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Universal Design: Interior Design Considerations

At Sugatsune America we build our hardware according to the principles of Universal Design. We maintain thousands of products for interior use and frequently work in accordance with Universal Design interior design guidelines.
Under Universal Design, furniture components and hardware control mechanisms need to be accessible and easy to use for as many people as possible, in as many situations as possible. The key goals are:
  • Conceptual intuitiveness
  • Flexibility and ease of use
  • Tolerance for user error/imprecision
  • Physical accessibility

Who It Helps

Universal Design directly benefits two groups of people:
  • Those with physical limitations or disabilities: Accessibility can make the difference between being able to use a space or not.
  • Workers in fast-paced environments: Efficiency boosts productivity, and ergonomic design reduces the risk of injury.
Keep in mind that good Universal Design interior design accounts not only for the day-to-day user, but for the people installing and maintaining the hardware as well. Their job should also be as convenient for them as we can reasonably make it.

Interior Design Principles

When adhering to Universal Design, interior design considerations should focus on hardware that affects the user experience directly:
  • Control hardware that users need to physically handle to complete a task.
    Examples: knobs, pulls, handles, buttons, locksets, folding brackets.
  • Functional hardware that helps facilitate safe movement or openings
    Examples: sliding door systems, self-closing hinges, lift-assist hinges, lateral opening door systems

Things to Consider

Universal Design furniture components and hardware control surfaces and facilitate “easy” movement without requiring finger dexterity or excess strength and should be easy to understand just by looking at them.
Universal Design interior design guidelines call for these surfaces to be easy to grip—neither too large nor too small, nor uncomfortably shaped or textured. Engaging them should require the minimal necessary strength, dexterity, and fine motor control while making accidental engagement difficult or impossible. The operation should be smooth and predictable. There should be ample clearance for the user to complete the task without needing to contort into unusual positions.
Lastly, under Universal Design, furniture components and hardware should be flexible and help provide safe and easier access for more people.
Our Lateral Door Opening Systems are a great example as cabinet doors open in a way that there is less space required to open a cabinet door. For those on crutches or in wheelchairs, no longer do they have to back away like they would with traditional cabinet doors.

Get Our Universal Design E-Booklet

To learn more about Universal Design concepts, download our free e-booklet:


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