Freedom of movement in a confined space: converting a small bathroom for the disabled

Bathrooms are often very small. Bathroom sizes between 3 and 4 square meters are not uncommon. Converting such a small bathroom to be barrier-free and thus also suitable for the disabled and senior citizens can be a challenge. You can find out how you can still remodel a small bathroom in an age-appropriate manner in our guide.

Accessibility: what to look out for?

The most important guidelines for the minimum requirements for a barrier-free bathroom are summarized in DIN 18040-2. Basically, you should consider the following when renovating a bathroom for senior citizens:

  • Convenient access: dimension the doors sufficiently wide (at least 80cm), remove the door sills
  • Remove lower door stops and level differences in the shower area
  • Lay non-slip floors in the entire bathroom area, including the shower
  • Create the largest possible movement areas
  • Plan for protective devices, for example installing temperature limiters or handholds
  • Pay attention to easy cleaning
  • If necessary, reinforcement of the load-bearing capacity of walls that are too weak

Note the special features in small bathrooms

In order to achieve as much freedom of movement as possible in a small bathroom, you should also pay attention to seemingly minor details.

  • Let the door open outwards - this creates more space in the bathroom itself and increases security
  • Plan the facility carefully. With clever planning, you create the necessary freedom of movement to create enough freedom of movement even for a wheelchair in a small bathroom. If possible, in front of the bathtub or. The shower, the washbasin and the toilet have an area of 120 x 120 cm, or even better 150 x 150 cm.
  • When in doubt, opt for a large, floor-level shower rather than a bathtub. Showers with a size of at least 150 x 150 cm provide space for use with a wheelchair.
  • Create space to the side of your toilet: There should be at least 30cm free space on one side and at least 90cm free space on the other.
  • If you use wall-mounted installations, you can use a walking aid or a toilet in old age. easier to use in a wheelchair.
  • Pay attention to the necessary installations for safety: temperature limiters prevent scalding, safety handles make it easier to get up and sit down, or. getting in and out.
  • A non-slip floor covering reduces the risk of injury in the bathroom. Also in the shower area, make sure that you use a suitable slip-resistant shower tray or slip-resistant tiles.
  • Pay attention to the operability of the windows. For easy operation, the opener should be located in the lower window area.

Possible arrangement of the installations in small bathrooms

In small bathrooms in particular, an intelligent arrangement of the sanitary installations is crucial in order to keep freedom of movement as large as possible. For bathrooms with an area of up to 4 square meters and wall lengths of 150 - 255 cm, you should attach installations in such a way that you only need one area from which you can comfortably reach all installations.

  • With doors in the middle and short wall lengths, you should combine a washbasin and toilet on one of the side walls. So you have enough space on the other side wall for a large, floor-level shower.
  • If the doors are on the side and have a rather elongated cross-section, the installation of the wash basin and toilet opposite one another is often advisable