If you haven’t been living under a rock lately, you’ve probably noticed the transformation of steampunk from a subculture to a design mainstream. What first started as a genre of sci-fi literature now is reflecting on so many aspects of life.
Combining the newfangled, technological and mechanical aspect of the 19th century and the classy pompous style of the Victorian era, steampunk is a unique mash-up of old and new, that is present in fashion, interior design, books, movies and it has even gotten so far to become a theme for festivals. Namely, even the infamous electronic dance music festival Tomorrowland designed the look of its 2014 Main stage in a steampunk manner, with intricate brassy designs, cogwheels turning during the performances, etc. This only shows the length to how popular this style has become.
This also shows how diverse the steampunk admirers are- the quality and good craftsmanship is something everyone can enjoy. Steampunk in interior design expresses a special craving for characteristic charming vintage pieces, but it combines them with a “steamy” side, adding technological, industrial elements, such as tools, parts of machines, small apparatuses, instruments and gear to give out the feeling of old and new combined. This gives us beautiful yet functional design that is a true statement piece. With a few tips for redecorating your living space, you too could enjoy this antique looking design, and tone it up or down depending on your needs and desires.
Setting the Tone
If you want to redo your room or interior in a steampunk manner, you can’t really paint your walls a bright blue and put on a lemony yellow carpet. Steampunk has its bases in the Victorian era when it comes to style, and then, muted colors neutral colors were widely used. Cream, brown, sepia, dark reds and greens were the most common colors, and brights don’t really fit in in this style. This however doesn’t mean you have to paint your walls in one single color- play with accent walls, lighter and darker color, just make sure to keep it in the neutrals color scheme.
One of the features of this style is that you can make great use of old vintage furniture and accessories. Many designers that lead the trend scene when it comes to steampunk will admit that they have bought a lot of their furniture at garage sales, the Salvation Army or even found it on the street. That’s the great thing about refurbishing and repurposing old things – if you have a bit of know-how, you can redo your room for dirt cheap. This adds special charm and a homey feeling to your interior, so get your materials and find a tutorial on the internet, it’s not that hard.
This is one of the main characteristics of the style and what makes it “steamy”. If there is a chance for it in your place, try leaving an exposed brick wall – this really distresses the look and makes it feel industrial. What is also important for this style is that you include small apparatuses and instruments as well as gears, cogwheels and other various purposeful tools which will complete the picture. The concept of decorative and useful is what makes it so cool, so try making a unique design with wall clocks in the center of cogwheels – it is unique as well as practical.
Leather, brass, copper, wood – use them and abuse them! These are the staple materials for this style. Increase the luxury level of your home by introducing leather sofas, chairs and steam trunks as center pieces to your room. Copper and brass elements and accessories such as lamps, bookcases, cabinets, etc, are a perfect addition to the style as well.
It’s in the Details
Decorate your space with all sorts of timeless, vintage details. Old world maps in sepia tones, terrestrial globes and using vintage clothing pieces or jewelry as decoration are all perfect touches for this style. It will set you back into the explorers’ era and you’ll feel like discovering new lands is still a thing of the future.
Rusty metal, salvaged wood furniture, natural tones and industrial elements are all things that characterize this style. You might think it would be really hard to redo your room in a steampunk theme, but it actually isn’t – you will need a bit of time and patience, and if you are a DIY type of person, a lot of these projects will be interesting for you – just be patient, start with small things and work your way up, and in no time you’ll be sitting back in your leather sofa and admiring your work.