Barrier-free shower area in a patient room

Universal design in the shower: Comfort and support for all

Universal design plays an essential role in promoting inclusive and sustainable societies. The design concept improves the quality of life and social participation of all people living in our community. Architecture, interior design and product design are decisive factors that contribute to the realisation of the inclusive approach. However, in order to make publicly frequented areas and privately used rooms equally accessible to everyone, there are a few points to bear in mind.  In this article, you will learn how to design a shower according to universal design aspects and what advantages this brings. 

Universal design: An overview 

The philosophy of universal design focusses on people and their individual needs and is an important building block for breaking down barriers. Keywords such as independence, flexibility, intuitive use and low physical effort characterise the design approach. This has an impact on the design of furnishing concepts and products. Universal design solutions offer comfort and support for every user – regardless of their physical and mental abilities, age, weight or size.

Shower design in the spirit of universal design: The advantages

A shower that is conceived according to universal design aspects fulfils the needs of all users. It offers both comfort and flexible support when needed. It also offers other advantages:

  • Safety

Safety in the bathroom is essential for everyone – whether in the shower, at the toilet or washbasin. Universal design products consider safety right from the start and implement equipment concepts that directly minimise potential hazards. Wet, slippery surfaces or excessively hot water temperatures in the shower harbour potential dangers for everyone. This can be remedied with grab rails and special thermostats with scald protection.

Our support rails give your customers a feeling of safety in the shower. Especially in hazardous situations caused by wet floor coverings or greasy residues from shampoo, soap and the like, these solutions might well be the only thing standing between the user and a serious fall. Slip-resistant floor coverings offer a further safety benefit here.

The L-shaped support rail is an ideal handhold option, enabling both vertical and horizontal gripping and thus offering maximum holding comfort and support. Thanks to the vertical and horizontal arrangement, the solution offers secure handhold and support both when standing and sitting.

The HEWI shower thermostats in the Safe Touch version feature a hot-water lock that prevents scalding as well as technology that cools the mixer body from the inside out. This keeps the surface at a pleasant temperature and prevents injuries – particularly beneficial for unknowing children's hands. 

  • Accessibility

A level-access shower is not only accessible for everyone, it is also extremely modern and convenient.

Universal design showers ensure that, in the event of an accident, increasing age or a change in health, no costly and time-consuming conversion measures are necessary.

According to DIN 18040-2, the floor plan of a shower has to allow at least 120 cm x 120 cm to be barrier-free. This allows enough space to move around comfortably in the shower. If users with limited strength and mobility require aids or need assistance from carers, the generous proportions of the shower design mean this is no problem.

Our innovative magnetic shower holder also offers cross-generational showering comfort. The solution is designed according to universal design aspects and makes handling significantly easier. The product is characterised by easy magnetic height adjustment, by simply sliding the shower-head holder, intuitive one-handed operation, an infinitely rotatable cone holder and the absence of the widely used push buttons and rotary knobs.

  • Comfort

Mobile bath chairs and stools offer your customers flexibility and support wherever they need it. The products in our seat family impress with their modern design language and clever additional functions. In addition to chairs with an integrated towel rail and handhold options, a model with armrests is also available, increasing comfort and the feeling of safety in the shower. 

In addition to the flexible stools and bath chairs, our range also includes various types of shower seats. The range includes both permanently installed and mobile versions, some of which are available as a hook-in seat, hinged seat or a height-adjustable variant.

  • Flexibility

Universal shower design responds to people's changing needs and is therefore particularly versatile. It is adaptable in the event of illness, increasing age or changing life circumstances, thus minimising the need for conversion measures and adaptations.

  • Long-term and sustainable

Sanitary areas and product solutions in "Design for all" are designed for long-term use. Since they adapt to people's changing needs, there is no need to remodel or replace sanitary products. Thanks to the long life cycle of the products, these bathrooms can be used across generations.

  • Aesthetics

Aesthetics are an important aspect of universal design. With HEWI in particular, design and function form an inseparable unit. Thanks to their design, HEWI solutions fit perfectly into any ambience and do not stand out as a supporting product. Clear design language, innovative functions and the highest standards of quality and durability contribute to destigmatisation. The solutions in our System 900 impress with their modern design as well as their clever functions that enable barrier-free use.

Short and sweet: This is a must when planning

To ensure that the shower is a success for everyone, it is highly recommended that you consider the following aspects:

  • The shower should be level with the floor and accessible without barriers
  • Install slip-resistant floors and surfaces in the shower to prevent falls
  • Install support options such as handrails or support rails to increase the stability and safety for your customers
  • Integrate mobile and flexible seating options such as stools or bath chairs in the shower
  • Focus on clever products, that allow cross-generational use – what offers comfort today will offer support tomorrow
  • Install shelves at variable heights so that both seated and standing people can store their bathroom utensils
  • Make sure the shower has a suitable floor area that allows comfortable showering while offering sufficient space for aids or carers



Planning a shower? We’re here to help!

Do you need help planning a shower in line with universal design? Our HEWI planning service will be happy to support you in the realisation of your project. Our planning service is free of charge for you as planners and architects. Please contact us using the form below. We look forward to hearing from you.