The kitchen is the heart of the home. And this means that making a kitchen accessible is usually a priority.

Preparing meals, safely using the equipment within it, keeping the area clean and fully enjoying the kitchen space are essential in promoting independent living. Regardless of whether you’re a single person or living as a family.

One part of the kitchen that often goes overlooked in the early stages of planning kitchen adaptations is the storage. 

Here, we explore the issues standard kitchen storage presents and how clever solutions to these problems can help.

The Problem With Kitchen Storage

You only need to look at any kitchen showroom to understand that kitchen storage is not designed with accessibility in mind. Typical kitchen storage uses low and high cabinets, which can be restrictive for those living with reduced mobility. 

For a room containing so much, fitting sufficient storage solutions in kitchens can be tough, given their typical size. This means that, in many kitchens, using the height of the wall for extra cupboards and shelves is necessary. This works wonderfully for people with a full range of movement, but for individuals with a limited range, it can be completely inaccessible.

Even some cupboard doors aren’t designed well, with no handles available to grab onto.

These elements are important things we at the John Ford Group take into account when planning an accessible kitchen. Sometimes, the existing kitchen is not suitable, and a whole new kitchen is needed, but other times, we’re able to adapt what’s there and improve it.

The Solution: Accessible Kitchen Storage

When considering making changes to the kitchen, the overall aim is to reduce stretching, twisting and reaching and to make all areas accessible. 

To execute these changes, we rely heavily on accessible kitchen storage.

Accessible kitchen storage is alternative storage that can be easily reached without pain or discomfort for people with a reduced range of movement. Accessible kitchen storage solutions help to bring cupboard contents closer to the user to ensure the kitchen space is safe to use.

Here are a few examples.

Pull-Down Baskets 

Pull-down baskets make reaching wall cabinet items easier and safer whilst simultaneously making use of the height of the room for maximum accessible storage space. 

Effective Corner Units

Corner cabinets are a nightmare in many households. Installing a lazy susan is one solution that resolves this accessible kitchen storage problem, allowing users to turn the mechanism to access items that would usually be tucked right at the back of the cupboard. 

Another solution is a corner unit that opens out into a wider entry point, meaning users can more easily get closer, to reach the goods inside. 

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Glide-Out Shelves

For lower units, glide-out shelves enable users to reach the back of the drawer or cabinet without placing strain on the body. 

Pull-Out Larder

Installing pull-out larders and other units makes reaching those back-of-the-cupboard items a breeze, reducing the need for awkward stretching and reaching and the risk of injury or falls. 

How It Helps

Accessible kitchen storage enhances the usability of the space by preventing strenuous reaching beyond a user’s range and is beneficial for the whole household. 

Over-reaching, twisting and stretching can be impossible or incredibly painful for individuals with limited mobility, stopping them from remaining independent in their own homes. 

Accessible kitchen storage also keeps worktops clear, reducing clutter and hazards because cabinet space can be utilised for easy-to-reach storage rather than available worksurfaces. Not just that, but all cupboards, shelves and cabinets can be kept better organised and far tidier!

Other Ways to Make A Kitchen Accessible

As well as the addition of accessible kitchen storage, there are other ways you can adapt a kitchen to make it more user-friendly.

Here are a few considerations.

Lowered Worktops

Standard kitchen worktops are too high for wheelchairs and other seated users to use effectively. 

Lowering the height of even just one dedicated section of the work surface provides easy access to everything on the countertop, including appliances and chopping boards, as well as space to prepare food. 

Worktops can be lowered permanently, or adjustable versions can be installed that can be operated either manually or electronically. 

Kick Space

The term kick space refers to the area allocated under a countertop or similar surface to allow for the feet of a wheelchair user. Without kick space, it can be challenging for wheelchair users to get close enough to sinks and kitchen surfaces without bending or twisting in awkward motions.

To create more kick space and improve the accessibility of a kitchen, you can raise a kitchen’s plinth. Plinths, also called kickboards or kick plates, are used to bridge the gap between the floor and the bottom of low cabinets and drawers to improve the aesthetics of the room and stop debris from being swept underneath. 

Raising kitchen plinths to at least 200mm high ensures there is enough room for wheelchair users to get up close to the countertop. 


Providing better lighting in the kitchen area, including spotlights over areas where users will be using hot appliances and sharp cutlery, is an adaptation that benefits the whole household but holds particular significance for individuals with deteriorating eyesight.


Replacing a conventional sink with a shallow version makes reaching down into the sink to reach cutlery and crockery an easier task for everyone, including wheelchair users and individuals who are washing up or preparing fresh food in a seated position. 

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Regular kitchen taps could be too tricky to operate if you have low mobility levels due to the level of dexterity they require. Lever taps, or even motion sensor taps, can alleviate this particular issue, giving users more freedom in the kitchen and improving safety levels. 

Oven Height

Floor-level ovens aren’t ideal in an accessible kitchen because users must bend, twist and reach to use them. Raising the oven and other appliances, like the microwave, to a reachable height makes them easier to see into and operate, reducing the risk of burns and accidents.

Simple Adaptations For Accessible Kitchens

Accessible kitchen storage is just one way you can make your kitchen work for all users, and there are changes for all kitchen sizes, layouts and budgets.

Looking at all the different ways you can adapt a property? Not sure where to start, or in the planning stages and needing some assistance? We’ve got you covered. See our website for everything you need to know about the John Ford Group and the great work we do, and get in touch today.