Simple hacks for inclusive homes

There’s a lot of spaces that make you feel limited when you're disabled. Restaurants, shopping malls, workspaces are just a few of them. But, even in the comfort of their own homes, many disabled people can’t comfortably use their own furniture. Switching off a lamp or sitting down on a couch is suddenly a task instead of a natural and easy action. It doesn’t really make sense, does it? 

As the largest furniture retailer in the world, IKEA strives to create a better everyday life for as many people as possible. By pairing up with non-profit organisations Milbat and Access Israel, they’re reaching that vision sooner than later with the ThisAbles project. Now, people with disabilities, 10% of the world’s population, can make the most of their IKEA products using a series of simple add-ons.

Available through the ThisAbles website, users can download ‘templates’ and 3D-print a range of hacks for already existing, popular IKEA products. For example, the MEGA SWITCH that can turn off the RANARP lamp without the need for precise use of fingers. Or the STUFF READER that enables visually impaired people to quickly locate content on their KALLAX shelves. There’s even a FINGER BRUSH that makes it easier for those who can’t grasp a regular brush. 

“IKEA’s global vision is to improve the quality of life for as many people as possible.”

After being printed either at home or at a local makerspace, there are video tutorials to guide the user through the assembly process. And, if there's an idea out there for a product or a need that no add-on currently caters to, there’s the possibility of letting IKEA now. They can’t guarantee they’ll solve the problem, but they’ll sure try.

What started as a hackathon bringing together engineers and people with disabilities to work on ideas at an IKEA store is now a fully realised furniture shop for the disabled. The products can even be seen in a special in-store "accessible living space" at IKEA, and the ThisAbles project continues to evolve as IKEA grants people's wishes for add-ons.

Designers: IKEA, Milbat & Access Israel - Israel
UN SDGs: Good health and well-being & Reduced inequalities

ThisAbles from The Index Project on Vimeo. Music: Lee Rosevere