For those with a disability, being safe in the shower is critical and with all that water and soap sloshing about having somewhere safe to sit is a neccessity. But can you have safety and style? YES you can! I’ve been scouring Instagram and Pinterest and good old Google for some fabulous afternatives to the ugly hospital style seats and there’s a lot of great stuff around – let’s take a look!
Folding Shower Seats
If you have a wet room that’s used by a person with a disability, and a person without a disability, a small folding shower seat can help support an #InclusiveChic design. Having an inclusive design allows all members of the household to shower as they prefer, sitting down, or standing up and doesn’t have to compromise on style. Long time readers of this blog know I’m all about inclusive design!
The beauty of folding seats is that they can be discreet when folded up, and you can get a variety of styles, colours, sizes and you can choose to have them with or without arms, or backs, or even legs. Some of them look so great when folded out you might want to keep it out and make a style statement!
It’s important with a folding seat that you review the manufacturer’s instructions on maximum allowable weight on the stool. Some of them have maximums of 100-120kg, however even then you need to ensure it’s bolted to wall professionally with sufficient fixings otherwise it can fall off wall. Mr Wheel Chic Home is much lighter than these maxiumum weights but he tends to land on a seat with a real thump as he can’t control his legs that well, and that kind of landing would put pressure on the wall fixings – so make sure you have a professional fixing the seat to the wall.
This folding shower seat designed by Motionspot and in the home of athlete, TV presenter and wheelchair user Ade Adepitan is small and discreet and fits beautifully in the peach coloured bathroom. There’s a handy grab rail nearby with a handheld shower (and rain fall shower over) and a lovely nook for all the bottles and lotions. Yes it’s white (we don’t always have to turn away from white!) and it really works well here.
This fold down seat belonging to Victoria is fitted to a frame, not to the wall – and is height adjustable which is fantastic, you may need to adjust the height if you’re having a good day vs a challenging day. Or you may have two people with disabilities in the home. Or it’s fantastic for the elderly too, to allow them to sit carefully in the shower. Here the arms also fold out for stability if you want them. I’d never seen one like this before but this popped into my Instagram feed the other day and I love it. Also isn’t the monochrome look a really great style statement for this small wetroom. The seat and arms fold away for ease of use by someone else and you can see in the photo the frame is really securely attached to the wall!
You can go with a simple white folding chair if that fits your budget or your design. This fabulous bathroom from Leafs At Home has a simple white chair with arms and legs for extra stability, but has gone for full wow factor with the patterned flooring and tiles. The plants everywhere and the bold door make a real style statement in this simple white shower to make a simply wow shower!
Roll-in Shower Chair
There’s no way to say this kindly, but the roll-in shower wheelchair is not known for it’s beauty! However it’s the most practical and useful option for many people who have difficulties transferring to a folding seat or needs the ability to move around their bathroom. The roll in shower seats also double as a commode, you can roll over the top of the loo for ease.
Shower chairs can be self propelled for independence, or can be pushed by a carer or partner. They can be pretty bulky and tricky to maneouver, they have a large turning circle and may not be suitable for smaller wetrooms, so keep that in mind when designing your space and the width of the shower area.
Shower chairs can come in different colours, white, grey, black. Of course you can also go for colour and spray paint the frame in a durable waterproof paint. If you want to detract from the chair but don’t want to paint it, go wild with the accessories and colours in your bathroom!
Jennie from Wheelie_Good_Life has gone bold with the accessories and the colours. The rest of this wet room is a bold dark green, with lovely textured wooden shelves and bold shower curtains, and all of these things help to distract a little from the chair. However this chair is great to move back into the bedroom without getting the day chair wet. No-one needs a soggy bottom!
Jo from WheelieLiving has a black and grey shower chair in her new wetroom, and has also gone with the accessories to help distract the eyes. I bet you’re looking at the fabulous tiles aren’t you, instead of the chair? I know I am! It works well for Jo and also fits in well with the design they decided on for the wetroom. Yet it’s still functional and safe for Jo to get around and to shower in style.
Friends of this blog, LeAnne and Derek Lavender, have a wonderful (and huge envy-inducing American size bathroom) with a white shower chair that echoes the design of the space and is also a chair that can be taken apart for travel as you can never be sure what facilities you’ll find in a hotel room or holiday let. It works well for their lives and helps Derek move from shower to the sinks or the loo with ease.
Built in Shower Benches
If you’re starting from scratch, a built in shower bench is a great idea to make use of the space you have. The benches are helpful for those who need to sit down to take a shower, as well for children, the elderly and for us girls to shave our legs easily! Multi-functional!
They are easily built in, plasterboarded, and tiled. You’ll be able to custom make it to the width and height you need, this can all be discussed with your bathoom designer, architect or therapist to make sure it’s right and safe for you.
Building a bench in can be an easy way to avoid additional seating and is useful in a small space. You can choose to tile them to match the walls, or the floor, or go all out with a stand out design with a teak top or a contrasting tile. They do need to be waterproofed for structural integrity and safety. The tile could make them a little slippy so make sure you pick a tile or surface with a high nonslip rating and have grab rails close by.
Sandra from Wheely_Love_Living and her husband have built a wonderful shower room, with a huge rainfall shower, grab rails close by and a contrasting tile to make the bench look like it should live in a boutique hotel room.
Another friend to the blog, Maegan from Blue Copper Design has designed a lovely enclosed shower space with built in bench, American bathrooms having the space they have allows for a door in this wetroom design to keep the rest of the bathroom dry and safe. It’s a lovely space, with easy access to a handheld shower and I love the simplicity of the design, especially that contrasting hardware. You don’t always have to go for a bold design if that’s not your thing!
I also really like this white design from Accessible Please. The simple white and grey design with contrasting seat top is lovely, and works beautifully with the rest of the bathroom which is a bold, dark, rich colour. It’s a classic design that’s not likely to go out of style any time soon. I also like the handy grab rails to help with transferring from wheelchair to bench and back again.
So there you have it! Cool, #InclusiveChic, adapted design ideas that suit all bathrooms and design sensibilities. You don’t have to be dull in the bathroom, treat it like any other room in your home – add artwork, a storage cabinet, bright bold towels and a plant or two.
There are other types of shower chair that I will cover in another post – freestanding wooden benches, portable chairs, shower beds, there are so many options. Watch out for that post coming soon!
Which type of seat is your favourite? Share in the comments below!