5 Home Styling Tips for a Covertly More Accessible Living Space

Life is easier than it’s been in centuries. For many of us though, “easier” doesn’t equal “easy.” We bring up ADA compliance and accessibility in posts, but what about the more invisible, small ailments in life that trip us up? Where are the tools for the clumsy people in the world? The forgetful? The mildly inconvenienced? Everyone deserves a home that is tailored and accessible to them. How to get it is the real barrier, and Home Thangs is here to help with some ideas to get you started.

Yes, You Do Want Open Shelves

Practical Dalarna Tv Stand With 2 Open Shelves And 2- Drawers In Oak And Aqua, 3AMC126 by Manhattan Comfort

So many interior designers praise open shelving, but if you’re anything like me you’re hesitant to make the switch. Open shelves sound like inviting clutter into your home. I won’t lie, they do add a busy element to a room. However, they also allow you to see what exactly you have and where, even across the room. You can stop walking into rooms of your house and forgetting what you were after because you never stop making eye contact with it! You can also mitigate the cluttered look by going for a compromise with semi-open shelving. Place the most eye-catching pieces of a set on the open shelf, and it’ll help indicate to you there is more on the closed side.

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Switch to Glass Cabinets for Visibility

Wine fridges have popularized clear refrigeration for display reasons, but they’re also useful if you’re forgetful (by Carpenter & MacNeille)

If open shelves still don’t sound like a viable solution, there is another option. Don’t eliminate the cabinet doors, but change the door from opaque to transparent. While you may immediately think a curio cabinet or glass buffet, don’t feel limited to the dining room and display dishware. You can switch out your kitchen cabinets to glass for the same visibility as open shelves, but without the extra dusting. Even more modern, you can get refrigerators with glass doors that don’t look like they belong in a grocery store. A lot of these are sized to fit wine bottles, but have shelving options in case you want to store your milk there instead.

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Classify Your Storage Based on Time

Aurelie Silver Etagere, 24514 by Uttermost

Many homes come with at least one closet or pantry, and that’s invaluable storage space. However, it’s easy for things that aren’t used often to get pushed into the back and lost. If you’re someone who keeps letting cans expire or can never find their guest towels, it’s time to organize your closet based on time. Ideally, you should separate your stored belongings into short term (used daily or weekly) and long term storage (used monthly or yearly). Closets are the ideal long term house for necessities, so you should focus more on adding accessible short term storage. I find that bookshelves are the affordable hard workers in this area. They can be used for more than just books, fit any room shape, and can be found everywhere online and in-shop.

Pet-Proof Your Essentials

Bicycle Basket Wall Planter, FU82174 by Toscano

Pets are wonderful, but can be a real pain to decorate around. Cats jump onto sensitive, breakable shelves, and dogs will put just about anything in their mouth at least once. In this case, you actually want your things to be less accessible, at least to your furry friends. Protect your cords by stylishly hiding them in decorative boxes and baskets. Ideally, one that has a top that won’t collapse if a pet jumps on top to investigate. For easy-to-bite staples like toilet paper, magazines, and other paper products, height is your friend. Add wall-mounted shelves or baskets to protect things higher up. Look for those that have little standing space to discourage jumpers from getting any ideas.

Opt for Softer Materials

Willow Salmon Velvet Ottoman, cdf-OC3814 by Contemporary Design Furniture

If you’re clumsy like me, you know the pain of stubbing your fingers and toes into every surface. I find that coffee tables are the worst offenders, but it’s difficult to go without one in a living room. An alternative to getting rid of them is to choose the softest table available. Many fabric ottomans double as stable tables and are structurally sound enough to handle the weight, but soft enough to not hurt you if your run into it. You can also opt for couches and beds that have covered or inset legs that let you avoid impact altogether.

Whether or not any of these subtle fixes apply to you, they should give you a better understanding of what’s accessible for different needs. The hardest part of tackling a problem can be realizing it’s there, so go forth and tweak how you live day-to-day.

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