Creating a better home entrance for everyone
Home entrances are one of the most important parts of a home, but they can also be one of the most challenging areas to make accessible, safe, and easy to use. The traditional design of front and garage doors are difficult for people with a variety of disabilities to successfully navigate.
Home entrances have several important functions:
- Allow residents to enter and exit the home.
- Are essential for safety at home, allowing a way to evacuate in emergencies.
- Welcome visitors to a home.
- Provide a route for items to be brought into and out of the home, such a moving, deliveries, or construction work
Here are some common issues people have with home entrances:
- People with mobility limitations (such as arthritis in hips or knees), back problems, or poor balance or endurance struggle with the steps leading up to most home entrances and the lack of space to sit near entrances.
- People with visual impairments (low vision or blind) and people with cognitive impairments struggle with the lack of lighting at home entrance spaces.
- People with limitations in their hand use from arthritis struggle to use key easily.
- People using walkers and canes struggle to safely navigate through doorways. Check out these posts on designing homes for people who use walkers and canes.
Here are 4 key ideas to start creating better home entrances:
- Ensure there is enough space in front of doors for a walker or person with a caregiver assisting them.
- Use zero-step entrances (more info here), ramps, or large steps to reach the door.
- Increase lighting at the door.
- Try a magnetic door stop.
Needs more in-depth information and ideas?
Try our 5 page pdf with more ideas and recommendations specific to creating home entrances that are easy for everyone to use. Content includes ideas for general design of entrances both inside and outside, ideas for ramps/steps/stairs, lightening techniques, and common barriers to remove or avoid. Ideas are useful for people with mobility, visual, and cognitive impairments, as well as parents of young children and and older adults.
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