Suggestions for Enhancing Visual Contrast

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NARRATOR: Photos showing contrast in various home settings. In a kitchen.

BRYAN: This illustrates poor contrast with clear, or crystal glasses in a white cabinet. This illustrates good contrast with dark dishes in a white cabinet, and white dishes in a cabinet with dark shelf lining. Timers are available in high contrast, with dark letters on a white background or conversely, white letters on a dark background. Outlet covers and switch plates are also available in high contrast. Most people purchase switch plates and outlet covers that match their walls: white on white. But if you'll have contrast, it makes it much easier to plug things in, and to see where the switch plate is. Perhaps the best arrangement is to have a black perimeter with a white interior if you have a light wall, or conversely, a white perimeter and a black interior if you have a dark wall.

Cutting boards are also available with high contrast. They're reversible, so you can have a light side for cutting vegetables like zucchini, broccoli and other colored fruits, whereas the dark side can be used for cutting cauliflower, onions and other light vegetables. Normal silverware may not be of sufficient contrast to see it as well as you would like. You can either use shelf lining to enhance the contrast, or purchase silverware with high contrast handles, which really stand out. Items in a drawer or cupboard may be difficult to see, because of poor contrast. Things like a hot pad, or napkins that are white in a white drawer, are almost impossible to see.

NARRATOR: In a dining room.

BRYAN: Care should be taken to choose place settings that contrast in your kitchen and your dining room. For instance, if you have light dishes on a light place mat or table, they're hardly visible, whereas, if you choose contrasting, light dishes on a dark placemat or table, they're much easier to see.

NARRATOR: In a bathroom.

BRYAN: There are many ways to provide contrast in the bathroom. Little things, like choosing an outlet cover or switch plate that contrasts with the wall, different colored towels that contrast, a mirror handle that has contrast, soap in the soap dish that contrasts with the sink, the bathtub or the shower, a drinking glass that's a different color, and toothpaste on the toothbrush that has a little color or stripe. You can even position a towel or shower curtain behind your head as you're shaving or putting on your makeup, to provide contrast so you can see your face better.

There are many ways to enhance the contrast in your bathroom. Things like the contrasting garbage can against the flooring. A contrasting bathroom scale. Towels that contrast against the wall. A bathmat that contrasts in the bathtub or the shower stall. Grab bars and seats that contrast, and even soap in the soap dish that contrasts.

NARRATOR: In a stairway.

BRYAN: Contrast can be added to a stairway to make things more visible. For instance, a light handrail against the light wall is very difficult to see, whereas a dark handrail against the light wall is much easier to see. Similarly, stairs that have paint or tape on the leading edge are much more visible, and may help prevent falls.

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