If you have a physical disability, which requires your home to have a certain ease of access, it can be hard to keep your interior design as ‘on theme’ as you’d like. Unfortunately, many of the items used to render homes more disability-friendly leave something to be desired in the aesthetic stakes. However, having a disability in no way means that one must sacrifice one’s pleasure in one’s home. Here are a few tips regarding making your home simultaneously disability-friendly and an interior design triumph.
Look At Your House As A Whole
A lot of what you do depends upon whether you are adapting the home you already live in in order to make accessibility improvements, or buying a new home with such improvements in mind. In the latter case, you can tailor your choice of house to your needs and desires in this respect. Precisely how you do this depends upon the nature of your needs, but tips may include seeking out places with downstairs bathrooms, or wide staircases to accommodate a stairlift without it being too obstructive. Note that a lot can also be changed with building works, so don’t go looking for the ‘finished product’ immediately. Look instead for somewhere that can be adapted to tastefully accommodate your needs. If you are staying in your existing home, then be prepared to think outside the box, and do a little bashing around in the name of interior aesthetics, rather than simply bolting stairlifts, handles etc on to walls and appliances that were never designed for their aesthetic impact. If you study your house as an entirety, rather than focusing on focal points of need, then you’ll quickly find that a lot can be done to improve your home’s accessibility without your disability aids sticking out like a sore thumb and obstructing the theme of your interior design. If you’re working access into the initial design of a home or a modification to a home, then you’ll be amazed at how smoothly and beautifully your home can become disabled friendly!
Work With What You Have
Of course, for some people, doing a total redesign isn’t feasible. Although there are plenty of grants, charities and funding alternatives available which will help you to add the necessary accessibility aids into your home, they don’t usually extend to prettifying them as well. Which means that you’re stuck with a variety of home improvements which may at first sight seem to be a serious detraction from your home’s essential beauty. However, do not despair. Make like the supermodels do, and turn your home’s ‘weirdness’ into a feature. If you have to have ramps, make them the best damn ramps in the state. Give them interesting bannisters, turn them into Japanese-garden style ‘bridges’, line them with LEDs if you want to – whatever floats your boat – but, if you can’t hide them, then dress them up and show them off. If you have to have gripping handles, paint them interesting colors – hell, maybe even frame them. If you have a stairlift, then pimp that ride. Of course, you may be more minimalist in style – which essentially means that in order to make this trick work, you have to alter your existing interior design to fit in with the new improvements (which are not and should not be going anywhere, after all). Nothing is impossible, and you’d be amazed at what a bit of imagination can achieve.
Part of the problem with disability aids is that we are often ashamed of them. We live in a culture which often likes to ‘shame’ those with disabilities, and it’s quite wrong. The perceived ugliness of disability aids is a part of that shaming culture. However, things are changing. With more and more people realizing that people with disabilities need to feel good about themselves just as much as everyone else, more companies are making an effort to produce aids which people feel less embarrassed about using. However, while this is a step in the right direction, it is also important for people to feel less ashamed of their mobility aids, whatever they look like. They’re there for a reason – and that reason is a good one. If you are really having a problem with the way your modified home looks, and none of the above suggestions can help you to love your mobility aids, then perhaps the solution lies within yourself, rather than within your home.
thanks for sharing this advice on decorating your home with a disability. I think it is really good that you bring attention to the fact that you don’t have to make your home look odd just to make it accessible for you. In fact, this is something that I am trying to tell my mother– she is wheelchair bound, and thinks that she needs to change a lot of her home’s design so that she can live comfortably there. However, I think that if she just changes a few important areas so that they are wheelchair accessible, then no one will really notice!
I like your last paragraph. It’s important to be proud no matter what mobility aids you use. The fact that you are still going strong is proof enough that your doing great. Everyone needs a little help so mobility aids shouldn’t be embarrassing.
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