathroom and bedrooms are accessible, you can plan to increase flexibility in your living, dining and other home spaces.

Furniture Choice Back to Top

A living room with an open floor plan, featuring a long couch and ample space for circulation Consider both furniture choice and room layout to maximize accessibility.
Consider both furniture choice and room layout to maximize accessibility.

Choose furniture that you can transfer to and from, particularly if you are semi-ambulatory. Firmer cushions and solid, wide arm rests on sofas and chairs are preferred so that you can more easily push off when standing. Likewise, if a family member or caregiver is most frequently assisting or transferring you, choose furniture with lower or higher elevations to ease the transitions. Furniture risers are an inexpensive way to increase the height of a bed or sofa.

When it comes to choosing textiles for your furniture, avoid patterns if you have a vision impairment. Remember also that leather is easier to slide over, and that velvet and suede will help you avoid slipping down if you find maintaining a seated position difficult.

For wheelchair users, consider what type of transfer you prefer and choose seating accordingly. For example, a sliding board transfer may mean it is easier to transfer to a sofa with no armrest. If you are uncertain, an occupational therapist can help determine the best transfer for you and recommend appropriate seating options.

Other Considerations Back to Top

Avoid using area rugs if possible. If necessary, choose large rugs with low pile. Secure the edges well with double-sided tape so mobility devices can easily navigate the change in surface levels. Hard-surface flooring is always preferred.

Ensure there is an end table near your favourite chair with enough room for necessities, such as water, phone and your remote control. This will help you avoid the need to get up frequently.

Avoid long curtains that puddle on the floor, as these may create a tripping hazard. Blinds can be difficult to operate. Shutters can be a good option and are easiest to open and close if you have impaired hand or arm use.

Aim to maximize floor space by considering wall-mounted or floating furniture, and a wall-mounted television.