5 Universal Design Appliance Trends
Making appliances work for Universal Design
Kitchen designers have been working on Universal Design kitchens for years now. There are some who even specialize in this area. For an appliance, this may be as simple as locating the appliance at a certain height. Unfortunately sometimes, appliances are just not as suitable for Universal Design as they could be. The good news is that more and more new appliances have features and capabilities that make the appliance more Universal Design friendly.
Here are some emerging trends in the way designers specify appliances and in the growth of certain appliance features and types that are more Universal Design friendly.
1. New trends in microwave ovens. We recently wrote about the growing popularity of microwave drawers 2013 Appliance Sales Trends. In addition to the trend for microwave drawers, we're seeing traditional built-in microwaves at or below counter height to make them more accessible.
2. French door refrigerators have become enormously popular, and they are very accessible. We especially like the more recent models that feature convenient, accessible pantry drawers.
3. Slide-in Ranges have been around for years. Their easy to reach upfront controls make operation a breeze. However, overhead ventilation can be a problem with any range. Jenn-Air offers a selection of electric and gas slide-in ranges that have downdraft ventilation which can be controlled from the front.
4. Refrigerator and freezer drawers are now offered by a host of appliance brands. Not only are they accessible, they can be located nearly anywhere in the kitchen. Since a convenient location can be critical for Universal Design, the value of this trend cannot be overemphasized.
5. Dishwashers are being raised. Ovens are being lowered. Dishwashers are the one kitchen appliance that is often too low to be accessible – not too high. Designers have fixed this by raising the dishwasher off the floor a few inches. On the other hand, wall ovens have typically been located with their controls at eye level for a standing adult. Now, we're seeing ovens placed in wall cabinet at a much lower height with convenient controls for everyone and an oven door at waist level. New steam-convection ovens are ideal for these installations.
In general, appliances themselves also have better designs. Induction cooktops are super safe and run cool. Child lockouts are now commonplace in appliances, just as auto-shutoff features. According to a recent article in Housing Zone,
“There have been incredible technology and design improvements in the kitchen that make accessories, lighting, and appliances more intuitive and easier to use. Smart design helps to make the space more accessible and safe for all users.”
It also helps to deal with professionals such as those at Arizona Wholesale Supply who are experienced in providing appliances for all needs. They can help you select just the right appliance for your specific situation and budget.
What trends have YOU seen or would like to see to make kitchens accessible to all? Add your comments below:
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