How to Adapt Your Home if You’re Blind or Visually Impaired
As a blind or visually impaired person, it’s incredibly important to keep your house safe and comfortable to suit your visual disability. Adapting and making your house more suitable for you will make it easy to continue on with your day in a fun but safe manner. Here are some techniques and ideas to adapt into your home to suit your visual needs.
By increasing, adding, and changing the lighting in your home, you are capable of moving around safely and are able to see more vividly.
1Use 3-way light bulbs. A 3-way light bulb is a bulb that is capable of producing three different levels of light.  Traditional 3-way bulbs will also produce light at increasing levels of illumination. Most of the time, the light bulbs in your lamp produce a lot of light than necessary, or produce a small amount light, both making it harder to see. 3-Way light bulbs can help you adjust the level of brightness that suits your needs. 
Place lamps around places you work. Whether it’s on your desk, reading area, on your kitchen counter, where you sew, or the place where you iron clothes, place a goose-neck lamp next to your work space so you can increase light and make it much easier to see when doing a certain task. 
- Many companies have lighter light bulbs, which create natural daylight, and can be very helpful to someone with a visual disability and needs light in their work areas. 
Place special lighting over the staircase. If you have a staircase, placing lighting over it such as strip lights  or wall & step lights  make it easier to go up and down the stairs safely.  You can adjust the lighting to the brightness that suits your visual needs by adjusting the settings.
- Place lighting over the places on the staircase where accidents are more likely to occur. 
4Install lights in the closets. Consider installing easy lights to switch on and off in a closet. It’s highly recommended to install certain lighting in the closets you frequently use on a daily basis, such as your closet of clothes or a closet of all your sport equipment.  Lights in the closet will make it more trouble-free to search for the tools you need, and can also help you place and store items in the closet as well. 
Ensure you can easily switch on and off lights. Make it simple and less complicated to identify where the light switch is. You may want to consider installing railing to make your way safely to the light switch. It might also help to place tactile marks on the light switch so you can identify where it is easily. 
- Make sure there are no obstacles that prevent you from switching the light on or off, as this can cause you to trip and hurt yourself. 
Use nightlights. Nightlights are small and bright, making it easy to see and roam around. You may want to consider placing a nightlight in the bathroom, hallway, and in your bedroom.  Some type of nightlights you may consider picking out are: 
- Wireless nightlights. These nightlights are easy to move around to the places that need light without a cord or plug.
- Switchable nightlights. These nightlights are easy to plug in without a cord or plug, making them small, mini lights for places like your bedroom or hallway.
- Lava lamps. These nightlights are shiny and bright, helping you to identify where you are, and are perfect fits for a bedroom.
- Plasma lamps. Just like the lava lamps, this nightlight is shiny and bright, and is a good keep to place in your bedroom to help you see better. The light provides many colors and movement so it’s easy to identify clearly.
7Increase the amount of natural light. This may be as simple as replacing the blinds or curtains, or installing more windows in your house. You may want to consider installing large windows so more natural light comes into your house.  When choosing blinds or curtains, pick out the mini blinds and choose light curtains so natural light can enter your house easily. Avoid heavy, thick curtains or blinds as this prevent natural light from coming in. 
8Improve the control and level of artificial lighting. Ensure you can easily reach light switches from doorways and from your bed. You may need to move certain light switches around to make it easier to reach, and easier to switch on and off.  Consider installing light switches an picking out lamps that allow you to change the brightness settings so you can pick the setting that suits you.
Place lights in places that will give you direct light. For example, you may want to fix a light underneath a cupboard, so that the light shines directly your work area where you prepare food. Install lights in areas that can easily give you direct light, especially in important spaces where you work and do tasks.  Examples include in:
- Your sewing area
- The place where you read.
- The computer area
- The place where you do your make-up.
- The area where you write or type.
Eliminating hazards around your house will prevent unintentional accidents from happening, making your house safe and easy to roam around in.
1Close closet doors, cupboards, and drawers immediately after usage. For your safety, always shut any doors from the cupboard, drawer, or closet to avoid any accidents from happening. After you open something, immediately close it after use, and do not leave it open. If you live with multiple people remind them to always close anything after use for your own safety. 
Clean up spills right away. Accidents and spills happen, but they should not be left alone. If you spill a liquid on the floor it should be immediately cleaned right away. It can be really dangerous leaving the spill there with your visual disability, possibly making you trip and fall over. 
- If you live with multiple people remind them to always clean up if they have caused a spill for your own safety.
3Pick up objects that you could trip over. Ensure the house is always clean. After you have done a task (e.g cooking, woodwork, sewing, etc) always pick up after yourself and store the materials in a proper place for later. Trash should be picked up and thrown away. If there are certain objects that must remain there, place railings to identity where they are. 
Mark the thermostat with brightly colored tape. Using brightly colored fluorescent tape, tape small strips of tape on the settings you typically use. This can prevent you from mistakenly changing the temperature up to high or too low. 
- You can also stick strips of tape near the spots that you do not usually use. That way when you try to place the thermostat on you’ll know what not to click. 
Keep it safe outside. Repair trip hazards such as broken paths or fencing. When it comes to being outside, there are times when they’ll be hazardous spots like broken paths or fencing. Ensure these are immediately fixed to prevent an accidents from occurring. The pathway must be completely fixed, easy to walk on, with no cracks. The fence should not be leaning forward or broken, it should be completely straight and fixed neatly. 
Fix any house hazards. The floor, windows, countertops, gutters, roof, cupboards, drawers, pipes, and carpet should all be in check. There should be no cracks, holes, or loose placements in your house as this can cause an accident. Make sure everything is in check daily. Have a sighted friend or family member check your house daily to ensure that there isn’t something that could leave you getting hurt.  Examples include:
- Cracked windows
- Loose carpet
- Pipes with holes
- A leak in the ceiling
- Broken handrails on a staircase
Organizing & Labeling Items
Organizing and labeling items makes it easy and less complicated to search for the tools you need around your house.
Find certain tools that can help you organize and label. Pick out tools and materials that make organizing and labeling easier for you. You may want to consider getting: 
- White 3 x 5 inch index cards
- Jumbo colored paper clips
- Colored adhesive labels
- Colored electrical or plastic tape
- Wide-tip markers
- Flair felt-tip pens
- Laundry markers
- Foam alphabet letters
- Self-stick magnetic tape
Keep items that need to be together stored near each other. For example, on a bookshelf, you may want the first shelf to have all the books and the second shelf for all the magazines. Storing items this way makes it less complicated to search for the things you need ahead of time.  Examples include:
- The top shelf in a closet having all the blankets, the second shelf having all the shoes.
- One box storing all your comics, the second box storing all your novels.
- One drawer storing all your socks, another drawer with all your shirts.
3Know how to label boxes. Try labeling your boxes using a braille labeler, if you know braille.  You can also write on the box using a tactile marker or 3D pen.  If you’d prefer not to, you can use your sense of touch to organize and label boxes by sticking Velcro, self-stick tape, or foam alphabet letter on the boxes to identity which box is which. 
4Place items on easy-to-reach shelves. If you reach for an item daily, it’s highly recommended to place the materials on easy-to-reach shelves so it can picked out easily without a hassle. Consider placing tactile marks around the shelf so you can identify where to reach. 
Know how to label and organize household supplies. On plain white 3 x 5 inch index cards, write the name of the household supply using a black wide-tip marker, a laundry marker, or a felt-tip pen so the letters can come out big and bold. Stick the labels by placing the label on the supply and wrapping it with a rubber band.  You can also: 
- Tie different-textured ribbons around the opening of a container.
- Place a different number of rubber bands around each container that’s different.
- Transfer items to different shaped types of containers.
Creating Color Contrasts
A color contrast is the difference between two colors  and makes it easy for the blind and visually impaired to see. Placing different color contrasts around the house makes it trouble-free to roam around.
1Install doorknobs that contrast in color with the door. Consider installing doorknobs that can contrast in color with all your doors. This makes it easy to locate where you need to open the door, finding your way easily. 
2Avoid upholstery with patterns. Avoid having too many checker-designs, swirly-line shaped patterns, and markings all over the house. This not only makes it physically difficult to see, but can also make it even harder to safely move around your house. Avoid floors that have checkered patterns, stick to basic wood floors or floors that are smooth. 
3Place light colored objects against a dark background. Placing lightly colored objects against dark backgrounds are much easier to spot for someone with a visual disability. For example, you can place a black switch-plate on a white wall, or a beige chair against a dark wood wall.  Color contrasting makes it easier to spot the object you need or are working with.
4Change the color scheme in your home to identify what room your in. Seems silly, but letting each room have a color scheme makes it easy to identity so you know which room you’re in. You may like your bedroom red, but then the living room green. If you have multiple bathrooms, you may want one bathroom to resemble a blue color scheme, while another bathroom could be brown. Color schemes not only make it easier to figure out the room you’re in, but also make it safer. 
5Paint door frames a different color to doors. To identify where the doors are and open them with ease, paint the door frames a different color than the door. If the door is black consider painting the door frame white. If the door is red paint the door frame yellow. The color contrast make it much safer to open and close doors. 
6Have brightly colored glass doors and windows. To see doors and windows with ease, buy brightly colored glass so they are able to see more clearly. Consider getting turquoise, red, dark orange, or purple glass so you can identify where the glass doors and windows are, which can be helpful if you need to open it independently. 
Glare is caused by sunlight or light from a lamp, and can make it difficult for a person with a visual disability to see when it hits shiny surfaces (e.g glass or polished tabletop, waxed or polished floors, TV screen, etc.)  Reduce glare in your house to avoid hazardous situations.
1Place mini blinds on the windows. Instead of regular blinds, use mini blinds to place on the windows. Mini blinds are a highly recommended window covering, because they can be altered during the day to eliminate glare. 
2Avoid using wax on the floors. When polishing the floors, avoid using wax as this causes glare and can be hazardous to walk on. Instead of using wax, use a flat finish to avoid the glare from appearing.  Flat finish does not reflect light and will not allow glare to appear.
3Turn the TV screen away. If you own a television, you can make it easier to see by turning the screen away from the sun or a lamp, so the light source is behind the screen and not straight at it.  This will prevent glare from producing.
4Choose only paints with matt finish. Instead of flat paints, matte paints are shiny and reflect light in a mirror-like direction, causing it not to provide glare. This can be useful to avoid glare from forming onto the walls. 
Consider installing an entry phone system so you can find out who is at your door outside before answering. 
Try installing doorknobs that are easy to see and grasp. 
Ask your visual therapist for different aids, gadgets, and methods which can help you to live more safely and independently. 
Consider installing rails and handles that are placed in rooms and corridors so that it can help you get around easily. 
Try installing smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide alarms to your house. Check the batteries daily to ensure they’re still working. 
- Ensure the lighting level is consistent. The lighting level must be consistent throughout the house so shadows and other dangerous bright spots are eliminated and removed. You may want to consider installing rheostats, which is used to control current. It’s able to control the resistance in a circuit without any interruption.
- Avoid keeping small throw rugs as they can cause you to trip.
Always keep floor lamps and small items (e.g magazine racks, low tables, plants, vases, etc.) out of walkways to prevent you from tripping.