Lefty Life: Why Homes Secretly Hate You
Southpaws may have the edge when it comes to tennis, boxing, and seeing underwater, but when it comes to home design, right-handers win almost every time.
After all, about nine out of 10 people are right-handed, so it only makes sense that most houses are designed with righties in mind. If you’re taking your home down to the studs, you could very well create a totally left-handed home.
Nowadays, most appliances can be adapted for your comfort, from fridges to faucets. And good designers and architects will be sure to ask you about your dominant hand when considering the flow of your home.
Here are 10 ways to make your house a little homier for the left-handed people in your life.
Entry and exterior
1. Left-handed doors. Depending on the layout of your home and the placement of your furniture, you may not have the luxury of choosing a left- or right-handed door. But when you have the option, the right, er, correct door can save you from the awkward, twisty, sidestepping entrances you’re making everywhere else.
How can you tell if a door is left-handed? Open the door and put your back to the hinges. If the door is to your left, score! It’s a left-handed door.
2. A left-handed sliding patio door. Which way you slide has everything to do with your dominant hand. A left-handed sliding door opens from the left on the outside. It takes some major DIY skills to reverse the direction of an existing door, so this will likely be a purchase, not a project.
3. Cabinet doors. We use our dominant hands when reaching for spices and cereal bowls. Think about this when ordering or updating your cabinets (and knobs), and it will make life in the kitchen flow much smoother.
4. Sink setup. If you can’t afford (or your landlord wouldn’t be thrilled with) a brand-new left-handed sink — the drainer should be on the left side for right-handed people and on the right side for left-handed people — there’s a lot you can do to make the dishwashing process more lefty-friendly.
First, if the dishwasher is installed to the left of the sink, yay! If not, you can still make the hand-wash-only items easier to conquer by placing a countertop drying rack to the left of the sink. The left side of the sink is also the best place for your soap dispenser and paper towel holder.
5. Lefty kitchen accessories. Did you know that southpaws are always stuck looking at the metric side of the measuring cup? If the chef of your household is left-handed, these clever kitchen tools are a must.
6. Side tables. On which side of the sofa do you put your accent table? The left, of course! Let your lesser half fumble for the remote control for a change. Or if you prefer having your dominant hand free, place the table on the right.
7. The “right” side of the bed. This just might surpass “shotgun” as the most important call you make in your young adult life. If you’re in a relationship, call the left side of the bed. As a right-handed person who sleeps on the left side, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rolled, overreached, and slapped my glasses off the bedside table.
8. The right vanity. If your bathroom has a double vanity, make sure you get the one on the right and claim as much of the space in between as possible for easy left-hand grabs: hand soap, water glass, toothpaste, etc. This also puts the middle drawers just in (left) arm’s reach.
9. Hand towels. It’s easier for lefties to grab a towel from the left. If you don’t have wall space to hang a towel to the left of your sink, consider a countertop towel stand. Or if you have a pedestal sink with zero countertop space, you can put a floor towel stand to the left of the sink.
Of course, every person is different. There will be left-handers who prefer their dish drying racks and side tables on the right and opt for the right side of the bed.
Then there are a lot of design situations where the decisions are made for you. It’s all about working with the space you have and doing what makes you the most comfortable in your home.