Accessible bedroom for wheelchair users

Creating your own barrier-free and wheelchair accessible living space has become increasingly important in recent decades. As the bedroom is also to be seen as a living room, it makes it all the more important that it be wheelchair accessible. Wheelchair users and disabled people spend more time in the bedroom on average than other people. They use the space next to sleeping to regain strength. In addition to a sufficiently large movement area, a suitable bed is important. This makes life in wheelchairs safer and more comfortable.

Accessible is not automatically wheelchair accessible

A barrier-free facility does not necessarily equate to the use of a wheelchair. The keyword ‘barrier-free housing’ sums up all barrier-free rooms that people can use without outside help. This definition covers all disabled persons, whether or not they use a wheelchair. This category also includes the needs of the elderly or children with physical disabilities. The term “wheelchair access” appears in DIN 18024 and 18025, as does accessibility. For wheelchair users, the general barrier-free requirements are supplemented by several aspects. Here, all areas must be wheelchair accessible – in such a way that a person in a wheelchair can do without outside help.

Pay attention to the optimal location, layout and size of the wheelchair accessible bedroom

For people on electric or manual wheelchairs, the bedroom serves as a recreation room. If necessary, you can withdraw here to regenerate your body from the daily demands of everyday life. Like the rest of the apartment, you should choose a bedroom with a simple cut, without corners. In this way, wheelchair users minimize the risk of bumping into bends or injuring themselves in any other way. Passages from bedrooms leading to other areas of the apartment should be at least 80 centimeters wide. Only then can all wheelchair users be able to use them, regardless of the model.

Basically, the bedroom should be spacious – at least 18 square meters when it comes to a single bed. For a wheelchair-accessible bedroom with an electric slatted double bed, which can be found at, a room of more than 20 square meters is much more advantageous. In a simple room, a minimum length of 4.70 meters should be maintained between two opposite walls. It is advisable to arrange the furniture in such a way that people on wheelchairs can freely reach it from all sides. This works best when the headboard is flush against a long wall and the wardrobe is opposite the bed. In a barrier-free bedroom, areas of movement are still crucial. This includes all interconnected, unobstructed floor surfaces on which wheelchair users can move (around) unhindered. These areas of movement along the side of the entrance to the bed shall be at least 150 centimeters deep for wheelchair users. All other traffic areas in the room, especially in front of cupboards and chests of drawers, should be at least 90 centimeters deep, and preferably 120 centimeters deep. Only with these dimensions are wheelchair users allowed to turn freely in the wheelchair room. Under no circumstances should radiators, pipes or doors restrict functional areas of movement.

In principle, it is not specified in which part of the apartment the bedroom is located. However, it is worth choosing a room near the toilets for the bedroom. This way, a wheelchair user does not travel unnecessary distances on the way to the bathroom.

Proper bed, mattress and slatted rack in a wheelchair accessible bedroom

For people in wheelchairs, a comfortable bed goes hand in hand with an anatomically correct lying height. The lying area should be designed in such a way that the wheelchair user can lie down and stand up comfortably. Therefore, the bed should not be higher than 55 centimeters, including all pillows. However, it is individually recommended to use certain aids for upright standing in order to then adopt the correct posture in the wheelchair. In terms of design, an open bed accessible from several sides is more appropriate than a closed bed with additional bars and frames.

On the one hand, such a bed makes it easier for people in wheelchairs to get into the wheelchair. On the other hand, it facilitates the work of nurses and doctors in an emergency. Equipping the sleeping area with all the important things is just as important as the design of the bed. A wheelchair user should be able to operate the light switch from the bed and set the TV program if necessary. It is equally important for him to be able to call the telephone or home emergency number from his bed in certain situations.

Wheelchair users can sleep properly only on an anatomically correct mattress. Preferably on the so-called an allergic mattress that repels dust mites and does not irritate. Mattresses made of latex, cold foam or viscose adapt well to individual needs. Due to their breathable nature, cold foam mattresses are suitable for people who sweat a lot at night. Viscose foam mattresses adapt to the individual shape of the body. On the one hand, they relieve the body, but they return to their original shape with a delay. Latex has a relatively high dead weight, but can be used as a flexible and elastic mattress.

Height-adjustable electric frames are ideal for slatted frames that lie under the mattress. They can be optimally adjusted to the feet and head to lie higher or lower in bed.

Set up light and technology in a wheelchair accessible bedroom

A wheelchair accessible bedroom cannot do without some form of technology. A phone connection should be available as well as a TV connection. A large number of sockets are needed to set up these technical devices. These nests are ideally at least 85 centimeters high and protrude 50 centimeters. In this way, therapy devices can be easily inserted into the sockets. Light switches and other controls should follow the “two senses principle” and stand out in color in the room. This makes it easier for the user to perceive them in a harmonious sleeping environment and trouble-free operation. It makes sense to introduce an acoustic, visual or mechanical function. Indicates that the control has fulfilled its intended function.

The light in the wheelchair accessible bedroom is neither too bright nor too inconspicuous. The room as such is illuminated by several light sources at least 85 centimeters high, so that the risk of tripping is recognized in good time. This reduces the risk of a fall. At the same time, the non-glare light is a good help to avoid getting lost when going to the toilet at night.


Leave a Comment