Accessible Home Features

This page lists 134 accessible home features. Homes must include most or all of these features to be considered universally accessible.

Parking Areas

These universal design features apply to single-family and multi-family residences with parking for privately-owned vehicles.

IDFeature
1.1Enclosed parking area (e.g., a garage).
1.2Entrance height between 8-9 feet.
1.3Remote-controlled powered door opener.
1.4Asphalt or concrete surface without any cracks, gaps, or bumps.
1.5Slope of no more than 1:50 (1.15º) in any direction.
1.6Width of usable parking space no less than 11.5 feet.
1.7Length of usable parking space no less than 16 feet.
1.8Multiple light fixtures with timer or motion-activated switches.

Routes to Entrances

These universal design features are about the pathway(s) between the parking area(s) and the entrance(s) into the home.

IDFeature
2.1No steps to access the front entrance and the entrance closest to parking (if different).
2.2Surfaces along route are only: asphalt, smooth concrete, textured or aggregate concrete, wood decking, composite decking, and/or textured/slip-resistant metal.
2.3Well-maintained surfaces without cracks, gaps, or bumps.
2.4Width no less than 36 inches at the narrow-most part.
2.5Running slope no greater than 1:20 (2.86º).
2.6Cross slope no greater than 1:50 (1.15º).
2.7Lighting covers the entire route.
2.8Lighting on a timer or motion-activated switch.

Entrances and Landings

These universal design features address the elements of entrances and the areas immediately outside of a doorway.

IDFeature
3.1Entrance has no steps.
3.2Doorway width no less than 36 inches.
3.3Threshold height no more than 0.5 inches.
3.4Door hardware operable with one hand and does not require pinching or grasping to use (e.g., lever handle, electronic lock).
3.5Landing area no less than 5×5 feet.
3.6Landing area covered from weather.
3.7Landing area slopes no more than 1:50 (1.15º) in any direction.
3.8Outside shelf or bench by the door.
3.9Lighting clearly illuminates door handle and keyhole.
3.10Lighting activated by a timer or motion sensors.
3.11House/unit numbers are high contrast and easy to see at all times.

Interior Pathways

These universal design features apply to all hallways and pathways throughout the home, plus indoor and outdoor living areas.

IDFeature
4.1No steps to access any area inside home.
4.2No steps to access outside spaces (e.g., decks, porches, patios).
LAYOUT
4.3Hallway widths and pathway widths around furniture no less than 36 inches at narrow-most points.
4.4Exterior doorway widths no less than 36 inches, and interior doorway widths no less than 32 inches.
MOVING BETWEEN SPACES
4.5Flush interior thresholds and transitions between rooms.
4.6Thresholds between inside/outside spaces no higher than 0.5 inches.
4.7Door hardware operable with one hand and does not require pinching or grasping to use (e.g., lever handles, push-pull-rotate knobs).
4.8Color and texture contrast used for transitions between spaces.
LIGHTING
4.9Even lighting (natural & artificial) that minimizes shadows and glare.
4.10Light switches placed at both ends of hallways and pathways.
FLOORING
4.11Slip-resistant, trip-resistant, and durable flooring. (Trip-resistant flooring can include carpet recessed into surrounding floor.)

Multi-Story Access

While one-story living is ideal for universal design, elevators that provide access to every floor are the solution for multi-story homes.

IDFeature
5.1Single-story construction.
-OR-
5.2Elevator access to any floor accessible by stairs.
…WITH THE FOLLOWING FEATURES FOR THE STAIRS:
5.3Stair tread width ≥ 36in.
5.4Stair tread depth ≥ 11in.
5.5Stair height between 4-7in.
5.6Enclosed stair risers (the backs of steps).
5.7Slip-resistant tread surfaces.
5.8Contrasting colors and textures on tread edges and risers.
5.9Handrails on both sides of stairs, extending beyond top/bottom step, and continuing around curves.
5.10≥ 48x48in landing area at top and bottom of stairs.
5.11Power outlets at top and bottom of stairs.
5.12Light switches at top and bottom of stairs.
5.13Overhead lighting and stair lighting (low & close to steps).

Controls & Security

These universal design features apply to the inner workings of a home that create comfort, ease-of-use, safety, and security.

IDFeature
6.1Audible and visual doorbell alert(s).
6.2Peepholes (2) in door -or- sidelights at front door.
6.3Light switches installed in every common space, and wired to activate [some] power outlets.
6.4Light switches: toggle, rocker, pushpad, or pushbutton style.
6.5Light switches: aligned with door handle height.
6.6Outlets/ports installed no less than 16 inches from the floor (measured to bottom edge of cover plate).
6.7Window controls and locks no higher than 48 inches from the floor.
6.8HVAC controls between 36 and 48 inches from the floor.
6.9HVAC controls easy to read, backlit, without needing pinching or grasping to operate.
6.10HVAC filter access less than 48 inches from the floor.
6.11Circuit breakers on the main floor, and mounted so the topmost option is no higher than 48 inches from the floor.
6.12Shut-off valves for water and gas (if applicable) unobstructed and no higher than 48 inches from the floor.
6.13Backup/redundant power
6.14Audible and visual alerts for smoke detection, hardwired with battery backup.
6.15Audible and visual alerts for carbon monoxide detection, hardwired with battery backup.

Bedrooms

These universal design features are all about designing bedrooms that are simple & functional for relaxation, sleep, and romance.

IDFeature
7.1At least one bedroom on the main floor.
7.2All bedrooms accessible without steps (i.e., if on another floor, elevator access exists).
7.3Doorway width no less than 32 inches.
7.4Floor space provides at least 32 inches on at least one side of bed and at least 32 inches at the foot of bed.
7.5Walk-in -or- reach-in closet with a doorway of no less than 32 inches, interior lighting, and storage (and/or a clothes rod) no more than 48 inches from floor.
7.6Slip-resistant, trip-resistant, and durable flooring. (Trip-resistant flooring can include carpet recessed into surrounding floor.)
7.7Color and texture contrast is used for transitions between spaces.

Bathrooms

These universal design features are about functional bathrooms, specifically for personal grooming, showering, & toilet hygiene.

IDFeature
8.1At least one full bathroom on the main floor.
8.2All bathrooms accessible without steps (i.e., if on another floor, elevator access exists).
8.3Doorway width no less than 32 inches.
8.4Floor space of at least 5×5 feet, unobstructed by open door.
8.5At least one sink/vanity with clearance underneath for seated access (can include closed cabinetry with flipper doors).
8.6Varied sink heights, if multiple sinks are used.
8.7Lever, push-button, or electronic faucet controls at sink.
8.8Insulated plumbing underneath sink.
8.9Mirror that’s visible for anyone seated or standing.
8.10Walk-in shower in every full bathroom, without any step(s) or curb, and open floor space of no less than 48×48 inches -or- 30×60 inches (open access on the longer side).
8.11Blocking (reinforcement) inside shower walls for possible installation of grab bars and/or a seat.
8.12Handheld showerhead with height-adjustable wall mount.
8.13Toilet area that provides at least 32 inches of floor space on one side, 32 inches of floor space in front, and toilet installation 16-18 inches from a side wall to the midline of the bowl.
8.14Blocking (reinforcement) inside walls around toilet area for possible installation of grab bars.
8.15Lighting over shower, at the sink/vanity, and over toilet area.
8.16At least 50% of storage between 18 and 48 inches from the floor.
8.17Towel racks and/or hooks no more than 48 inches from the floor.
8.18Slip-resistant and durable flooring.
8.19Color and texture contrast used for transitions between spaces.

Kitchens

Lots of detail goes into a universally-designed kitchen. These are the features that provide easy access and use for everyone.

IDFeature
9.1Kitchen and food storage areas accessible without steps.
9.2Doorway widths no less than 32 inches -or- if open floor plan, no less than 32 inches of passable width at narrow-most point.
COUNTERS
9.3Counter spaces at various heights.
9.4Heat-resistant counter surface(s).
9.5Clearance underneath counter for seated access (can include closed cabinetry with flipper doors).
STORAGE
9.6More than 50% of shelving between 18 and 48 inches from the floor.
9.7Pull-down shelving for any storage over 60 inches from the floor.
9.8Pull-out shelving or drawers where helpful.
9.9Cabinet hardware usable one-handed & without the need for grip strength.
LAYOUT
9.10At least 48 inches of floor space in front of any appliance and counter.
9.1160-inch turning radius in any work area.
9.12Kitchen adjacent to eating area.
9.13Some power outlets installed near front of counters.
SINK
9.14Lever, push-button, or electronic faucet controls.
9.15Pull-out spray faucet -or- faucet with side spray.
9.16Faucet mounted at side of sink (vs. the rear).
9.17Clearance underneath sink for seated access (can include closed cabinetry with flipper doors).
9.18Garbage disposal switch mounted near front of counter.
9.19Offset rear drain.
9.20Insulated and/or covered plumbing.
COOKTOPS & OVENS
9.21Induction cooktop with front or side-mount controls.
9.22Cooktop installed in-counter with clearance underneath for seated access (can include closed cabinetry with flipper doors).
9.23Vent/hood controls installed near front of counter.
9.24Wall oven with side-swing door, bottom shelf between 36 and 42 inches from floor.
9.25Microwave on counter -or- in-wall or cabinet, inside surface between 36 and 42 inches from floor.
REFRIGERATOR
9.26Refrigerator and freezer: drawers and/or adjustable, pull-out shelving.
DISHWASHER
9.27Standard dishwasher, raised installation. -and/or-
9.28Drawer dishwasher, installed just below counter.
FLOORING
9.29Slip-resistant and durable flooring.
9.30Color and texture contrast used for transitions between spaces.
LIGHTING
9.31Task lighting over each workspace.
9.32Ambient lighting over all eating areas.

Laundry

These universal design features will help eliminate the need to wear dirty clothes because laundry will be easy to manage.

IDFeature
10.1Laundry area located adjacent to master bedroom.
10.2Laundry area accessible without steps.
10.3Entrance width no less than 32 inches.
MACHINE(S)
10.4Side-by-side front-load washer and dryer -or- a combo washer/dryer (not a stacked unitized unit).
10.5Machine(s) sitting on a pedestal or a raised platform.
LAYOUT
10.6Washer & dryer hookups: washer on left, dryer on right.
10.7At least 48 inches of floor space in front of machine(s).
10.860-inch turning radius, if laundry area is in a room (not in a closet).
OTHER
10.9Slip-resistant and durable flooring.
10.10Folding area for clothes.