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Kitchen Cabinet Fittings With Universal Design in Mind

These ingenious cabinet accessories have a lot on their plate, making accessing dishes, food items and cooking tools easier for all.


Beautiful kitchens abound — but beauty, as they say, is only skin deep. If the bones of the kitchen do not function properly, the time spent there will soon become annoying. Beautiful is great, but beautiful and functional are paramount in my book.A few organizational cabinet appointments can make everyone’s lives easier through accessibility. Any of these cabinet accessories will make work seem less like a chore and allow people of any age and mobility the dignity of maintaining their autonomy while doing what they love to do — cook!

contemporary kitchen by Woodale Designs - Keith Fennelly

If you have the opportunity to remodel your kitchen or are lucky enough to be plannning a new kitchen from scratch, opt for as many base cabinets with drawers instead of doors as possible. Drawers are much easier to access and bring the contents to you, rather than forcing you to bend down and reach into a dark cabinet.
traditional kitchen by Mullet Cabinet

Organizational accessories such as this pegboard for dishes allow the heavier items to be stored within reach and the flexibility of rearranging items to suit your needs and dishes. Storing your dishes in base cabinets allows even the little ones to get in on the action of setting the table. It also eliminates the sometimes dangerous reach into upper cabinets for a stack of plates.

contemporary kitchen by Pacific Northwest Cabinetry

Make sure you select heavy-duty rollers or glides to accommodate the extra weight of the dishes.
Traditional rollout shelves come in handy when you prefer the aesthetics of doors over drawers. You must take care, however, to fully open the door before pulling out the shelves to minimize the inadvertent scraping of the inside of the door. The shelves come in a wide variety of traditional and other materials, such as this wood dovetail version. A base cabinet with a standard door can usually accomodate three shelves, depending on what you need to store.

contemporary cabinet and drawer organizers by Lowe's

The racks shown here are chrome plated, but some also come with clear plastic sides, or plastic or metal side rails, which are sometimes called gallery rails.

modern kitchen cabinets by Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.

Corner cabinets, particularly blind corner cabinets (cabinets that extend either right or left into the corner and have only one face door), used to present design challenges and wasted valuable space. But not anymore — new corner storage systems maximize accessibility and organization. This sytem has trays with nonslip mats to keep items from falling off or slipping about. Wire rack systems are also available.

modern kitchen by Gene Sokol / Euroluxe Interiors

Here, a wire rack lazy Susan optimizes space in a traditional corner cabinet, allowing the user to rotate the shelves to bring items to the front of the cabinet.

traditional kitchen by Glenvale Kitchens

Drawers like these are another option for corners. However, they require some adjusment on how to pull them out, as they usually have pulls on either side of the drawer for aesthetics.

kitchen cabinets by Innermost Cabinets

Pullout pantries again offer the convenience of bringing the stored items into view and to you.

traditional kitchen cabinets by Heartwood Kitchens

This pullout for spices would be convenient located near the cooking appliance.
kitchen trash cans by Cornerstone Hardware & Supplies
Automatic opening systems are great for the trash or recycling cabinet. No more sticky doors and handles!

kitchen trash cans by Sheridan Interiors

For those who can afford the Cadillac options in their kitchens, Blum’s Servo-Drive Uno is a motorized system that opens with a simple tap of the drawer or door. This system goes beyond touch-latch and magnetic latch hardware, and requires early planning to accommodate the extra electrical circuits required to operate the system. This is the ultimate convenience for anyone who has mobility or dexterity issues.

kitchen cabinets by Richelieu

Upper cabinets always pose a challenge for anyone in a wheelchair, as well as for shorter individuals and children. The EZ-Down system allows the individual to pull the contents of the shelves down toward them for total accessibility.

kitchen cabinets by Richelieu

A tandem swivel pullout for upper cabinets, either for blind corner cabinets or traditional corner cabinets, again maximizes space and accessibility.

modern pulls by Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

One more thing to keep in mind: select pulls over knobs. Pulls allow any user the ability to open the door without having to grasp a small knob — something that’s difficult to do for those with arthritic hands or dexterity issues.

modern handles by KnobDepot

Also opt for handles that are sleek in design and that don’t have any elongated areas where clothing could get caught.These are just a sampling of cabinet fittings available to maximize efficiency, accessibility, safety and organization.