For those with a disability, design dramatically affects how they interact with the world. Seemingly small choices can improve quality of life. Take the height of a sink, for instance. For a person using a wheelchair, the height and construction of a vanity can make washing their hands an impossible task. Pottery Barn has just launched a furniture collection with this type of accessibility (and beyond) in mind. Geared towards the elderly, injured, and those living with disabilities, the company is one of the first large home brands to create an accessible furniture line.
Pottery Barn adapted 150 of its best-selling styles to make them easier to access, offering better mobility and comfort with a touch of a button. Its designers were guided by the Disability Education and Advocacy Network, an organization led by people with disabilities, as well as designers who specialize in designing for disabilities.
By combing the chic aesthetic of Pottery Barn with expert guidance, people who need modifications will now have access to the same stylish pieces. “We wanted to adapt our vernacular, our beautiful reclaimed-wood finishes, to these products,” Marta Benson, Pottery Barn’s president, explains. “You shouldn’t have to compromise design to have this functionality.”
Adapting some of the products were small tweaks. Mirrors, for instance, can now tilt. But there were some much larger changes for other pieces. Some of Pottery Barn’s most popular armchairs now have the ability to tilt and move in every direction. In doing this, the chairs are easier to get in and out of, and they relieve stress on the body.
The inclusive design comes with a caveat; the price point of Pottery Barn can be restrictive for many, particularly those with disabilities who historically have lower incomes. But there is reason for optimism. By the company developing its line of accessible home products, it will hopefully signal to other retailers to create furniture that’s both stylish and inclusive for people with different abilities.
Check out the entire accessible home Pottery Barn collection here.