Interior Stairway Accessibility:

The Accessible Interior Stairway:

Stairs are an integral part in almost every home standing today. Universally designed, zero-barrier homes of today are strategically designed to eliminate the need for stairs, but unfortunately most of us have existing homes with the inevitable stairways. These stairways cannot be eliminated altogether, but there are some alternatives available.

Space Utilization
Some stairways are entirely too cramped and narrow for anyone to comfortably maneuver up and down them. Widening the stairway is one option, along with increasing the width of the treads and decreasing the height of the risers. This simultaneously gives individuals more landing space for feet during climbing, while reducing the height a person must raise their foot to get to the next step.

Adding decorative yet helpful safety railings on a stairway can make all the difference for an individual with increasing mobility issues. They can be placed at specific heights and locations for individuals and seating/rest areas can incorporated into the stairway design.

Elevators and Lifts
Stairlifts are a very capable and efficient alternative to marching up the stairway unassisted. In today’s market, stairlifts can be customized to fit every space and every need possible. They can also be installed and removed relatively quickly and easily and do not need to be a permanent fixture in the home. If an individual MUST use the staircase on a regular basis, these are great, safe and economical alternatives.

It might seem like an elevator inside your home is out of the question but in reality, they are not. In today’s market, all sorts of customizable elevators and lift systems can be created for surprisingly low costs. The personal elevator is an easy way to get a wheelchair bound individual up or down multiple floors. They can spacious enough to handle a wheelchair and a caretaker or just enough space to help an individual get themselves and groceries to multiple floors. They can oftentimes be installed inside of large closets and can be discreetly hidden from view. If the structure of the homes lends itself to it, these are outstanding alternatives to traditional staircases.






Top Recommendations:

  • Determine if the home has the structural capabilities for a personal elevator/lift system.
  • Consider installing a stairlift as an alternative to traditional stairs.
  • Widen and expand the size of the stairway for ease of maneuverability.
  • Widen stair treads and shorted stair risers.
  • Create contrasting color patterns on stairs to highlight different levels.
  • Consider adding decorative and stylish handrails for safety and balance.
  • Make sure there is adequate lighting throughout to highlight beginning and end of stairs.


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