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Disabilities: Accessible Furniture

ADA Furniture Considerations

Though products can be designed to meet ADA guidelines, the federal government does not issue approvals or certify specific products as ADA-compliant, nor does any other body. The application, placement, and surroundings of the product within the space impact accessibility and usability.  Any company “certifying” products to the ADA is providing information about the product only based on its own interpretations.

What are some considerations for making your library space accessible and inclusive?

  • Purchase products that include features allowing for adjustment to an individual’s needs or comfort level
    • Adjustable desks/tables (standing/sitting): adjustable heights allow users to customize their experience in order to meet a variety of needs:
      • Some patrons may use more than one wheelchair (power chair or a manual chair) which can be of varying heights
      • Some patrons may want to recline, elevate their legs, or stand so adjustable heights can support all of these needs
    • Adjustable chairs (ability to easily move and ability to lock into place)
  • Table dimension considerations:
    • Height of surface between 28” and 34” above the finished floor
    • Minimum depth clearance of 25” or more under the worksurface (preference for 30-32" clearance to accommodate wheelchairs)
    • Width clearance of 30” or more
    • Desks must have 19" of knee clearance
  • Evaluate:
    • Ease of approachability and maneuverability within the space
    • Ease of manipulation of knobs, handles, or adjustments
    • Interior spaces
    • Entrances, parking areas, and restrooms 
  • Approach, accessibility, clearance, and maneuverability need to be assessed holistically within the space.

Accessible Furniture: School Outfitters

Furniture Considerations to Welcome and Support Neurodiversity

Sensory Seating/Positioning

Individual Bean Chair: Southpaw. This chair has been sized down to fit a single child. The gentle rocking movement offers soothing proprioceptive input and the high sides help enhance body awareness.

red bean chair that allows a child to rock


Analogy Rocker: Southpaw. The Analogy Rocker offers the movement students need to stay alert and pay attention, in a safe and non-disruptive way. This chair is great for reading and collaborative learning discussions. While all students can benefit from the calming and organizing motion of the Analogy Rocker, children who have specific sensory needs may show an especially positive response. 

Analogy rocker from Southpaw

Fitball Wedge: Southpaw. The FitBALL Wedge tactile seat cushion is inflatable, which makes this seating option one of the most versatile on the market. This inexpensive product offers the active child a more comfortable learning environment.

ADA Furniture Considerations

  • Designers should be aware of standards including, but not limited to:

    • All door openings meet or exceed 32” clear width and 80” vertical clearance

    • All operable door handles located between 34” and 48” above the finished floor

    • Handles, pulls, latches, and locks can be operated with one hand and do not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist to operate

    • Doors require enough space for maneuverability for entrance, exit, and turning

    • Forces required to fully open doors does not exceed 5.0 pounds (force requirement does not apply to latching bolts or other devices that hold the door in a closed position)

  • The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design and other information about the Americans with Disabilities Act can be found at

Accessible Furniture: Spectrum Industries, Inc.

Accessible Furniture: Vari

The Human Solution: Inclusive Furniture

Accessible Workstations

Considerations for workstations: 

  • Computer monitors should be placed on articulating arms so that the user can adjust them to an appropriate height.
  • Keyboard trays also promote good ergonomics but make sure that you still have the required knee space.

Vela's Independence Chair