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Features of a Great ADA Bathroom Layout

Every ADA-compliant bathroom design inevitably comes down to measurements and sizing, but it’s the intention behind the “universal” features that should inspire the design. Here are the guiding principles and features that make for a great overall ADA bathroom layout.

Single Lever Handles

A single-handle, lever-type faucet is easier to operate than a knob (or two) that require twisting motion and a stronger grip. The same principle applies to all latches and handles in the bathroom, such as cabinets, doors, and flushing toilets. Every handle should require only one hand and a minimum amount of pressure to operate.

Electronic controls, push buttons, and touchless motion-sensor controls can also provide a convenient and accessible experience.

Short Reach Distances

Where you position the controls to each bathroom fixture is just as important as how they’re operated. 

Make sure bathtub and shower controls are closer to the entry side, where they’re easily reached from outside the tub or shower. A wall-mounted handheld showerhead is ideal so that seated users can easily bring the water closer and reposition the shower head rather than their bodies. Mounting the showerhead on a slide bar makes it more accessible for persons of any height.

All needed features and accessories should be within arm’s reach (or less) of a person seated on the toilet. Mirror cabinets are often less reachable than lower cabinets that are level with the sink. However, it’s best to avoid cabinets beneath the sink itself, as open space for a seated user’s knees should allow for easy seated operation of the sink.

Extra Room to Maneuver

An ADA bathroom layout needs to accommodate not only single, standing users but those seated in mobility devices and those that will have a helper with them in the room.  Ample width in doorways and open floor space should be provided for persons of all heights and sizes to maneuver in the room, with or without a wheelchair, while accessing all accessible bathroom features. A door that swings outward will leave more open space inside the room.

ADA roll-in showers are larger than conventional showers for the same reason. These accessible designs allow users to wheel in and out (with a low or absent threshold) and also turn around while in the shower. 

Grab Bars For Toilet and Shower Use

Anywhere a person could slip or might bend, sit, or balance on one foot will benefit from convenient, sturdy ADA compliant grab bars. Ensure that the grab bar accessories you choose are installed properly to support sufficient weight to meet the ADA requirements.

Other Accessible Features to Consider

While the above features provide a good baseline, here are a few more ideas to make your ADA bathroom layout as universal as possible.

  • Dimmable or low-level alternative lighting for users whose eyes won’t adjust quickly to bright lights late at night
  • Programmable faucets that allow you to set water temperature limits and prevent scalding
  • Door locks that can be opened in emergencies from outside of the bathroom
  • Impact-resistant enclosures to prevent risks or injuries from elements that could potentially break
  • Wall-hung, height-adjustable toilets to help users of all sizes and abilities to easily use the fixture
  • An ADA folding shower seat to serve both sitting and standing users
  • Non-slip flooring (including shower or tub floors) to minimize the risk of wet surfaces

NOTE: Throw rugs with non-slip backing can help standing users, but will get in the way of wheelchairs and should be avoided in bathrooms that serve diverse users.

Get in touch with our team at EverFab for more information on how you can maximize the safety and comfort of your ADA bathroom layout. We’re happy to help you find the accessories and design features that will bring out the best in your commercial or residential ADA bathroom design.

ADA & ANSI Product Guide