Accessible Bedroom Design Ideas

Sometimes, we just want our spaces to work for us without looking like they’re working for us–don’t you agree? I don’t want to feel like I’m living in a nursing home, even if I need many of the assistive devices you might find in that setting. When it comes to creating a home that works for you, I’m a firm believer in finding solutions that are a little outside the box, that reflect your personality and style, and that make your life with chronic illness or disability just a little bit easier.

With that in mind, here are some ideas I’ve gathered for bedroom design that works for you. While few of these designs were created with disability in mind, they have the potential to function just as well as an assistive device, with far more style.

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you purchase through those links. I post links to products that I have used personally, or that I feel might be helpful or useful to my readers. I particularly like to support small businesses, socially-responsible sellers, and other disabled/chronically ill individuals whenever possible.

Bedframes and Headboards

Image of wooden bedframe, with link to  CB2 website.
A wooden spindled headboard wraps around the side of the mattress. A solid wooden platform beneath the mattress is supported on four spindle posts.

Weakness and fatigue can make it difficult to get into and out of bed. Sometimes it helps to have something to pull on for support. If that’s the case for you, you might consider a bed with a sturdy wrap-around frame such as this one. The angled wooden frame gives you something to hold onto as you ease yourself into bed, and something to pull on as you stand up. The padded headboard on this particular bed is also great to lean against. If you will be spending considerable time in bed, it’s wise to look for something that can be comfortable in many positions, from lying to sitting.

Another option for support is a sleigh bed with wooden side panels. Look for something that leaves enough room to swing your legs onto/off of the bed, but that gives you something to hold onto as you do.

Image of wooden platform canopy bed, with link to Pottery Barn.
A wooden platform bed with solid wood canopy.

Another option to help you into and out of bed is a sturdy canopy bed. The posts give you something to grip as you stand or lower yourself into bed. Make sure you find something solid that can handle a little pulling. Having a sturdy platform also helps, so that you are lowering yourself onto a solid immovable surface.

If you choose a bed with a solid wood headboard, such as this one, and plan to spend a lot of time in bed, you might consider a wedge pillow or bolster to support your back when you are sitting. These can easily be removed when you are sleeping, but give you a little more comfort for extended periods in bed.

Image of a raised metal bed frame, with link to Firefighter Bed website.
A steel-framed raised bed, with black metal frame. A bed is made with beige comforter and taupe and beige patterned throw pillow.

Depending on your needs, it’s important to think about bed height. If you are a wheelchair user, consider a lower bedframe that allows you to transition easily from the bed to your chair. If you have issues with mobility, standing, or pain with bending, consider a higher bedframe that makes it easy to transition from sitting to standing.

Regardless of the bed height you need, it’s wise to choose something solid, sturdy, and something that is unlikely to shift when you are lowering yourself onto the bed. If you already have a bed and need to adjust the height to make it higher, consider using sturdy risers to raise the height.

Image of green velvet upholstered headboard, with link to IKEA.
A green velvet upholstered headboard, with white bedding.

As I’ve mentioned, if you spend a lot of time in bed it’s wise to choose a bed with a comfortable, padded headboard. This allows you to sit comfortably to read, watch shows, or do whatever helps you to pass the time as you rest.

There are countless options available, with varying price ranges. Look for something solid and sturdy, with support at an angle that is comfortable. In an ideal world, it’s great if you can find something washable or stain-resistant as well.


Image of console dresser, with link to Wayfair.
A low, wide console dresser is shown with blonde wood upper drawers and espresso wood lower drawers. All drawers have cutouts for easy opening and closing, and the unit rests on narrow light wood spindle legs.

Choosing a functional dresser depends largely on your individual needs. For example, if you are a wheelchair user, you might want to choose a piece like this one that is wide and low, so that all of the drawers are easily accessible.

If you find it difficult to open drawers, consider a dresser with cupboard doors that allow you to stack folded clothes on shelving. If you have pain or weakness, opt for drawers with handles that are easy to open without gripping small pulls. Notched, or cutout, drawers like these make it easy to slip a hand into the opening and pull the drawer open.

Image of armoire-style dresser, with link to Wayfair.
A light walnut armoire/dresser on raised legs, with tall line of drawers and long cupboard.

On the other hand, if you have trouble bending, have significant pain, or have stability issues, you might consider a taller dresser on raised legs. An armoire-style dresser can be helpful, since it minimizes the need to pull drawers open and puts everything in easy reach on shelves. Again, if you have pain or weakness, consider pulls that are gentle on your hands and easy to use without fine gripping.

While many stores offer these dressers new, both the low-slung console dressers and armoire-style dressers are somewhat of a vintage style. These pieces show up frequently in secondhand stores and consignment shops, and for a fraction of the cost of new pieces. Older pieces are often better made, too, and made of solid wood that stands up to wear and tear better than synthetic or composite woods. You can also think outside the box, and make media consoles, butler pantries, and Hoosier cabinets work for your clothing (and take a look at my ideas for accessible makeup desks and vanities).


Image of drawer pull mounted to underside of shelf, with link to Creating My Happiness blog.
A long drawer pull bar is mounted to the underside of a shelf, with a clothes hanger hooked over handle.

Typically homes in North America come equipped with built-in closets–which is a wonderful asset–but limiting to your ability to retrofit the space to your needs. Still, there are some simple things that might make your closet space more accessible and user-friendly.

If you use a wheelchair or struggle with wrestling clothes hangers onto a traditional clothes bar, you might consider something like this: long drawer pulls mounted to the underside of a shelf (just make sure they are mounted securely and able to hold the weight of several items of clothing). This allows you to hang your clothes at a height that is accessible for you, and lets you hang just a few hangers from each bar for easier access. This is also helpful if you are visually impaired, since multiple bars allow you to sort clothing by color or style to ensure your outfits match.

The open shelving above the hanger is also useful, so that you can easily access the things you need. This is a great place to store shoes, purses, or other things that can become trip hazards on the closet floor. Or, if you have difficulty bending, consider using the height of the shelf to your advantage to easily reach folded stacks of pants, shirts, or other clothing.

Image of wall mounted pants rack, with link to Remodelaholic blog.
A wall mounted swing-out rack with multiple bars to hold folded pants.

To avoid the difficulty of hangers, folding clothing, or opening and closing drawers, you could consider a wall-mounted rack like this. The bars allow you to easily slide pants (or other clothing) into place. The swing-out arms put garments within easy reach. And since this rack is wall-mounted, you can hang it at a height that is comfortable and accessible for you.

Image of a metal shelf, with link to Etsy seller.
A white wall holds a black metal shelf with metal bar across length of shelf a few inches above shelf. We see three pairs of shoes tucked behind the bar: beige and white athletic shoes, camel colored laced ankle boots, and black leather ankle boots.

When it comes to storing accessories, it helps to think creatively. Shoes, hats, purses, bags, and other things like that can easily become trip hazards on the floor. If you have wall space, consider hanging your shoes on a shelf like this that gives you easy access (for more ideas for shoe storage, check out my post about accessible entryways). Open shelving can be a great place to stack bulky items. Boxes and hooks are also great ways to collect purses and bags.

Accessibility doesn’t have to come at the expense of design and style. Look at pieces creatively, and see how they might be put to work for you!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: