The majority of individuals tend to overlook the obstacles of accessibility in their day-to-day routines. It is effortless to forget that our world is not always accommodating to those with different abilities. For those living with mobility disabilities, even basic tasks like dining at a restaurant, accessing public buildings, or finding suitable restrooms can present continuous challenges. Designing furniture for accessibility is a crucial aspect of creating inclusive and user-friendly spaces for people with diverse needs and abilities. Accessibility is not just a checkbox to tick off but an ongoing commitment to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. By incorporating the key design principles into furniture design, you can create spaces that are functional, aesthetically pleasing, and welcoming for all individuals, regardless of their abilities (Urban Hyve Team;, 2013). Examples of accessible furniture include; height-adjustable desks, ergonomic chairs, transfer benches, braille-labelled drawer handles and adaptable dining tables.

Furniture Design for Accessibility - Sheet1
Disability Diversity_©

Get-up table

Furniture Design for Accessibility - Sheet2
Get-up table_©

The height-adjustable desks allow users to change the height to sit or stand comfortably, catering to people with different mobility needs. The ergonomic chairs are provided with adjustable features, lumbar support, and armrests to promote comfort and accommodate various body types. The transfer benches are mostly applicable in the shower or bathroom. These transfer benches help people with mobility challenges get in and out of the bathtub safely. The braille-labelled drawer handles help visually impaired individuals find what they need easily. The adaptable dining tables are equipped with removable or adjustable components to allow wheelchair users to sit comfortably without obstacles (McDeed, 2019).

Braille-labelled teabag storage

Furniture Design for Accessibility - Sheet3
Braille labeled teabag storage_©

Whether it’s in public spaces, offices, or homes, there are essential principles to consider when designing furniture for accessibility. Adopt a universal design approach, which aims to create products and spaces that are usable by people with a wide range of abilities and characteristics (Barnes, 2022). Designing with universal principles ensures that furniture can be accessed and used by everyone, regardless of their physical abilities. Incorporate adjustable features that allow users to customise the furniture to their specific needs, such as adjustable seat heights, armrests, and backrests. Ensure that furniture allows for easy manoeuvrability and provides adequate clearances for individuals using mobility aids such as wheelchairs or walkers. Allow for enough space around furniture to accommodate these aids and provide easy access. Furthermore, pay attention to the aesthetic aspects of the furniture, ensuring that it integrates seamlessly with the overall design of the space while still prioritising accessibility. By combining functionality, comfort, and aesthetics, accessible furniture can contribute to inclusive and welcoming environments for all individuals (Urban Hyve Team;, 2013).

Easy-to-Use Desk

Furniture Design for Accessibility - Sheet4
Easy to use desk_©

Consider different user heights and reach ranges. Design furniture that accommodates a wide range of individuals, including those who are seated or have limited reach. Adjustable height options or multiple seat heights can be beneficial. For example, a range of seating heights can make it easier for people to sit down and stand up comfortably (Barnes, 2022).

Considerable height and reach

Furniture Design for Accessibility - Sheet5
Kitchen accessible to persons on wheelchairs_©×420.jpg.webp

Attention should be paid to the design of seats and surfaces in order to provide stability and support. Chairs should have appropriate backrests and armrests to aid in sitting and standing. Cushions and padding should be firm enough to provide support but not so hard that they cause discomfort. The designer should focus on providing stable and supportive furniture that can assist people with balance or mobility challenges. Armrests, backrests, and handles can be helpful additions (McDeed, 2019).

Adaptive bathroom for people with disabilities

Furniture Design for Accessibility - Sheet6
Bathroom accessible to persons on wheelchairs_©×766.png

User-friendly mechanisms should be incorporated for adjustable furniture features, such as height-adjustable tables or chairs, to cater to different needs. The materials and textures should be chosen with finishes that are comfortable, non-slip, and easy to clean. Consideration should also be made on the sensory needs of individuals with certain disabilities, such as avoiding materials that may cause irritation or allergies. Use materials that offer tactile feedback and are non-slip to assist those with visual impairments or mobility difficulties. An intuitive design can be implemented. It will minimise the need for instructions or explanations to use the furniture effectively (Urban Hyve Team;, 2013).

High-contrast colours labels

Furniture Design for Accessibility - Sheet7
High contrast colors labels_©

High-contrast colours and braille labels should be considered in order to aid individuals with visual impairments in identifying and using the furniture. The furniture ought to be lightweight and easy to move, to accommodate users who may need to rearrange the space or transport the furniture. The designer should keenly consider how furniture can be adapted or customised to  cater to specific needs without compromising on aesthetics or functionality. The designer should involve users with disabilities in the design process and seek feedback to continuously improve the accessibility of the furniture (Barnes, 2022).

Adaptive furniture for people with disabilities

adaptive furniture for people with disabilities_©

When designing for individuals with disabilities, it is crucial to approach decor from a fresh perspective. When envisioning a new floor plan and selecting furniture for the living room, begin by viewing the space through the eyes of all who will utilise it. For instance, consider the appropriate height for light switches, lamps, tables, and drawers. It’s important to recognise that disabilities come in various forms, and not every recommendation for an accessible home caters to every specific requirement. Consulting with a doctor or therapist is highly recommended to obtain personalised suggestions that suit your particular situation (Barnes, 2022).


Barnes, S., 2022. Pottery Barn Launches 150-Piece Furniture Collection Designed for People With Disabilities. [Online]
Available at:

McDeed, E., 2019. Create an Accessible Workspace with these Disability-Friendly Pieces. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 27 June 2023].

Urban Hyve Team;, 2013. Disability & The Workplace: Employer Guide to Designing an Ergonomic Disability Friendly Workplace. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 30 June 2023].