Importance of ADA in Design

What It Is

The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, became a law in 1990. This civil rights act makes it illegal to discriminate people with disabilities. This encompasses every aspect of life: employment, travel, education. Basically, anything that would be involved in an able-bodied person’s daily life. Over 54 million people in America are considered to have a disability. In a different perspective, that’s every 1 in 5 Americans; the number is still growing due to events like births, accidents, war, and aging.

The ADA symbol

How It Effects Design

ADA guidelines effect everyone, not just the disabled. Have you ever taken an elevator, pushed a button to open a door, or biked over a curb ramp? Abled or disabled, these small features are ADA regulated, making life easier. When building a new home or public building, contractors have to follow regulated numbers for certain areas like the bathroom, entries, and walkways. This assures that if someone in a wheelchair comes in, they can comfortably maneuver through the place. Designers also have to keep this in mind. Planning furniture layouts and countertop and shelf heights should all consider the height and width of someone in a wheelchair living there.

An ADA complaint bathroom

Examples In Design

Now that you’re conscious about these rules, take a look to notice it in places you haven’t. Some examples in a public restroom would be the large stall with at least a 60″ diameter turn around space, a caved in sink ledge so a wheelchair could fit, or a lower than usual toilet seat. In public areas, you may have noticed the lower water fountain level, assuming its for kids. Nope, (well, maybe that too)! A parking space with blue lines signals disabled parking only, with cross walk space specifically for cars that need a ramp to be placed in order to roll out.

An appropriately wide walkway

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Paint Your Furniture! (No Matter The Surface)

A lot of people think they can transform the look of their dresser with just a layer of paint (which is typically a great idea), but be very careful! Sometimes, painting your furniture can do more harm than good because of the surface, the material, or the specific kind of paint. So, how do you know when it’s ok to paint and it’s not? Today, we’re going to use a dresser as an example to give a few helping hints for when you’re painting your home furnishings.

Starting the Process

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To begin, you’ll need to look at your dresser and ask yourself a few questions. How is the dresser structure? Do the drawers slide smoothly? Is it sturdy? How solid are the legs? We’re pretty much saying, don’t try to save a piece of furniture that isn’t worth it. (A.Clore hint: If it’s been in your family or an antique with sentimental value, we suggest not painting it unless you’re trying to completely restore it.)

Will the value increase as a restored antique?  There are some dressers that are so old (80+ years) they would really be better off restored to their original finish, but it depends on your own personal taste. Even if you don’t like the natural wood look, restoring one dresser to its original finish might allow you to sell it for enough to buy yourself a new dresser. Just something to keep in mind!

The Surface

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Consider the surface of the dresser. Is the dresser veneer, laminate or wood? For those who don’t know, veneer is a decorative covering of fine wood layered on top of a coarser wood or another material, like press board or something similar. Laminate is a layer of plastic over press board or something similar, and then there’s real wood, which is actually best for painting.

Prepare & Paint: Veneer

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To prepare veneer, start by making sure there isn’t any cracking or peeling. If there is, repair it with wood glue or another piece of veneer before painting. Clean the surface. (A.Clore hint: Wipe it down with dishwashing soap and warm water using a washcloth, but wring out the towel first. Make sure it doesn’t soak the surface, because it can cause damage to the wood underneath.) Sand it lightly, clean off the dust particles, and then apply primer. Now you’re ready to paint! Make sure you use at least two coats of whichever paint you choose to really make it last.

Prepare & Paint: Laminate

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Laminate is surprisingly easy. Many people will tell you to sand laminate before painting, but that can actually ruin the laminate. All you need to do is apply two coats of primer and then paint. Quick, fast, and easy!

Prepare & Paint: Real Wood

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If it’s real wood, just clean the surface and go to work. (A.Clore hint: we always choose Sherwin-Williams.)

So, there you have it. These are the three most common materials, so if you come across one that stumps you, just let us know! Have fun creating beautiful “new” home furnishings!

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Thank you for being an A.Clore Interiors Blog reader…..

Don’t forget: you can find us on Facebook – “like” us to keep up with the latest and greatest!

You can always find more design inspiration on our Pinterest and Instagram pages!

Connect with us on Google+ and LinkedIn

Visit our Website for more information on what we are about and how interior design can change your life!

Screenshot 2015-01-19 10.06.31