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IKEA releases furniture add ons for people with disabilities

This is the kind of hacks from IKEA that got me cheering. Just simple add-ons that make their furniture so much more accessible.

Couch leg extenders, extra large light switches, easy grab handles may not appear like jaw-dropping hacks but they make IKEA products more usable by people with disabilities.

“Accessibility can mean many things for companies,” said Yuval Wagner, president and founder of Access Israel, one of the nonprofits in this collaboration with IKEA. (The other partner is Milbat.)

In an interview with The Washington Post, he said, “That can include designing websites that are navigable for people who can’t see or phone lines for those who can’t hear. For a furniture retailer like IKEA, that means designing products that work for all shoppers.”

This initiative definitely reflects the brand’s mantra to ‘create a better everyday for the many people’.

The project started with a hackathon at their Tel Aviv store. It brought together engineers and people with disabilities to brainstorm and work on ideas.

This was an essential step for IKEA to gather insight into how people with disabilities interact with furniture. From there, they developed 13 products in the ThisAbles project.

The add-on products are designed to fit at least one popular IKEA product. IKEA Israel has offered them as free downloads, accessible from anywhere in the world. With the files, you can then 3D-print them at home or at a local 3D printing hub.

Let’s take a closer look at ThisAbles furniture add-ons

Sofa lift with leg extenders

IKEA ThisAbles furniture add ons accessibility for people with disabilities

A sofa leg extender for the KARLSTAD sofa. Slip them over the regular KARLSTAD legs and they raise the sofa height making it easier to get up from.

Mega Switch to turn on or off

IKEA ThisAbles furniture add ons accessibility for people with disabilities

Slip a larger printed switch over the existing push button to make it easier to hit the on-off button.

Easy grip for shower curtain

IKEA ThisAbles furniture add ons accessibility for people with disabilities

Curtain Gripper makes it easier to grab and draw wet slippery shower curtains.

Large handles for PAX wardrobes

IKEA ThisAbles furniture add ons accessibility for people with disabilities

Easy Handle allows PAX wardrobe doors to be opened with the forearm, instead of fingers.

Bedside hooks for cane
IKEA ThisAbles furniture add ons accessibility for people with disabilities

Cane By Me are genius hooks that can be fastened on the bed frame and allow a walking stick to be kept close to the user.

A few others in the ThisAbles accessibility designs are:

  • Friendly Zipper — Attach the extra large ring to any zipper to make it easier to zip and unzip
  • Glass Bumper — Fix onto glass doors at the height where they might be hit by a wheelchair
  • Insider — Insert this angled mirror into high shelves so that their contents can be seen from below

Watch the entire ThisAbles product playlist here and visit ThisAbles website for the full list of accessibility furniture add-ons.

Well done, IKEA Israel. May I suggest, in time to come, these furniture add ons be added as actual products (or a print-on-demand service) in all IKEA stores? 3D printing is still not as easy or affordable in many countries. Let’s go all the way to create a better everyday for the many people.