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The Best Design Ideas for a Bathroom Remodeling That is Accessible by All

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) stipulates that companies, public sector organizations, government bodies, and nonprofits must follow specific accessibility standards to “make Ontario more accessible and inclusive by 2025.”

Utilizing accessible design (otherwise known as inclusive design or universal design) is vital to accommodate everyone who visits your premises. And that includes creating accessible bathrooms.

What does that involve, and how can you get it right? Find out below.

What Accessible Bathroom Remodeling Looks Like

According to the University of Waterloo, universal design refers to the composition of space “so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.”

With regard to accessible bathrooms, these spaces must be designed or remodelled to provide everyone with the same level of safety, convenience, and comfort. Transforming standard bathrooms into accessible bathrooms with universal design may be a daunting prospect initially. But making modifications can be quicker, simpler, and more cost-effective than you expect.

Not only will remodelling ensure that you comply with the AODA (or any other act in your area), but it will provide your visitors with a more comfortable experience overall.

The Essentials of Accessible Bathroom Design

Choosing the right accessible bathroom features is one of the most complex parts of the remodelling process. You must consider the type of physical challenges that your visitors experience, whether that is limited mobility, impaired vision, or anything else.

Incorporating accessible bathroom features requires a number of modifications. These include:

  • A walk-in shower, or even a wet room, to suit those unable to step into a bathtub safely.

  • Grab bars at strategic points, e.g. beside a sink, to provide stability and enhance safety.

  • Non-slip flooring in a shower to reduce the risk of falls.

  • Good, even lighting to aid people with vision impairments and prevent glare.

  • Bathrooms with universal design should be spacious enough to fit two people in case a visitor requires help from an assistant.

  • Keep floors clear of any loose mats: they’re a tripping hazard for people with vision impairments, those with limited mobility, and wheelchair users.

  • Utilize a door that opens outwards, if possible instead of inwards, as this will provide users with more space to get in or out of the bathroom safely.

  • Place toilet tissue, storage, and anything else a visitor may need low enough for everyone to reach comfortably.

  • A doorway wide enough for a wheelchair is the most important of all wheelchair-friendly bathroom features.

  • Grab bars positioned on the side wall nearest to the toilet to assist with a comfortable transfer from a wheelchair to the seat (and back again).

  • Sinks mounted on a wall without a cabinet underneath to allow wheelchair users enough space to wash their hands comfortably.

  • Positioning a mirror at a convenient height for wheelchair users, whether a standard-sized mirror at a lower height or a longer mirror.

  • Depending on the type of bathroom facilities provided, a Shower commode or a seated shower will be essential for wheelchair users. Grab bars will be crucial for safe transfers and stability while showering.

  • Light switches positioned low enough on a wall for wheelchair users to reach comfortably.

These are just some of the essential accessible bathroom features to consider when remodelling your bathroom. The extent of the remodelling required will depend on the property involved. A shopping mall or hotel, for example, must incorporate accessible bathrooms with universal design as they potentially have hundreds of people visiting every day.

But the level of remodelling required will differ significantly if you want to create an accessible bathroom in your own home. You will only need to consider the accessible bathroom features necessary to fully accommodate your physical needs or those of a loved one.

How to Achieve These Features in Your Bathroom Remodeling

The first step when remodelling your bathroom to make it accessible is to speak with a reputable company providing accessibility solutions. An experienced team will be able to discuss your options and recommend the right modifications for your needs. For example, that may include bathtub removal for accessibility and installing a walk-in shower or even creating a wet room.

One of the simplest accessibility modifications you can make at home is to install grab bars for elderly people and those with mobility limitations. Attaching grab bars to walls is straightforward, but identifying the best positions for them is paramount. Only someone with a trained eye and experience of accessible bathrooms will be able to do so.

Creating extra space in your bathroom may be necessary to accommodate a wheelchair, two people (e.g. a caregiver), or both. In that case, you will need help with safe bathtub removal for accessibility and may also be required to expand your bathroom entirely.

Beyond your bathroom, you may also need to make additional modifications throughout your home. For example, installing a stairlift can make going up or down stairs far safer for elderly people and wheelchair users. The best stairlift models are easy to use and comfortable. Other modifications may include the following:

  • Ceiling lifts

  • Transferring devices

  • Railings

  • Floor lifts

Understanding Standards and Guidelines for Accessibility in Canada

If you run a business, organization, nonprofit, or any other entity which welcomes members of the public, it is crucial that you adhere to accessibility standards and guidelines. You can find all the information you need in:

  • The Accessible Canada Act (ACA), which was initiated in 2019 to “realize a barrier-free Canada by 2040”.

  • For those based in Ontario, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act specifies what is required to achieve accessibility with regards to servers, employment, buildings, and more before January 1, 2025.


Bathroom remodelling to achieve accessibility is essential to accommodate everyone regardless of their physical capabilities.

Total Access Solutions has more than 30 years of experience providing customers in Ontario with barrier-free solutions. Our dedicated team can transform your bathroom with the latest modifications to ensure complete accessibility. Contact Total Access Solutions today to get started.

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