Decorating, while fun and exciting, can seem like quite the undertaking. With so many different components to think about, it’s hard to know where exactly to begin. You want your home to have its own unique personality, but you also want your personality to show. While there are many styles which can help you express yourself, none of them make a statement like Steampunk. Whether you’re a history lover interested in ways to make your home more unique or you’re pretty sure your heart is part machine, this is a style for anyone. If either of these situations applies to you, here’s how to decorate your home steampunk style.
What is Steampunk?
Steampunk style incorporates technology and design inspired by 19th-century steam-powered machinery, think the decorating style of Tim Burton’s Mad Hatter or the aesthetic of Hayao Miyazaki’s film Howl’s Moving Castle. The marriage of classic Victorian extravagance and futuristic industrialism lends itself to a lavish living environment, without the lavish price tag. Steampunk mixes elements of fantasy and history together, a perfect symbol of the merging of lives in a home.
Colors and Fabrics
With any decorating job, the first thing you’ll want to figure out is your color scheme. For a steampunk style, you’ll want to stick to a muted, neutral color palette. Creams, browns, dark reds, dark greens, dark purples, and blacks. Neutrals are easy to accent, so you can liven up your space with bronze or copper metals, dark wooden accents, sepia-toned photos, and rich, metallic tones.
Another key component of this style is a variety of fabric textures. In addition to leather furniture, you’ll want a variety of textured cotton and lace. Steampunk is all about juxtaposition: historical and futuristic, masculine and feminine, leather and lace. Incorporating a variety of fabrics, especially rougher cotton and lace in neutral tones, will bring your home that Victorian vibe to complement the dark, industrial energy. Oversized drapes can also bring that 19th-century flair; the heavy fabric, reminiscent of lavish, voluminous Victorian fashion, will strongly frame your windows, doorways, or bed.
If your home has any interior exposed brick, show it off! Don’t cover it up. If you have to, for structural purposes, or don’t have any exposed brick, use a neutral paint, Victorian-style wallpaper, or old maps (the older, the better!). Be careful though, you don’t want your space to get too busy with a million different designs and patterns.
The wonderful thing about Steampunk style is everything doesn’t need to be brand new. In fact, the older and more worn an item looks, the better it lends itself to this design aesthetic. Your dining room table can be made of refurbished wood, or maybe you have a dining room set that’s been in your family for generations. There’s certainly no need to buy new furniture when old furniture will add a special charm to your space. Showcase your leather sofas and upholstered chairs; leather lends itself well to enhancing your interior’s luxurious mood. You can also use old steamer trunks as character-filled coffee tables, in addition to fantastic bedroom storage.
What use is a phenomenally designed space if you can’t see anything? Lighting can really make or break a space. While you may be inclined to head straight for the extravagant chandeliers, light fixtures with beautiful vintage incandescent light bulbs lend themselves to the industrial elements of the steampunk style. Brands like Sea Gull Lighting, perfectly highlight the effervescent light and powerful metals simultaneously.
To complete your Neo-Victorian space, don’t forget the gears. Machine componentry is as important to the mood of the space as rich fabrics. You can paint gear silhouettes on the wall or get a gear clock. Because hats (bowlers and top hats) are a big part of this style, you’ll need a place to put them! Hang hats on the wall with metal hooks or find a coat hanger at the thrift store. You can also use hat boxes as decorative storage for items you really only use with company (coasters, cocktail napkins, etc.) or as the perfect home for your TV remote or crafting supplies. Since books are a great accessory for the steampunk home, you’ll need a place to show them off! Consider making your own industrial bookshelf, so you have more to brag about than just your books.
Whether it’s a single room or an entire castle, the above style guidelines will help you bring your steampunk home fantasy to life.