July 23, 2024

Architectural Design Kingdom

Home is where the heart is

Interior design tips inspired by the Paris Olympics 2024

6 min read
yellow sofa and bookcase
Celebrate and enjoy color at home. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

In addition to being a showcase for the best in summer sport, there are several design backstories at the Paris Olympics 2024, which will pique the interest of homeowners worldwide. Interior design inspiration abounds with a focus on sustainable materials and architecture, beautiful wood features, accessibility and colorful Art Deco style.  

While watching the Paris Olympics from home, here are some podium-worthy design tips homeowners should be on the lookout for. 

Sustainable and stylish design 

The big design story from the Paris Olympics 2024 is the organizing committee’s commitment to sustainability, which was central to their bid (along with accessible and inclusive design). At the outset, the mandate was to reduce the overall footprint at every opportunity to provide the most eco-friendly Olympics yet. 

This translated into re-purposing and renovating existing buildings where possible instead of building new, with only a handful of buildings newly constructed.  And for those that were newly built, there were strict requirements to keep the environmental footprint to a minimum: at least half of materials had to be wood other sustainable materials. 

Curved wooden roof over the pool at the Paris Olympics Aquatics Center
The Aquatic Center features intricate wood details. Photo Credit: Paris 2024

One of the new buildings is the Aquatics Center, primarily constructed from wood. It’s a sleek, stunning 5000-seat venue, with a massive, curved solar roof, with intricate wood details, inside and out, proof positive that you can balance sustainability with style. 

It features renewable energy sources and was efficiently pre-fabricated, almost entirely offsite. Its modular design means it can be re-purposed easily to suit various functions in the future. 

The Olympic Village has sustainable design and construction as well, with added features, such as mattresses made from recycled fishing nets and carboard bed frames. 

How can homeowners incorporate these impressive design principles into their décor? 

Interior design tip:  Balance sustainability with style 

Homeowners prioritize sustainability, but sometimes features on the housing wish list are at odds with that goal. But, as the innovative approach taken at the Paris Olympics demonstrates, it is possible to create highly functional and beautiful spaces that support sustainability goals. 

“People often think of the term “sustainability” as something that’s extreme or out of reach. But there are some simple ways to make a positive impact,” says Cameron Cook, community marketing & retail programming director, Republic Property Group. 

Cook advises looking at specific design features and finding ways to make them more eco-friendly. 

For example, with lighting, “replace incandescent lighting with energy-efficient LEDs. Take it one step further by using a dimmer or timer to further reduce consumption. Many of our new homes have been designed to capture lots of natural light as well, which further reduces the need for excess lighting,” he says. 

With furniture, go for timeless over trending, and invest in quality so that you don’t have to replace items often, keeping them out of the landfill.  

“Opt for furniture with natural fabrics such as cotton, wool, or hemp,” says Cook. 

Take a creative approach to existing items, much in the same way that the developers at the Paris Games have done, repurposing old buildings for the games. 

Using the same mindset, homeowners can get creative with upcycling. “There are endless bargain finds on Facebook Marketplace that can be transformed with a little elbow grease, some fresh paint and fun, new hardware,” says Cook. 

Interior design tip: Embrace the decorative power of wood 

From a style standpoint, what is most impressive about the Aquatic Center is the intricate wood detailing. From a wooden-slat exterior and wood-trimmed accent walls and timber-frame ceilings inside, along with beautiful, fluted accents throughout, this building is a high-profile example of the stunning, simple and sustainable style that wood provides. 

Wood slat walls like those seen at the Paris Olympics
Re-create wood decor details at home, inspired by the Paris Olympics: Photo Credit Adobe Stock

You can re-create some of these features in your home with slat wood wall panels, perfect for an accent wall that is simple, yet warm and elegant. As a bonus, wooden wall panels play a role in muffling sound, so they are a great choice for a home office or bedroom. 

Choose wood as a means to introduce warm color into your spaces with custom cabinetry or embrace the trend of fluted wood accents on furniture, shelving and decor. 

Inclusive and accessible design 

The slogan for the Paris Olympics is “Games Wide Open” a theme that is reflected in their approach to design. 

Paris took accessibility and inclusivity to heart when designing public spaces and buildings. The Paralympics will immediately follow these games, using many of the same venues and the Olympic Village, so accessibility was paramount. 

 Advocacy groups have been impressed at how comprehensively principles of universal design have been integrated including accessible buildings, multi-sensory signage, sensory rooms, and zones dedicated to assistance dogs. 

 Homeowners can adopt similar principles of universal design. 

Interior design tip: Improve functionality with universal design 

Although universal design is often associated with aging in place, it is a design approach that people of all ages and stages of life should embrace, because of the functional aspects. What a lot of homeowners don’t know is that many on-trend finishes and features support the principles of universal design, including: 

·         The ever-popular open-concept floor plan. Not only does an open floor plan work well for flow and provides generous sightlines,  it also provides ample and safe space for wheelchairs, walkers or other assistive devices. 

·         Black-and-white color palettes. This color scheme provides contrast for visual acuity and can help to define space and transitional areas. 

·         Cohesive, hard-material flooring, such as hardwood or luxury vinyl plank, provides design continuity, particularly in an open-concept floor plan, but also reduces trip-and-fall hazards, because of minimal transitions. 

Joyful, colorful expression 

Colorful official posters of the Paris Olympics
The colorful official posters of the Paris Olympics. Photo Credit: Ugo Gattoni/Paris 2024

Each Olympic Games features its own “look”, which is the visual identity for the games. It also sets the style tone. A key driver of this is the Olympic poster. 

For the Paris Olympics, the official poster is immensely detailed, featuring iconic Paris landmarks and a hive of activity. It’s unapologetically colorful, with a hint of flamboyance, authentic to Parisienne Art-Deco influence. 

Other branding material is equally colorful and celebratory. 

Homeowners can draw inspiration from these vivid colors and patterns to re-introduce color into home décor after years of muted shades. 

Interior design tip: Be bold with color, but be strategic for best results 

Use the 60:30:10 rule, where the bulk of the space (i.e. 60 percent) is allocated to a main color, with 30 percent in a secondary color, and 10 percent as an accent color. Consult a color wheel to determine the best colors to complement each other. 

It can be helpful to start small, in a powder room or laundry room with bolder color or patterns. These rooms are typically out of the main living areas and can be changed easily if the result is not how you envisioned it. 

To be gradual and flexible with bold colors, use them as accents, while keeping the main features, (i.e. counters, cabinetry, flooring etc.) neutral.

“Rugs, throws and accent chairs give you lots of different ways to shake up the feel of a room,” without a huge or costly commitment to color, says Cook. 


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