Sinks just aren’t that interesting, are they?

There, we said it.

When you’re thinking about making bathroom adaptations, toilets and showers tend to come top of the list. Bathrooms aren’t the most exciting place to re-imagine as it is, and the sink? Well, it’s usually a bit of an afterthought.

But really, the sink is the underdog. Improving the accessibility of the sink in your adapted bathroom can significantly affect how easy the room is to manoeuvre and use efficiently.

Read on to learn more about the ultimate sink adaptation, the wall-hung basin, so your sink set-up doesn’t get overlooked. 

What Is A Wall-Hung Basin?

Most standard bathrooms come equipped with a pedestal sink – a porcelain column-and-basin combo –  or a basin squared off in a cupboard unit with storage underneath. 

Though very common in many buildings and properties UK-wide and even in public toilets, these sinks don’t always work well for wheelchair users or those with limited mobility.

Wall-hung or wall-mounted basins are a highly versatile alternative. Often with a smaller, space-saving footprint, wall-hung basins optimise a user’s interaction with the sink, enabling them to wash their hands, brush their teeth and use the mirror with increased comfort.

There are even a variety of different styles of accessible basins, including a semi-pedestal if you’d like to maintain the traditional look. 

Benefits Of A Wall-Hung Basin For Wheelchair Users

The lack of legroom for wheelchair users when using standard sinks is a frequent and frustrating problem.

A wheelchair-accessible sink needs to have enough space below the basin that the user can place their knees fully underneath, enabling them to reach and use the taps easily. The shape and depth of the basin are also important, as many conventional sinks are too awkward to manoeuvre from a seated angle.

As well as leg room, wall-hung basins are also height adjustable, meaning they can be installed at any height suited to the user. And it’s not just their placement that makes them highly versatile. Wall-hung basins come in all shapes and sizes, and their compact dimensions are often brilliant at optimising space.

What About The Pipes?

Traditionally sink pipes would be concealed behind the stem of the pedestal or boxed in behind a cupboard unit.

So what happens if a sink is wall hung? The basin is installed directly onto the wall, floating, with no base attaching it to the floor… What do we do about the exposed plumbing?

Thankfully there are a variety of easy ways to tackle exposed pipes. Here are some of our favourites.

Box The Pipes In Or Build Around Them 

The most common method of hiding bathroom pipes is building a box around them. Usually constructed from plywood because it’s cheap and easy to get hold of, the box can be painted or tiled to match your existing bathroom decor or the reverse – made to stand out as a feature.

The brilliant thing about boxing in your pipes is that, depending on the size of the project, it’s an easy DIY job. 

Another option is to build a shelving unit around the pipes so they remain hidden – and you gain useable storage space.

Embrace The Pipes

Why bother hiding them when you could celebrate the pipes?

Try extending them, adding extra angles and crazy twists and turns to create an interesting feature in your newly adapted bathroom. You can make this work for you practically, too, by including sharp angles in your design to hang towels, plants and ornaments from. 

As well as changing their structure, what about painting exposed pipework in your bathroom to blend in with your chosen style, or even to contrast with it. Better yet, what about intentionally decorating them to flow with your theme… Nautical patterns? Monochrome stripes? The choice is yours.

Dress Your Pipes

Whether it’s storage caddies, washing baskets or beautiful houseplants, it may be possible to conceal exposed pipework by simply placing items around them to obstruct the view.

This is one of the most cost-effective methods, but it may hinder access to the wall hung basin. It also doesn’t work as well for pipes travelling vertically up a wall, for example. 

Instead, pipe covers are an option that can be purchased ready-made and affixed to the wall. These come in many designs and are effectively a mini-version of the boxed-in look.

What About Storage?

If you previously had a pedestal sink, you won’t lose storage space by installing a wall-hung version. But without the ability to put a vanity unit under the basin, what do we do about bathroom storage?

Add Shelves Yourself

The cheapest way to fix your storage solution is to add shelves at wheelchair-accessible heights. 

Back-To-Wall Furniture

If storage is a more significant issue, back-to-wall furniture, or fitted furniture, can be added to your bathroom.

Designed to conceal pipes and cisterns, the built-in furniture often runs the full height of a wall and can incorporate raised-height WCs and wheelchair-accessible sinks whilst providing a tonne of extra storage space.

Modular Furniture

Compared to back-to-wall furniture units, modular furniture is typically wall-hung and sleek, giving off a more modern aesthetic. The better option for a wheelchair-accessible bathroom, modular furniture offers more space to get a chair, stool or wheelchair under the units. 

When All’s Said And Done

Accessible bathrooms can make living at home an empowering experience for those with limited mobility. Making adaptations like grab rails, raised height washer/dryer toilets and walk-in wet rooms increase both safety and independence for the user so that they can go about their days in comfort.

Unfortunately, the humble bathroom basin is often overlooked. 

Installing a wall-hung basin offers wheelchair users in particular freedom to use the facility efficiently and comfortably.

Sorted Everything But The Bathroom Sink?

The last piece of the puzzle is the most important! Factoring in an accessible basin could make all the difference to the user in question. 

Not sure which type of accessible basin to go for? Only just beginning to look into bathroom adaptations and overwhelmed by the options? Call the John Ford Group for free, expert advice and take the weight off your shoulders.