Pocket doors: The wheelchair-friendly solution

When this student tried to enter the University of Illinois’s Union back in the 1960s, little did he know this image would become an iconic portrayal of one of the biggest daily struggles many wheelchair users face…

Unfortunately, 60 years on from the student’s experience, many houses still have doorways that are not wide enough to accommodate wheelchair users.

In fact, the average width of an internal doorway in the UK is around 75mm narrower than the width of an adult’s wheelchair.

To tackle this issue in new builds, regulations have been developed to ensure that all doorways have a clear opening of at least 850mm.

However, these regulations often create a different issue in that the large door can turn reduce a room’s accessibility.

A widened doorway requires a 900mm wide door which, when being opened into a room or corridor, can obstruct wheelchair access. The larger doors are also particularly cumbersome to open and close for anyone in a wheelchair.

The Motionspot team have a good solution to this and have recently completed a lovely project for a wheelchair user that incorporates sliding pocket doors as a space-saving solution.

Here are some photos of the pocket doors that were installed for the client showcasing it going from being closed to opened…

Pocket doors like these are a great design feature that can encourage accessibility for wheelchair users.

Not only are they great for maximising space, but they make it much easier for wheelchair users to move around, and can also provide better emergency access than other types of doors.

Through raising awareness of the benefits a pocket door can bring, many of the struggles the student in Illinois faced all those years ago can truly become a thing of the past.

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