Cheap Ways to Make Your Home Handicap Accessible (and How to DIY)

Making a home accessible to guests with disabilities sounds like a challenge. More specifically; an expensive challenge. Mobility ramps, bathroom modifications, grab bars—that stuff is expensive, right? I’m here to tell you that making a home accessible for guests with disabilities is not expensive.

Temporary Home Modifications

For this article, the word temporary will refer to modifications that are easy to install and remove. The products we will discuss can be installed by anyone—no handyman required!

Modifying your home to be handicap accessible has never been easier and cheaper than it is now. We’ll go over some of the most common temporary modifications and what they can help with.

A quick note before we start: Permanent home modifications are expensive. If you need to modify a room for the long-term, you may want to seek recommendations from a doctor or physical therapist. If you need permanent modifications and don’t know where to start, give us a call or send us an email. We can help get you pointed in the right direction.

On to the modifications!

Temporary Bathroom Modifications

Toilet Seat Risers and Bars

Description: Toilets can be modified with a higher seat, side-handrails, or both.

Price Range: $10-$60

How to Install: There are two installation methods

  • Snap-on. These toilet seats are fitted for toilet bowls and snap or clamp on with a few twists. Make sure to measure your toilet bowl before making a purchase.
  • Screw-in. To install these toilet modifications, you need to do a bit more work. You will need to unscrew your current toilet seat, put the modification between the bowl and the seat, then screw the seat back on with elongated screws (don’t worry—they come with the product).

Suction Cup Grab Bars and Clamp-on Tub Grab Bars

Description: Suction cup grab bars can be suctioned to any tile surface, giving the user leverage anywhere it’s needed. Clamp-on tub bars provide a handle for bathtubs.

Price Range: $10-$50

How to install: We’ll go over each item

  • Suction Cup Grab Bars. Simply put pressure on the grab bar and apply the suction cup locks. Important Note!: If the tiles are smaller than the suction cup surface this is not safe. Always make sure the suction cups are secure before use.
  • Clamp-on Tub Grab Bars. Adjust the bar to the desired height. After the bar is adjusted, place it in the desired spot on the tub and tighten the clamp until it is steady.

Temporary Living Room Modifications

Chair Grab Bars and Couch Canes

Description: Chair and couch aids have large bases that rest under furniture, allowing users to put weight on them. Handles come in different styles, letting people get the fit they need.

Price Range: $50-$150

How to install: Adjust the base to fit your chair or couch. Slide the device under the feet of the chair or couch. Make sure the device is secure, then adjust the handle to the desired height and angle.

Security Poles

Description: A tension mounted pole that can go in any room in the house.

Price Range: $150-250

How to install: Unbox the pole and put it together (most models consist of less than 10 pieces). Make sure the bottom and top are correctly aligned. Move the pole to where you need it and crank it until it’s secure. Important Note!: Some security poles require screws to go in the base, top or both. Be sure to get a model that you can install correctly!

Kitchen Modifications

Reachers and Grabbers

Description: A hand-controlled clamp used to grab out of reach items.

Price Range: $10-$30

How to install: Open the box. That’s it! Grabbers are great if you are having a guest who is helping with cooking but unable to reach high shelves or cabinets.

Seat Cushions

Description: Soft cushions for those hardwood kitchen chairs. Cushions come in hundreds of shapes and styles.

Price Range: $10-$40

How to install: Unpackage the cushion, place it on the chair and secure any straps/locks. Most cushions just sit on a chair, but certain models need to be fastened a chair.

Outdoor Modifications


Description: Portable mobility ramps. Easy to carry, install, disassemble, and store.

Price Range: $70-$600 (purchase) $20-$50 (rental)

How to install: Make sure to have measurements of the door you plan to use with the ramp before purchase. After you are sure the ramp fits, place the top on the threshold and secure it. Important Note!: Some ramps require drilling. The holes are small and can be easily filled. Why drilling? The holes (2-4 in most cases) hold pins that will hold the ramp in place. Important Note 2!: Make sure you get the right length ramp. The rule of thumb for a ramp is 1 foot of length for every inch of incline. If you need more help, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help!

Car Canes and Handles

Description: Tools that offer leverage and stability while getting in and out of a car.

Price Range: $10-$30

How to install: Car Canes require no installation—they can be stored in the glove box when not in use. Car Handles (or Caddies) wrap around the top of a car door. Once secured, they are able to support passenger weight and assist with getting in and out of the car.

More Cheap & Easy Handicap Home Modifications

There are many ways to make your home handicap accessible for short-term situations. The accessibility solutions featured in this article help fix the most common issues at home. If you have more specific needs or questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email.

If you want to see any of these items in person or test them out–stop by the store anytime! We’re open 7 days a week.

Written by Wil Anderson

Wil has been working for Oswald's since 1994. A 6th generation member of the Wickel-Oswald-Kester-Anderson family, Wil focuses on web development, inventory, and sales. With over 10 years of experience selling durable and home medical equipment, Wil is an expert on helping people find what they need to use after major surgery or an accident. Wil graduated with a BA in English Literature from Knox College in 2008, minoring in History. A graduate of Naperville North High School in 2004, Wil is a lifelong Naperville resident and is currently a columnist for Positively Naperville.