Any sensory environment provides an immersive and truly unique experience for any user. Sensory room flooring is the perfect addition to any multi-sensory room, creating an extra layer of interaction and engagement. But with so many options to choose from, which option is the best for you? We discuss the different sensory room flooring types, including sensory interactive flooring, to make sure your sensory space is tailored completely to the user you had in mind.
This is a great all-around option for sensory room flooring because it is effective and very affordable. Importantly, it is non-toxic and shock-absorbing, which makes it ideal to avoid any bumps or injuries. It is soft underfoot and the surface creates good grip, which reduces the risk of falling. Even better, it's water-resistant and insulates the floor, which can help you control the room's temperature.
Foam padding often comes with jigsaw-style pieces, which means it can be lifted and moved, and often comes in colourful sets which can be switched around to suit the user's preferences.
Similarly to foam padding, vinyl mats are non-toxic, have great shock absorption and are usually quite thick and soft, but where vinyl mats come into their own is cleaning. While vinyl mats are somewhat less portable than foam as they can be quite heavy, they can still be moved should the need arise. Additionally, vinyl mats are waterproof, meaning that if there are any accidents on the mat, they can be wiped off very easily.
A bonus with vinyl is that you can also buy readily available toys and soft play equipment like shape sets, dens and stairs to provide some variation and fun. However, for some users (such as some people with autism), the typically bright and sometimes intense colours on vinyl mats and shapes could be overwhelming. To find out more about autism-friendly colours, please check out our dedicated blog post on this topic.
These are fantastic if you’re creating a multi-purpose sensory room, as when you’re done running around and jumping, they can simply be folded up and put away. This can also be used as an effective marker between different activities – for example, you can use the mats to encourage more boisterous play and jumping around, and putting them away to promote a calmer environment.
Fold-away mats are designed to be very portable but with this does come some drawbacks. These mats will typically be much smaller than bigger, sturdier vinyl mats and therefore cover less floor space in the room. As a result of this, if the edges of the mats are not flush with the floor they can form trip hazards for users who are running around or unaware of their space (such as those with SPD) and cause accessibility issues as well.
When considering vinyl peel and stick floor tiles as an option for your sensory room flooring, keep in mind that they are pretty much only geared towards decoration, not function – they are not shock-absorbent, so they won’t do much in terms of safety. However, they are versatile, easy to clean and removable, as well as being one of the much more affordable flooring options. Creating a path or ‘stepping stones’ with these floor tiles can also help improve key motor skills like balance, special awareness and hand-eye co-ordination.
Although they are liable to start to peel at the edges (which could cause a tripping hazard), they are cheap enough to be easily replaced and you can use that to change their placement as well. Peel and stick tiles mean that you can change your flooring around relatively frequently if you choose.
In this type of sensory room flooring, visuals are projected onto the floor. They can respond to body movement when detected by the state of the art overhead camera, allowing the user to project images, videos and even games.
One of the most beneficial and unique characteristics of interactive sensory room flooring is how accessible it is. With an integrated, interactive floor projection system, even those with limited movement can interact. The state of the art camera can pick up the smallest movement as the user interacts with the projected images, making it a truly unique experience for the user. The system can project on the floor or the ceiling, making it ideal for those in wheelchairs, standing or in a bed.
It is also an effective tool for soothing and calming. Stress levels can drop dramatically when using any sensory interactive floor's fantastic features, as it promotes both mental and physical relaxation. If users have trouble sleeping, the interactive floor projection system is a great tool for creating a calm and relaxing environment.
The sensory interactive flooring even has a portable version ideal for schools and other sectors. This has all the benefits of the integrated system but with the added bonus of being on wheels, so it can be moved from room to room to wherever it is most needed. With locking wheels and an integral camera head that can be lowered to accommodate door frames, this is a perfect solution for easily creating a sensory room in any space to best fit the users.
Area rugs come in all kinds of patterns or designs, including ones that help improve motor skills and educational ones. They’re softer than many other sensory room flooring options and provide more comfort, particularly if a user prefers to sit on the floor than run around. Using rugs can also mean that you don’t have to carpet the entire sensory room floor. Fabric floor coverings are more susceptible to collected stains or dirt than, say, vinyl, so having an area rug means you can remove it should it need cleaning.
Sensory room flooring is at the heart of any multi-sensory room or immersive learning environment and is key to creating a fun, safe and functional space for its users. If you would like any more information about sensory room flooring options or multi-sensory room design and products, please contact us. One of our friendly experts will be happy to answer any questions you may have.