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If you or another household member holds a disability or physical impairment, you may be looking for some ways to make your home a safer and more comfortable place for your family to live — starting with the bedroom. Some bedroom modifications can be made by swapping out furniture or improving the lighting throughout the room, while others may require you to renovate the flooring, closets, and doorways. To learn more about accessible bedroom remodels and for some tips on paying for the renovation, read on.
What to Include in Your Bedroom Remodel
To make the bedroom a safer and more comfortable space for you or your disabled loved one, you’ll need to pay close attention to the doorways, closets, bed, and lighting. If you or your loved one uses a wheelchair to get around, for instance, you may need to widen the bedroom doorway and replace the door hardware with lever-style handles. In most cases, 36-inch doorways are suitable for walker and wheelchair access, but 42-inch doorways are even better.
In addition to widening the doorway to the bedroom, you may need to expand the width of any closet doors and install pocket or barn doors in place of bi-fold or accordion doors. Additionally, closet rods, shelves, and storage spaces may need to be lowered.
Depending on the needs of you or your loved one, other bedroom modifications may include:
- Removing carpeting and installing a smooth-surface flooring material.
- Adjusting the height of the bed by adding or removing a box spring, replacing the mattress, or using a furniture riser.
- Installing a ceiling lift to assist your loved one with getting in and out of bed.
- Installing grab bars or bed rails.
- Removing bulky furniture and clearing the floor of any clutter.
Moreover, you’ll need to use accessible lighting to brighten the space and make it as safe as possible for you or your loved one. This means lowering bedroom light switches, adding additional switches, installing motion sensors, and adding extra bedroom lighting to prevent trips and falls. Typically, a combination of natural and artificial lighting will be best for your disabled loved one’s bedroom, but fluorescent lighting may be needed in dimly lit areas like the closets.
How to Pay for Your Bedroom Renovations
When remodeling a bedroom for accessibility, financing options are available to you if you need help with your renovation costs. If you have equity in your home, for instance, you could use the money from a cash-out refinance through a company such as PMUSA to cover the cost of your bedroom modifications. As part of a cash-out refinance, your existing home mortgage is replaced with a new loan in a larger amount — and the difference between the two mortgages is distributed to you in one cash payment.
In addition to cash-out refinancing, you could apply for a home modification grant that benefits individuals with disabilities. Several available home modification grants include the following:
- The VA’s disability housing grants
- Repairs and modifications through Rebuilding Together
- Self-sufficiency grants through ModestNeeds.org
The Bottom Line
While you could buy a home that’s already handicap accessible instead of modifying your current property, a 2011 American Housing Survey (AHS) found that less than one percent of the U.S. housing market was wheelchair accessible at the time of the study. As such, remodeling a home for accessibility is usually the easiest and most affordable option — especially if you’re otherwise happy with your home and neighborhood. Plus, these tips will help you to begin your home modifications by renovating one of the most important rooms in the home: the bedroom!