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Rose Accessible Home Remodeling and Design Checklist

home modification info

We're excited to introduce our latest blog post: The Rose Accessible Home Remodeling and Design Checklist. 

We hope it will be helpful for anyone assessing their primary home or investment property for a home modification project. It's always best to be prepared with the right tools before you start any remodeling project and we've got all your bases covered here! Let us know if there is something else that you would like added to this list in the comments below or email us at, we love hearing from our readers!

If you are looking to modify your home to make it more accessible for an elderly family member or a person with mobility issues, this checklist will help guide you through the process of making your home safe and comfortable.  First, assess what needs are most important for the individual situation. For example, if stairs are difficult due to arthritis in the knees, install an elevator! This is not only helpful but also aesthetically pleasing. Next time you visit your doctor's office or need medical care at home, make sure they know about any modifications that have been made. They will be better able to accommodate their patients' needs by knowing what they're walking into.

With that, please enjoy the check list and if you need additional insights to specific projects, we’re happy to help! 



  • Door – Entry 36 inches wide to allow for a 34-inch clear opening when the door is open
  • Handrails – Installation near toilets and tub/shower entrances, the railing should be reachable from a seated or standing position, or adjustable-height
  • Ceiling – If tracked ceiling lift if needed, brace your ceiling 
  • Toilet – Toilet seat risers are a great product for seating assistance and convenience 
  • Flooring – Non-slip flooring (e.g., non-slip paint or non-slip mats) should be installed in wet areas
  • Shower – For roll-in showers, minimum size is 40 by 40 inches, consider 40 by 60 inches if accompanied by an attendant 
  • Shower/Tub Entry – Reduce the need to step up and over the side of a bathtub with either a walk-in tub or roll-in shower 
  • Shower Head - Adjustable-height, handheld showerhead with cord 
  • Movement – Consider enough floor space to move between bathroom fixtures


  • Light Switches - Placed between 36 inches to 40 inches above the floor, any worn outlets should be replaced, and ground fault-interrupt safety plugs installed
  • Outlet – Placed between 18 inches to 24 inches above the floor
  • Extension cords and multiple plug adapters – Reduce the number of exposed cords in the household to reduce tripping and falling hazards. Also, reduce the amount of multi-plug adapters as these can also be a fire hazard. In of multi-plug outlets, install more outlets
  • Generator – Storing a backup generator is helpful for individuals who may have medical devices in case power outages occur
  • Jacks (Cable/Telephone) – Placed at least 18 inches above the floor 
  • Guide lighting – Lighting designed to activate in case of a loss of power should be available in all rooms.
  • Hallway lighting – Hallways should have nighttime guide lighting for safety of movement.
  • Lighting controls – Lighting controls should be easily accessible from a seated position height.


  • Door Entrance - At least 36 inches wide to allow for a 34-inch clear opening when the door is opened
  • Door Handle – Replace knobs with lever-style door handles or keyless locks with remote control 
  • Door Level – No raised threshold, with porch floor or landing at same level as the floor inside the home
  • Peephole – At the heigh of a child or adult using a wheelchair


  • Carpeting – A style that is tighten woven and low pile (e.g., Berber style)
  • Floor Level – No change sunken floors, split-levels, nor change in level between rooms 
  • Non-Slip Surface – Apply anti-slip surface (e.g., anti-slip paint, textured carpet, etc.) throughout the house, prioritizing the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room
  • Throw Rugs – Replace as these are a tripping hazard 
  • Movement – Arrange furniture to maximize keeping the floor space clear with wider paths throughout the home to accommodate walkers, mobility scooters, and wheelchairs


  • Open Floor Plan – Large open areas without sharp boundaries between rooms (I.e., living room, kitchen, dining room), try to avoid long, narrow hallways
  • Main Floor – One room to sleep (at least 12 feet by 12 feet), kitchen, laundry, full bathroom
  • Hallways – Wide enough for a mobility scooter, walker, or wheelchair to pass. The ADA recommends a minimum hallway width of 48 inches
  • Floors – Avoid changing floor levels, floor mats, and plush carpet 
  • Laundry Room – Plan to have laundry room on main floor, near a bathroom and bedroom. The control for the appliances should be in the front of the appliance to make them easy to reach
  • Movement – Ease of passage from kitchen to dining room


  • Pathway – No steps to climb and all entryways need to be 36 inches wide 
  • Vehicle – Keep at least a 3-foot clear path to maneuver around and between vehicles


  • Sink – Lower height to ensure access to seated individuals, in addition make space may need to be created under the sink to for wheelchair user (be sure to insulate pipes to avoid burns)
  • Countertops – The ADA recommends a minimum countertop height of 36 inches, but the height should be aligned to the use of the user with adjustable options
  • Stove/Oven – A safer option than a gas stove is an electric cooktop with controls in the front or on the side, with accessibility for seated use
  • Dishwasher – Dishwasher height should be determined by the user to support the workflow of the user in the kitchen
  • Movement – Floor space is critical to maneuver around kitchen and limit sharp edges on corner tops in favor of round edges 
  • Storage – Recommendation: Lazy-Susan’s in corner cupboards, pull-out shelves, and adjustable-height cupboards 
  • Lighting – Installed over the stove, sink, and other work areas


  • Repairs – Replace all damaged weatherproofing, rotten deck or steps, roof damage, etc.
  • Walkways – From vehicle to entrance at least 36 inches wide walkway, with level walkways with little or no slope. A slope should be gradual, nothing more than 1inch of rise per 20 inches of walkway
  • Garden – Consider plants, shrubs, and trees that require low maintenance landscaping: slower growing grasses, limiting the placement of ornaments that need to be moved 
  • Entrance – At a minimum, an entrance should be on ground level without a sudden lip nor drop in height. Decks, porches, patios, and doorway approaches should be wide enough as a walkway. Replace stairs with sloping ramp with handrails. The ramp surface should be a non-slip surface and cover if possible.


  • Handrails – Handrails should be on both sides of all stairways and along the whole stairwell, whether inside or outside of the home. The recommendation for round rails is 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter
  • Lighting – Light switches need to be at the top and bottom of a stairwell in a house, with the light switch 36 inches to 40 inches above the floor
  • Stairwell Tread – Ideally 10 to 11inches, enough space for the entire foot and no nosing. Nosing is when the tread extends out beyond. Any stair lips should be removed to reduce the likelihood of falls and trips
  • the riser) to minimize the risk of tripping.
  • Carpeting – Carpeting is not ideal for stairwells, if it is installed, used tight weave (Berber style) and no padding to reduce opportunity to slip. Recommendation: add stick-on traction pads as an inexpensive way to provide traction on stairs.
  • Stair Lifts – As an alternative to stairs, individuals can use a residential elevator or stair lift to eliminate the need for stairs in the home


  • Location – Accessible to all members of the household with adjustable-height shelving and closet rods
  • Lighting – Light switch located outside of storage area
  • Door Handles – Avoid bi-fold and accordion-type doors


  • Windows – Windows (high insulated if possible) should be weather sealed against drafts and easy to open, close, and lock
  • Curtain – Focus on easy to open and close installations that can be operated from a seated position
  • Locks – Consider crank handles for ease of use
  • Windowsills – About 24 to 30 inches above the floor, allowing people to see outdoors while standing or seated

Internet Resources


Administration for Community Living

American Association of Retired Persons

Eldercare Locator

Fair Housing Act accessibility guidelines. (n.d.). U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Guide to the ADA Accessibility Standards

Iowa's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD)

National Association of Home Builders

National Association of The Remodeling Industry


Practical Guide to Universal Home Design

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