Multipurpose spaces are becoming the norm in our homes as we find ways to fit all of our activities into areas of the house. And, as we transition back to normal everyday life after the pandemic, multipurpose spaces will see more demands than ever before, including an enhanced focus on cleaning and hygiene.
The growing need for and demands upon multipurpose spaces begs the question: How can multipurpose spaces be optimally designed? When we think of multipurpose spaces, we might automatically recall libraries, performance venues, schools, recreation and fitness facilities, and community centers. Also on the rise are shared work spaces, entrepreneur think-tanks, group restaurant courtyards, community kitchens, and—let’s face it—our own living rooms.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits important to consider for building materials in multipurpose spaces, and how ceramic tile meets each one of them.
1. Maintain a Hygienic Environment
When we return to communal spaces, hygiene will undoubtedly be top of mind.
Even pre-pandemic, multipurpose spaces were hubs of activity that saw lots of individuals, changing groups, and shared objects, making hygiene essential. Now the implications of these aspects of communal spaces are more apparent to us than ever, and hygiene will not only be important but a prerequisite for reopening.
Ceramic tile makes it easier to maintain a hygienic environment in multipurpose spaces with a surface that’s inhospitable to the growth of bacteria. Some ceramic tile options are even antimicrobial, meaning that they can suppress and even destroy harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungi.
[Related: Health Benefits of Ceramic Tile]
2. Clean Quickly and Thoroughly
Whether you’re preparing a rentable space or hotel room, a commonspace at the library for the next group, or transitioning your home office into your home gym, the ability to clean quickly, yet still thoroughly, is essential.
In addition to giving you less to clean in the first place with its hygiene benefits, ceramic tile has an incredibly easy cleaning routine: Simply sweep, vacuum, or wipe away debris; wipe or mop with clean water; and dry your tile. No harsh chemicals necessary.
Managers of public spaces can even share these tile cleaning tips with cleaning professionals, providing quick guidance for effectively cleaning tiled areas.
When you do need to use stronger cleaning products for deep cleaning or disinfecting your space, you needn’t worry that the products will damage ceramic tile. Just be sure to follow product recommendations and refer to our cleaning guide: Easy Cleaning Tips for Ceramic and Porcelain Tile.
Additionally, as we learn more about disinfecting protocols for health safety, it’s important to understand that some surfaces can fade or dull (or worse) from cleaning solutions. Ceramic tile’s color is fused into the manufacturing process and cannot be altered by cleaning products. (Note, if using harsh chemicals on a regular basis, refer to your grout specifications for any need to reseal the grout.)
3. Move Furniture Without Fear of Damage
Multipurpose spaces have a lot to live up to, and most aren’t equipped to serve all their intended applications without a little rearranging in between uses. For example, when your workspace needs to become your at-home yoga class, some furniture is going to need to move. In public spaces, the expectation of quick change-overs is even more demanding as different groups may schedule specific times that don’t include transitioning the space.
Whatever flooring material you choose will need to be able to stand up to regular rearranging without the risk of wear and tear or damage (often from different sets of individuals who may or may not treat the space with the same level of care).
Ceramic tile’s strength, durability, and scratch-resistance, makes it a perfect choice for multipurpose spaces. And unlike carpet or other non-ceramic flooring materials, it won’t snag the corners of furniture as you move it or show scratches and dents.
Another element we often fail to think about until it’s too late is fading. With flooring materials that can fade from exposure to the sun, such as hardwood and many plastic-based materials, moving furniture often means exposing unsightly faded areas. Color is baked right into ceramic tile so fading from the sun (or from cleaning products) isn’t a concern.
4. Promote Safety
With all of the use that multipurpose spaces get, safety should be a top priority. Ceramic tile promotes safety in two key ways.
First, ceramic tile comes in many slip-resistant options enabling you to choose the most appropriate tile for your space and intended use. These options are a great choice for multipurpose spaces that include water sources such as bathrooms, kitchens, or pools or where spills are a possibility.
And second, ceramic tile is fire-resistant: It won’t burn, smoke, or emit toxic fumes in the event of a fire or elevated temperatures and can reduce the spread of flame, providing a clear egress.
Ceramic tile’s fire resistance and slip resistant options are characteristics that are important to consider for any space, but especially for spaces where large quantities of people gather regularly, no matter what your multipurpose space is used for.
5. Invest in Longevity
We tend to understand that products and materials we use frequently will wear out more quickly, but this doesn’t have to be the case.
Ceramic tile’s hard-fired surface is incredibly durable, making it ideal for areas that see high foot traffic, such as multipurpose spaces. In fact, in a study of the life cycle of various flooring types — including hardwood, laminate, carpet, and vinyl — ceramic tile was shown to have the lowest life cycle cost, mostly in part to not needing to be repaired or replaced as often as other materials.
This means that ceramic tile costs less over the course of its lifetime than other flooring materials.
If you’re trying to make the most of a single space, chances are you also want to make the most of your investment — in which case, ceramic tile is a natural choice.
6. Design With a Purpose
Multipurpose spaces present two challenges when it comes to interior design:
- They’re functional. Multipurpose spaces necessarily need to be designed to meet the needs of the people who are going to use them and the activities they’ll be used for. This means low-maintenance cleaning, durability, and all of the other benefits we’ve outlined above, which don’t always go hand-in-hand with impressive style options.
- They’re used by multiple people. Say goodbye to your personal aesthetic — multipurpose spaces need to be universally appealing. Unfortunately, “universally appealing” oftentimes gets confused with “boring,” meaning drab design choices that are only universal in their failure to impress.
However, multipurpose spaces don’t have to be purely utilitarian when you choose ceramic tile.
In addition to providing the exceptional functional benefits we’ve discussed, ceramic tile comes in seemingly limitless design options, including numerous choices that are universally appealing (but never boring). For classic options that everyone loves, you might opt for ceramic tile in natural looks such as stone-look tile or wood-look tile.
However, ceramic tile is also available in any color, pattern, size, shape, and even texture you can imagine. So, if you are designing for children, the bright colors and patterns also available in ceramic tile might be just right.
As well, if you want your space to speak to your particular brand aesthetics, including colors, shapes, and even custom branding and messaging printed onto your surfaces, ceramic tile can create a brand statement for your multipurpose space that also promotes your organization.