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Universal Design

Make Kitchen Cabinets Work for You

Alternatives to hard-to-reach wall cabinets, hard-to-open doors and uncomfortable counters

 

Most people never complain that their kitchen has too much storage space. It seems that no matter how much cabinet space you have, you’ll eventually find a sufficient quantity of pots and cooking gadgets to fill it. It’s also true that sometimes this storage space is useless because it’s so difficult to reach. Here’s a storage tip: Place frequently used tableware, cookware and food within easy reach, and store everything else on higher shelves.

Cabinet Height

In a universal kitchen, upper cabinets are hung on commercial brackets so that height adjustments can be made at a later date. Isn’t that smart? The standard cabinet height is 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm) from the countertop, but a 15-inch (38 cm) height makes the second shelf easier to reach for a person of average height while still allowing ample room for countertop appliances, such as microwaves, toasters and most blenders.

Cabinet Design

If you’re replacing your cabinets as part of your universal design update, keep accessibility as your main criterion, both in terms of the cabinets’ design and the way they’re mounted on the wall. There are many cabinet designs and arrangements that can fulfill this goal with style. In general, however, frameless cabinets provide more storage space for small kitchens.

Cabinet doors can be a mixture of wood and glass (making it easy to see what’s on the shelves), or in some cases the doors are removed altogether, making it much easier to reach into the cabinets. This can also be aesthetically pleasing — but only if the cabinets showcase

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