Five things to consider when designing a Sensory Room in a Hospital or Therapy Centre

Hospital, school, or specialist occupational therapy centre - we work with organisations across the UK to ensure they have the right set up to provide life-changing therapy to children that need it.

Whether you need a Multi-Sensory Environment, a Sensory Integration space, soft play area or a time out zone, our team can help.

We work with you to understand your space and the needs of the children who will benefit from the area. By working in a collaborative manner, we can take the time to understand your unique requirements to create a safe and functional space that  provides truly effective treatment for children who require sensory therapy.

Mike Brooke, who is National Sale Manager at Southpaw, works with companies every week who want to install a meaningful sensory room. He says: “Nothing gives me greater pleasure than completing a brand-new sensory room design project and seeing the reactions of both OTs and their clients, and even their clients’ families when we first open the doors.

“It’s a really special environment which can bring a whole new dimension to sensory integration therapy. And that’s why I'm so passionate about it.”

Click here to take a look inside a sensory room from us and experience it for yourself!

There are some key steps to take to make sure you get things right when it comes to designing and implementing your dedicated room. We’ve outlined some below to get you started.

#1 Requirements

What is this sensory space going to be used for? Is it a brand-new space, or are you revamping an old space? What do you want to achieve from the room and are there any key pieces of equipment you need installing or to feature in the overall design?

These are all questions that need to be considered before you start looking at design, equipment, and lighting options. Getting the desired outcome objectives confirmed at the start of the project can help guide the design and help you make the right choices.

Talk to your occupational therapists, teachers and parents to understand what they’d like to see and what they feel would be beneficial too, in order to provide the very best care and therapy to their students or patients.

#2 Space

How much space do you have? This not only refers to floor space, but ceiling height, too. Obviously, the size of the room will determine how many different areas or zones you can have, and the ceiling height will have an impact on the type of equipment you can install, such as swings and climbing walls.

The best part about working with knowledgeable sensory room designers is that you can work together to make every square inch within the room matter, maximising the type of support you can provide and the way in which you can work with children to change the way they interact with their surroundings.

#3 Setup of the room

Considering the setup of the room is also important. Ensuring doors, windows and radiators are considered is key, and organising equipment and workable areas accordingly. You also need to consider load bearing structures, and whether you will be able to attach swings and other equipment to the ceiling. These factors may limit or guide which equipment you can have in the room, and how many pieces.

Fortunately, the wide range of products and equipment available to occupational therapists for Sensory Integration Therapy is vast, and many can be applied in such a way to deliver the same sensation and reactions in children. As with your  space and requirements, we have worked in rooms of all shapes, sizes and setups, and will be able to advise you on the best decisions to make in order to safely make the most of your space, without compromising on outcome.

#4 Skilled OT team

If you are thinking about creating a sensory room, it’s essential that the subsequent therapy is delivered by skilled and qualified occupational therapists. OTs have undergone years of training, qualifications and courses in order to use the sensory equipment that features in these facilities. There is no one-size-fits-all therapy, and each child will require equipment to be used different in order to support their development and help them develop essential skills and environmental awareness.

By working alongside OTs, you can understand what they need or want from sensory integration setups, and make sure the equipment you choose to install can be teamed together to provide more advanced or in-depth therapy experiences.

Here at Southpaw, this is something we are passionate about when talking to organisations about transforming rooms into sensory spaces so you can get the best results from your investment.

#5 Ongoing support

Once installed, sensory rooms need to be managed, developed and improved with input from the organisation and the sensory integration equipment suppliers. Maintaining equipment, ensuring new training methods are being utilised and adding complementary equipment to the room can further add to its impact and effectiveness, and make the investment worthwhile.

Here at Southpaw, we are passionate about keeping in touch with all the organisations we work with in order to ensure they are getting the most out of their sensory rooms, and to provide tips, advice or support where needed. Along with experienced occupational therapists, getting sensory rooms right really can change lives and give children some of their independence back.

Start your journey to transformative sensory experiences

Are you looking to install a sensory room into your school, hospital, or practice? We can come and visit you to assess your space, and our talented design team will put together some ideas about how the room could look, using both the required equipment and clever, stimulating lighting to create a space where children can relax, learn, and connect to their surroundings.

For more information, book an initial, free design appointment here, or if you have any questions, please send them through to and one of the team will be in touch.

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