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Colour Schemes


Photograph of colour and tonal contrasts on a wallCareful use of colour and tonal contrast within a building (ie. distinguishing floors, walls, ceilings and door frames using contrasting colours or light and dark tones of the same colour), can help people with disabilities to:

  • orientate themselves (ie. all walls within core areas containing stairs, lifts and WCs could be painted a particular colour)
  • locate goods or service points (ie. strong contrast to be used for items that project out from their supports, such as telephones and literature displays)
  • move around safely (ie. free-standing obstacles, such as tables and chairs, should be clearly visible and contrast sufficiently with the surrounding floor and wall furnishings against which they are seen).


The kinds of adjustments that you could make include:

Handrails

  • All handrails to be of contrasting colour/tone to the framework or building.

Ramps

  • Top and bottom of ramp to be easily distinguished by contrasting texture and colour/tone e.g. a contrast strip.
  • A continuous handrail on both sides of ramp of contrasting colour/tone where practical (a handrail must be provided on at least one side).
Photograph of stairs with colour contrasting edge strip

Steps

  • Establishments to consider using a contrasting colour/tone for stairs compared to the approaching floor finish.

Entrances

  • Door handles must be of contrasting colour to the door.
  • Doors and their surround must contrast in colour and tone to the walls.

Interior

  • High gloss finishes must be avoided as reflections of both natural and artificial light can distort images.
  • Avoid complicated patterns.
  • Interior decor must incorporate contrast between critical surfaces. Skirting boards, flooring and doors can be colour contrasted to aid orientation.
  • Visually impaired guests may find it difficult to locate the table when putting things down or their crockery when trying to eat if the table and crockery match.
  • Consideration could also be given to non-patterned tableware and the colour of food items and their contrast to the plate for reasons outlined above.
  • It is useful if the furniture is of contrasting luminance and colour to the floor.

Parking, Roadways and External Paths

  • Where speed bumps or other speed limiting devises are installed these must be clearly defined and in contrasting colour to the roadway.

Internal Passageways and Corridors

  • The end of the corridor must be highlighted for example by good colour and tone contrast between walls and flooring and a change of light.
Photograph of a lift door

Lifts

  • The colour and tone of the lift doors must contrast with the surrounding wall finish to assist their location.
  • Where an emergency phone is provided it must be colour contrasted.

Bedrooms

  • Interior décor - high gloss finishes must be avoided as reflections of both natural and artificial light can distort images.
  • Avoid complicated patterns.
  • Interior decor must incorporate contrast between critical surfaces. Skirting boards, flooring and doors can be colour contrasted to aid orientation.

Bath, Shower and Toilets

  • Where possible a contrasting background colour of taps.
  • Pull alarm cords must be in reach from the floor and coloured red.
Photograph of a wash basin with blue surround

Toilets, Washrooms and Bathrooms

  • Avoid an 'all white' finish to bathrooms and public WC's i.e. coloured towels, will assist where there are white fittings.

Enterntainment Facilities

  • Using coloured glassware and water jugs and contrasting coloured crockery to surfaces makes it easier for visually impaired guests to see what they are using.


Acknowledgement

The above information was collected from the following source:


Legislation


Further information:


Other information: