How to Design an ADA Compliant Bathroom

ADA compliant bathroom with Pendleton Pressure Balance Shower Set & Toilet Paper Holder in Chrome, & Nedel ADA Compliant Toilet ADA compliant bathroom with Pendleton Pressure Balance Shower Set & Toilet Paper Holder in Chrome, & Nedel ADA Compliant Toilet

With the emerging variety of accessible products, your bathroom can be stylish, functional, and safe for those with physical limitations.

What Are Common ADA Bathroom Requirements?

According to the United Disabilities Services Foundation, there are specific requirements to meet when designing an accessible bathroom, from usability features to pathway widths to the heights and distances of certain fixtures, such as:

  • The bathroom door handle should be single-lever and operable with one hand.

  • The toilet should be mounted 33-36" from the floor.

  • The sink should be mounted no more than 34" from the floor.

  • The sink faucet should be single-lever and operable with one hand.

  • Each side of the bathtub should have horizontal grab bars at least 24" long.

ADA compliant bathroom with Key West Two-Piece Elongated ADA Compliant Toilet, Beasley Single-Hole Bathroom Faucet in Chrome

This precise planning and measuring ensure seamless navigation and use of these often small, slip-prone rooms. You can find the UDSF’s complete checklist of ADA bathroom requirements, along with other rooms of the home, here.

Converting Your Bathroom For Accessibility

An accessible space can be created with a combination of ADA compliant items and items not labeled as ADA compliant when used carefully and properly. Even if not needed now, these additions and modifications could be helpful in the future, should you decide to age in place.

Use the following product tips to make your bathroom accessible for all and reduce the risk of accidents or injuries.

Grab Bars

Grab bars play a very important role in accessible bathroom design. They should be installed within reaching distance from the bathtub or shower, toilet, and any place where standing for long periods may cause fatigue.

It’s vital that grab bars be secured to wall studs or solid wood blocking behind the finished wall so that they can support adequate weight without damaging the wall and causing serious harm to the user. Accessible grab bars should be able to withstand over 250 pounds of force.

Contemporary Grab Bar in Chrome for ADA compliant bathroom

Look for ADA compliant grab bars, or those with a diameter of 1-1/4" to 1-1/2". They should be installed 33"-36" from the floor with a 1-1/2" clearance from the wall. Our ADA compliant grab bars are available in a variety of styles and finishes to complement bathrooms of all styles.

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Replacing a standard height toilet with an ADA compliant toilet is a smart, easy way to make the bathroom easier to use for people of all ages, with or without disabilities. Whole toilet seats are typically 14-15" from the floor, ADA compliant toilets sit a little bit higher, with seats 17-19" from the floor.

When shopping for an accessible toilet, look for models with lever handles, which provide ease of use for those with limited mobility. When installing an accessible toilet, be sure to allow plenty of room for grab bars and space to access from a wheelchair or a walker.

Carraway Two-Piece Skirted Elongated ADA Compliant Toilet in White

While bidets offer a host of benefits for all, they are especially helpful for anyone who struggles with mobility, as they eliminate the strain from bending and turning. For a seamless process, select a toilet with a bidet built in, or you can find bidet seats than easily install to your existing toilet.

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Eastpointe Corner Toilet with Bidet Seat for accessible bathroom design


In a handicap accessible bathroom design, you need a roll-in shower. A popular benefit of wet rooms, your entire floor should be one consistent level between zones to make daily routines as seamless as possible—this means no doors, curbs, or lips.

For optimal rinsing, accessible showers require a hand shower, with an ADA compliant hose at least 60" in length. Hand showers allow the user to reach any area with minimal bending and twisting. Those with an included slide bar offer added adaptability, giving the hand shower an adjustable height that is easy to change depending on the user or task.

Lentz Pressure Balance Shower System With Hand Shower and Slide Bar in Brushed Gold

An additional shower feature to consider is thermostatic and pressure-balanced mixing valves. Thermostatic valves mix hot and cold water to ensure a constant, safe temperature while pressure-balanced valves regulate water pressure and prevent fluctuations in temperature. Both of these are smart additions to an accessible design as they make it difficult to alter the temperature above or below preset levels.

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Sinks & Vanities

Console sinks are ideal for any accessible bathroom design, as the open space underneath provides knee room for seated users. Many styles are available with at least 34” of space below the fixture, required for meeting ADA compliant guidelines.

Wall-mount vanities can be excellent options as well, allowing a customized installation to the user’s preferred height. This vanity style also creates an all-around minimally invasive experience, hidden storage, and a unique floating effect.

36" Frey Wall-Mount Vanity with Undermount Sink in Gray Wash for ADA compliant bathroom

Keep in mind that the sink should be easily accessible as well. Take into account the height of the bottom of the sink basin and the overall height of the sink if installing a vessel style. For drying hands (and anywhere towels are hung), ensure towel bars are mounted 36" from the floor for optimal access.

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Lentz Towel Bar in Brushed Gold for accessible bathroom design


When converting a bathroom to be handicap accessible, consider seated bathtub options like Japanese soaking tubs. For users that are more comfortable sitting as opposed to laying down, these tubs allow anyone to enjoy a relaxing soak without sacrificing safety or comfort.

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51" Pelion Acrylic Freestanding Tub for ADA compliant bathroom


To increase the accessibility of your bathroom, install vanity mirrors no higher than 40" from the floor. This will give seated users the ability to use the mirror efficiently. If for some reason this is not feasible in your space, installing a full-length mirror in another location in your bathroom is great alternative.

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Tenaya Hexagonal Decorative Vanity Mirror in Black Powder Coat with Gold Gilding for bathroom accessibility

Cabinet Hardware

One final detail to consider in an accessible bathroom is your vanity’s hardware. While round knobs can be tricky to grip, opt for more straightforward options like drawer pulls or cup pulls. These are universally easier to use and available in endless eye-catching styles and finishes for completing a stylish and accessible space.

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6" Avignon Solid Bronze Cabinet Pull in Dark Bronze for accessible bathroom design
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For more ideas and inspiration, check out these articles:
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Aging In Place
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Custom Shower Buying Guide