Department of Health

To achieve non-slip, no-glare, low-noise and adequately colour contrasted surfaces, use the following strategies.


  • Observe people walking on different surfaces, including patterned ones, to determine if balance or pace changes.
  • Replace hard-surface floor coverings with high performance carpets and long-lasting flooring to reduce noise and glare.
  • Choose non-reflective finishes for long-lasting flooring.Do not use floor coverings with large patterns.
  • Think about the benefits of specialist acoustic solutions to reduce noise levels in dining areas.
  • Regularly maintain floors, especially in wet areas, to maximise useful characteristics of surfaces.


  • Clearly define walls against floors, doors in walls, door handles on doors and handrails on walls to minimise confusion and maximise independence.
  • Furniture and other objects in a room need to be seen easily against wall and floor patterns, textures and colours.
  • Use wallpaper or a wall finish other than paint in some areas to improve wayfinding, for example in kitchens, dining areas, sun rooms, lounge rooms and around entrances.
  • Provide appropriate levels of thermal insulation where walls and ceilings separate inside from outside or divide areas with different heating and cooling arrangements.
  • Avoid protruding corners and sharp edges at wall junctions as they lead to bumps, bruises and problems for wheelchairs.
  • Think about rounded corners and gently curving walls in the design of new buildings.
  • Think about long-lasting finishes like sheet vinyl for bathroom walls.


  • Think about acoustic ceiling tiles that are moisture, mould, mildew and bacteria resistant for bathrooms.
  • Colour and texture in ceilings can alter the feel of a space.
  • Slopes, recesses and dropped ceiling sections add interest.
  • Lower ceilings create intimacy. Higher ceilings create a feeling of light and space.

Reviewed 22 February 2016


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