Pottery Barn Debuts 150 Pieces of Furniture for People with Disabilities
Pottery Barn is behind this revolution in furniture and interior design. The company is coming up with around 150 functional furniture pieces designed to help out and smoothen the lives of the disabled and elderly.

The world is becoming simpler and more accessible for people with disabilities. This accessibility is flowing into the furniture world as well. You no longer have to be disappointed with high bathroom consoles and counters or even low sofas and beds that are difficult to get up from.

Pottery Barn is behind this revolution in furniture and interior design. The company is coming up with around 150 functional furniture pieces designed to help out and smoothen the lives of the disabled and elderly.

Solving a unique, but an extremely relevant problem, Pottery Barn will be one of the first big home brands to do so. The giant aims to launch a wide range of accommodating furniture—from office desks to dining tables.

One of the new office desk designs from Pottery Barn.

Even with shifting focus towards the accessibility factor, Pottery Barn is not leaving behind the style factor. Their furniture line is still authentically pleasing and attractive.

This new range of furniture is destined to benefit the parent company, Williams-Sonoma. The company generated $8.2 billion in 2021, and the new initiative is supposed to pump those numbers up.

Overall, this step by Pottery Barn will lead to a positive trend of accommodating furniture lines amongst its competitors as well. With the attractive returns Pottery Barn is expected to make, it’ll entice the rest of the industry to join in on the profits.

A dining room table design to be wheelchair accessible.

The inspiration for this furniture line comes from an interesting story. Marta Benson, the president of Pottery Barn, noticed that one of her showrooms had a bathroom that was not using Pottery Barn furniture. When asked why, the employees reported that Pottery Barn’s furniture did not meet the ADA standards. That is, the sinks were not wheelchair accessible. This information surprised Benson and she decided that this needs urgent fixing.

From that point on, she got to work. She made the designers modify even the most popular furniture items and make them accommodative for people with disabilities. She aimed to make the pieces safer, and easier to use and operate, even if you were differently abled. She even brought in experts from the Disability Education and Advocacy Network to guide her and the designers.

Shown above is one of the new sink designs from Pottery Barn.

Lisa Cini, a popular designer in the field of Alzheimer’s and long-term care, as well as the CEO of Mosaic Design Studio, was also invited to help out. She is known for renovating the 10,000 sqft Werner House to include complete functional and inclusive furniture. Height adjustable sinks, toilets, and transitions in flooring were used throughout the apartment.

Pottery Barn and Cini took inspiration from the Werner House to create the accessible furniture line. The idea was to modify existing furniture with minor tweaks to make them accommodative for the differently abled. For example, they redesigned a mirror to be able to be tilted. This helps wheelchair-bound people to easily shift the angle of the mirror.

Other furniture items required a great degree of changes and tweaks, like the adjustable power lift chairs. These were designed to make getting up and sitting down easier.

Shown above is an example of one of their power lift chairs.

The entire line of furniture is available at the same price point as their normal counterparts and looks just as stylish. Benson had noticed that most accommodative furniture looked clinical boring. She did not want the people to ‘feel like they live in a hospital.’

Benson mentions that while being for a beautiful cause, this decision will also be good for business. With an increasing number of people choosing to age in place, the demand for their new line will be consistently increasing.

Ami Hamraie, a disability studies specialist from Vanderbilt University, says it bodes well for the people that Pottery Barn is building inclusive furniture. Since the ADA focused more on public accommodation and employment, the home furniture remained unaffected with no obligation to follow ADA.

However, Hamraie points out a caveat. They said that Pottery Barn creates high-end furniture which might not be apt for the disability sector and have relatively lower incomes.

Despite this issue, Pottery Barn’s step will induce the rest of the market and inspire other home brands to make accessible furniture. While this will be beneficial for their business, it is an actionable step towards inclusivity of the elderly and disabled as well. This line might even flow to mass-market retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart.

The Pottery Barn team learned and grew a lot with the making and launch of this new and evolved furniture line. Benson says that is just one of the small steps towards their future innovations. She wants the company to build a greater bond with the disabled community further down the line.

Things To Do

Read More

Huntersville, NC

Huntersville, NC

Just North of Charlotte, Huntersville, NC is a mid-sized town with a population of 65,000+ residents settled on the Southern banks of Lake Norman. This man-made lake provides Huntersville with the status and advantages of being a lakeside community, including over 520 miles of shoreline.
Lake Norman, NC

Lake Norman, NC

At 34 miles long and over 520 miles of shoreline, Lake Norman is the largest man-made lake in North Carolina. It was named after Norman Atwater Cocke, who was the former president of Duke Energy for almost 50 years.
Southend, NC

Southend, NC

Southend neighborhood has had roots since the late 19th century, when it was developed as a mill village for the nearby textile mills.