There are tons of bathroom vanities out there to choose from, but if you need one that can accommodate wheelchair users or other people with limited mobility, your options narrow down pretty quickly – and your options for a vanity that’s attractive as well as functional are even slimmer. The good news? James Martin Furniture has just released a full line of ADA-approved bathroom vanities modeled after their most popular collections, making it possible to have a bathroom that’s comfortable to use in a style you love without any costly custom construction.
What Does It Mean To Be ADA Approved?
In part, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) establishes guidelines for accessibility in design – that is, what standards certain common fixtures (like bathroom vanities) need to meet in order to be equally usable by people with disabilities. In the context of the law, this is mostly about ensuring public accommodations are actually accommodating for everyone. But many manufacturers use these same guidelines to create more accessible fixtures and furnishings for home use as well, to take some of the headache out of trying to build a more accommodating space.
Why Do I Care About ADA Approval?
If you’re reading this, chances you are you or a loved one fall into one of two categories: either you need a more accessible bathroom setup now, or you’re concerned that you might in the future. While ADA approval certainly isn’t an ironclad assurance that a bathroom vanity will meet all your present and future needs, it is a good place to start – especially in a very full market that’s typically unconcerned with universal usability.
Age In Place Design
Even if no one in your home currently uses a wheelchair or has specific mobility issues, “age in place” bathroom remodels can be a smart investment. Installing accessibility features before you need them is the best way to ensure that your bathroom stays usable even if your mobility unexpectedly declines. Whether you’re installing an ADA approved bathroom vanity, grab bars, a taller toilet, or even a permanent shower seat, a preemptive renovation that’s executed with accessibility in mind can help ensure that you remain independent in your own home longer.
Accessible Doesn’t Have To Mean Utilitarian
“Designed to meet government standards” is rarely a resounding endorsement when it comes to aesthetics, but needing specific accommodations shouldn’t mean you have to settle for a sterile, commercial-style bathroom. James Martin’s new ADA-approved bathroom vanities were designed in tandem with a catalog-wide overhaul, which means they’re designed with the same flair and come in a similar variety of sizes, styles, and finishes – 30 combinations in total, not counting their wide selection of stone countertops. They’re also folded into the family of trendy new makeup table vanities, which again makes them a smart style investment, even if you don’t yet need a chair/wheelchair friendly vanity.
Vanities That Are Functional As Well As Accessible
Many ADA approved bathroom vanities – especially those found in commercial settings – are little more than a flat countertop surface with a built in sink and faucet. But while the design specifications of ADA approved bathroom vanities necessarily means they won’t have the large under-sink cabinets that are ubiquitous to most vanity design, that doesn’t mean you can’t find one that’s both physically accommodating and functionally useful for everyday use in a primary home bathroom.
In fact, all but the smallest of James Martin’s ADA approved bathroom vanities have some kind of built in storage (and the ones that don’t are small enough that you can easily supplement with an add-on linen cabinet). The most common storage among these new vanities is the addition of drawers, either directly beneath the counter or in columns along both sides of the vanity. That said, if you’re worried about losing cabinet space, a few of the vanities have them as well, again along either side of the vanity. It’s a simple change, but one that makes for a vanity that both feels like a beautiful piece of furniture and one that’s useful rather than merely usable.