As you go around your house fixing things up and changing things as you upgrade and repair your surroundings, you may overlook one of the items that you really should change: doorknobs. Instead of keeping the classic round knob, install a European-style lever on each door instead. It might not seem like a big difference to you, but leversets are much easier to use and also fulfill legal requirements if you want to make your house more disability-friendly.

They're ADA-Friendly

Levers are much friendlier in terms of accessibility. A round doorknob can be slippery or hard to grip, while a lever-style handle is so simple to use that the person using it doesn't even need to grip it. If you're truly trying to make your home conform to ADA guidelines, you'll also need to be aware of the height at which you install the handle and how far the handle sticks out from the door.

You Can Open Doors Even If Your Hands Are Full

The lever-style handles are actually helpful for everyone in the house. If you have your hands full and need to open the door to a room, all you have to do is press down with your elbow on the handle. If you've hurt your hand and can't grip a round doorknob, you can still use a handle. The only thing you really have to watch out for is catching clothing on the lever as you pass by.

Your Pet Might Learn to Open Them

There is one disadvantage to using a lever-style door handle — your pets could learn to open the door. After all, all they have to do is jump up and hook a paw around the lever as they fall back to the ground. If you have pets and you install these lever-style handles, you'll need to either train the pets to avoid the handles or lock the doors of rooms where the pet is left unsupervised. Another possibility is leaving a round knob on the door to a room where you leave the pet if the pet usually stays in one part of the house.

These leversets are available in stores, and you can get specialty types (such as for commercial establishments) online. Use them along with deadbolts and be sure that if the lever has a lock on it, the lock is easy to grip, too.

For more information on ADA-compliant hardware, contact a supplier near you.