It’s rare to find an interior design trend that serves the dual purpose of being both fashionable and functional. Universal Design goes some way to correcting this faux pas. In this blog we will be looking at tiles that can be used to fully embrace the wonder of Universal Design, the clean lines and unadulterated simplicity offered by ceramic and porcelain tiles, not to mention the versatility and ease of maintenance, make tile products an essential choice when exploring the concept of Universal Design.


But what is Universal Design? Universal Design is a term applied to a space which is conceptualised to have widespread appeal and accessibility for people; people of all ages, interests and abilities.

In 2020, and beyond, the key to creating architecture and interior design for people depends upon a holistic narrative that actually considers people across the spectrum of humanity. This so often has not been the case throughout history. For example, how many buildings still do not have ramp access? Even relative new builds. In residential projects, how many hallways are often too narrow, or how many doorways have thresholds preventing wheelchairs from simply moving between spaces. It’s still all too common.

Universal Design Tiles

A design that that truly embraces universal design has open rooms, wider hallways, less doorways and safety features such as adequate handrails on stairways.

The fantastic thing about Universal Design as a trend is that it won’t ever go out of style. It’s a trend that has grown massively in popularity because it is a trend that looks to the future and is fully adaptable to whoever may occupy the space, at any period in time. Not only this, but from a purely aesthetic point of view, Universal Design embraces the highly sought after clean, organised, and minimalist stylings that so many people love. It’s a design mode which provides beauty and functionality hand in hand.


As Universal Design will often be married with minimalism, the tile selection should, as closely as possible, reflect minimalist sensibilities. When looking at flooring we recommend a simple colour palette (cream, grey or beige), but perhaps of more importance is the quality and type of finish. Often Universal Design will lend itself more to a matt finish tile – particularly for those people who may have difficulty or require aids in walking. Non-slip tiles are hugely important.

Universal Design Tiles

The other essential design consideration when it comes to floor tiles relates to the threshold between spaces. There should be none. It is vitally important to consider using the same tile for the entire project. Ceramic tiles are the ideal choice for the continuous flooring concept as they have the versatility that ensures they are appropriate for all rooms and spaces. Using the same tiles throughout the project creates a beautiful sense of flow and continuity between spaces.

Another reason for the use of tiles is that they negate the need for carpets or rugs, which are not only hazardous for their potential to trip somebody up, but they are also dust and allergen collectors. People choose rugs often to add some homeliness to spaces, but in truth they often make spaces feel more cluttered, and will serve more to negatively impact the total aesthetic rather than add anything positive.

Universal Design Tiles

Tiles are both durable and scratch-resistant, so the use of rugs for protection is not necessary. Tiles are built to deal with traffic, and they provide a surface ideal for use by wheelchairs too. We recommend in Universal Design that the larger format tile options are selected to cut down on grout lines for ease of wheelchair use, but also to really accentuate that minimalist look, the less grouting the better.

Universal Design is a trend that continues to grow, and those that embrace it often have a long term vision when it comes to the success and positive impact of their project. Now ids the perfect time to embrace the virtues of Universal Design, adding long term value, flexibility and sustainability to design. For the tiles needed to fully exploit the value of Universal Design, contact us here for all project enquiries.