How to improve accessibility without compromising design

As of 2014, the time of the last update by the Office for Disability Issues, there were over 11 million people living with a disability or impairment of some sort. If you add that to the fact that the number of people 65 or over is projected to rise in the next few years, the need for better accessibility all over the country doesn’t come as a surprise.

The features of the home

Keeping in mind the dimensions of the house can help with design considerations and also with choosing the right type of access. There are many alternatives out there, such as lifts, ramps and stairlifts, all of which can help people move more freely around their own home – deciding the right one for them, however, depends on the characteristics of the house and the type of mobility aid.

Lifts occupy a small amount of space, but the need to perform extensive construction or alterations to the original architecture and design is high. Typically, while a lift can take people to every storey, it also needs to be installed in a pit, which will have to be excavated.

Ramps are the perfect addition to a home with people who depend on a wheelchair to move around and access the entirety of the house. However, access ramps do require specific areas of the house to be turned into slopes which entails altering the existing design and layout of the home.

Regarding stairlifts, there needs to be enough space in the stairs so that the machine can be installed and the user can approach it and enter it without a problem. If that’s the case, the stairlift can then be installed with minimal disruption, as it usually takes only one to two hours to fit it to straight stairs – a rail is first installed, then the engine and the seat

This means that to fit a stairlift there’s no need to actually make any big modifications to the home – oftentimes there’s not even the need to alter a single thing.

Considering all the different options, then, the easiest and fastest way to provide a higher degree of accessibility in the home is by installing a stairlift. Stairlifts are becoming the choice device for people with mobility issues, as they’re suitable for a broad range of people in a wide variety of circumstances. In addition to this, they offer another fantastic advantage: people won’t need to compromise on design if they choose a stairlift over other forms of accessibility.

Stairlifts and interior design

With the huge variety of options in the market regarding materials, colours, shapes and sizes, picking out the stairlift that will best suit the existing décor is easy. This also extends to the style of the home; whether the design is more traditional or modern, complementary stairlifts can be easily fitted to the stairs.

When the house does indeed need to be altered for the stairlift to be fitted, choosing a device that can fit in with the existing design is crucial, so that you don’t have to compromise on either practicality or design.

If the stairlift is installed in the home, the choice of preserving the original décor instead of having to figure out a middle ground is easier, as the last word belongs to the users or their loved ones – if, on the other hand, a business wants to install the stairlift on a public building, they don’t need to hold on to the interior design, just to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Still, overlooking design can change the existing dynamic, so it’s important that design is considered at all times, no matter what.

Ensuring the interior design is not compromised is important, since that can completely change the aesthetic of the home – still, it’s also vital to keep in mind that stairlifts need to be functional, so having design without practicality wouldn’t work. Striking the perfect balance between the two is, therefore, the only way to approach the purchase of a stairlift.


With over 15 years industry experience of supplying and installing stairlift systems, ALS Stairlifts deliver professional and bespoke accessibility solutions to address a range of needs. For durable and versatile reconditioned, heavy duty or curved stairlifts, you can contact their friendly team on 0800 046 3438.

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