I love sitting even when I have the energy to do other things. Bar stools, folding chairs, futons, sofas, and ottomans accentuate my comings and goings, and I’ve long had a knack for turning sturdy planters and low curbs into places to carry things in a pinch. . I don’t think it’s just me. Sitting is so wonderful and I can see why this love has blossomed from an early age for me. I was born with cerebral palsy. The disorder primarily affects the feet, making it difficult to stand or walk for long periods of time without feeling the familiar pain. The same goes for sitting for long periods of time. Therefore, in order to maintain muscle stiffness and balance, I began to alternate between resting and moving, whether I was on the go or at home.
Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, there are detailed regulations that make it easier to uphold this commitment in public life. Designated parking spaces, easy-to-find elevators, and potholes throughout the sidewalks are just a few examples. It’s a quietly profound inclusion, but a person’s home address is an entirely different challenge. In the absence of laws enforcing accessible design in private spaces, the disabled community typically acts alone.
I interpreted the pitchfork as a cane for climbing the front steps. I used a soap dish as a rock climbing-like grip to pull the rest of my body into the shower. I have leaned on more branches than I can count. But through it all, I usually know I can rely on one constant. That means there’s definitely a place to sit somewhere behind the front door. The criteria for what works best is not that complicated. I prefer a slightly shallower chair or sofa with cushions that don’t sink too far so I can easily stand up in one motion. For this purpose, it should ideally have an arm to hold onto the sofa and be tall enough to support you when you want to relax.
The navy sofa from Living Spaces was a love-at-first-sight purchase, as were the sage green chairs and oak dining table from Article. Every item not only looks stylish, but also allows you to live comfortably in the surrounding environment. That’s the issue of accessibility. When it’s working well, it’s hardly noticeable. And just like cutting a curb to roll a heavy suitcase or using an elevator to carry groceries upstairs, accessible design benefits everyone. I asked six other disabled friends about some of the items they have in their homes that meet this specific requirement of being accessible and stylish. This is their oath.
“I have a bright turquoise ottoman that looks cute in my space, but it’s not for lounging. I actually use it to put on compression stockings and shoes when I get dressed. I pull my wheelchair up to the ottoman and place my legs and feet on it so it’s easily accessible. When I’m not using the ottoman for accommodation purposes, I use it as a place where someone can sit if they want. Plus, it can be used for storage.” —Emily Rado
“If you use a wheelchair and prefer a retro look, finding a suitable desk can be difficult. The desk I used to have was cute, but didn’t have enough room for my legs to roll underneath. This mid-century hunter green desk took me a while to find, but it has the best of both worlds: style and function.” —Rebecca Taussig
“TOTO’s Washlet is a must-have for IBD accessibility. The heated seat protects you from the cold, the warm water wash provides gentle and precise cleaning, and the adjustable air drying function minimizes irritation. Inflammatory bowel disease… , which makes life difficult in many ways, both in and out of the bathroom, but washlets offer a little comfort.” —Matthew Cortland
“I love the 66-inch daybed that my wife and I bought for our back deck. We lived in a one-bedroom apartment with no outdoor living space for five years, so this was the perfect setup to set it up the way we wanted it.” It was my first chance. It was important to me that this daybed could comfortably accommodate multiple adults when hosting, so I fitted it with custom cushions. Its comfort makes it a convenient daybed to use for long periods of time, as I sometimes feel pain if I sit too long.I work on it, watch movies on the projector, and chat with friends. Honestly, this is one of my favorite pieces of furniture.” —Alayna Leary
“This bath caddy doubles as a bench, and I use it to place products and sit during every shower. I don’t want a large, sterile-looking shower chair that takes up space in a small bathtub. But you need something that’s secure and doesn’t slip too much. And it’s beautiful, that’s the top priority!” — Alex Wegman
“I believe in pull-down closet rods that you can purchase and install in your home or apartment. You get full use of your closet.” —Stephanie Thomas