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10 Ways to Incorporate Steampunk Décor Ideas (With Pictures)

black metal pipe with lights

Despite its growing popularity and climb to conventional design aesthetic, steampunk designs still rely on a distinctive individuality, tasteful adaptations of secondhand objects, and an undeniable sense of whimsy in a given space. This design theme originated with science fiction writers in the 19th century. Writers like Jules Verne, H.G Wells, and K.W Jeter coined the term “steampunk.” But what is steampunk?

A steampunk theme combines the elegance and glamor of the Victorian era mixed with gothic design, industry, and science fiction. Imagine a world where energy comes solely from steam, Victorian style is still the centerpiece of society, and technology is slowly taking over the Victorian’s prim and proper world.

Taking this exciting combination of cogs and gears intermixed with lace and leather and incorporating it into your home might seem like a monumental, even daunting, task. Adapting older items or repurposing textures is only one of the many ways you can add steampunk features to your home! Let’s take a look at 10 amazing ways to take your space back in time.

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The 10 Ways to Incorporate Steampunk Décor

1. Natural, Muted Color Schemes

While gothic, steampunk is not all doom and gloom. However, it is not a style for bright and bold colors, wild patterns, or lively palettes. The steampunk design benefits from neutral colors and a mixture of browns, darker reds, greens, and purples. This bedroom is not gloomy, but it is almost monochrome with its differing sepia and brown tones. The leather, the brick, and the tile all work together to recreate the same color palette seen in old Victorian photos.

2. Use Secondhand or Refurbished Furniture

living room with wood and marble wall
Image Credit: Loewe Technology, Unsplash

If you’ve always wanted to turn that old trunk into a functional storage piece or coffee table, using a Victorian or steampunk touch is the perfect way to bring one of your favorite pieces back to life. Although you can buy brand new furniture designed to look more steampunk in style, there is no need to do so as long as you’re willing to get a bit creative. Old furniture and refurbished classics are a perfect way to add  Victorian touches so prevalent in steampunk style. If you frequent places like Goodwill, thrift stores, or garage sales, you are bound to find a perfect fit to add some individualized charm to your decor.

3. Make It Industrial with Exposed Brick

With steampunk revolving around machinery and science fiction, a wall of exposed brick is a great trick to bring a basement or laboratory to mind. In most science fiction novels or movies dedicated to that period, you can almost always count on someone being in a hidden room, alleyway, or laboratory dominated by bricks. Even if it’s only on a small portion of the wall, like surrounding your fireplace or as a single statement wall in the room, the exposed bricks will undoubtedly redirect your mind back into the Victorian and steampunk era. If the structure of your building or home doesn’t allow you to leave the brick exposed, you can always use wallpaper to create the same effect.

4. Utilize Metal for Texture

Image Credit: Sven Brandsma, Unsplash

Choosing your materials is important when it comes to creating a steampunk atmosphere. Using metallic design elements, like exposed rods, bare pipelines, or metal lighting fixtures, is an excellent way to pay homage to the industrial style. Uncovered metallic décor and elements in your space can bring to mind an old-fashioned laboratory or an unhinged alchemist’s lair. You can use metallic cogs or gears to hold picture frames on your walls, you can use gears as knobs on your cabinets, or you can even make a sculpture out of metal pipes. This kitchen primarily utilizes copper accents in the cabinets and the backsplash by the stove. Copper is a central material in steampunk style, and you shouldn’t be afraid to use it liberally in any space you want to redesign.

5. Vintage Maps and Globes

A great way to bring more sepia tones into your room while incorporating whimsy design is by creating a mural out of old maps. You can even decorate your other furniture, like your lampshades or desktops, with maps to incorporate them in other ways! The older the map, the better. You can also use a globe or terrestrial map to blend in with your other steampunk decorations.

6. Sepia Wall Decorations

Vintage living room family room
Image Credit: JamesDeMers, Pixabay

Keeping with the natural and sepia tones prevalent in steampunk decorations, a great way to incorporate even more of it into your space is by using historical sepia photographs. Aside from using old maps or other steampunk-themed decorations in your room, an old photo is an excellent addition. While you can buy wall hangings to fit this theme, you can use your DIY enthusiasm and creativity to print or recreate your creations, family pictures, or art murals. You can incorporate Victorian patterns into your art pieces, make anatomical drawings, or even create alchemical posters.

7. Use Leather Furniture

Leather is an absolute must for any steampunk design. It is, without a doubt, almost more important than metal when defining the steampunk trend. You can include leather in your couches, armchairs, or decorations to incorporate it into your space. Showcasing your leather furniture or making it into the statement piece of your design is a great way to add classical touches while paying homage to industrialization.

8. Decorative Gears and Open Face Clocks

lenovo smart clock
Image Credit: Yasin Hasan, Unsplash

A statement piece like this clock framed with gears is a perfect way to add some spice to any wall. Gears are important items in steampunk design and culture, so don’t forget to include them in your decorating plans. While you don’t have to use a clock like this, incorporating similar items to create and display industrial wall pieces and decorations is a great way to decorate in the steampunk style. Steampunk is known for its creative use of mechanical gears, from their place in clothing and costumes to their prominent voice in decorations.

9. Mood and Accent Lighting

When thinking of how to add steampunk elements to any room, you need to remember that lighting was still being developed. Electricity was not what we know today, and incorporating lightbulbs and open lighting fixtures brings a different feeling to your space. You want to carefully choose accent lighting to emphasize a focal point or illuminate certain sections of your design. You also want to make sure your lighting is warm. You want subtle yellow tones instead of harsh, fluorescent lighting since it didn’t exist during the Victorian era.

10. Use Contrasting Textures

A Living Room With a White Sofa and arched windows
Image Credit: Curtis Adams, Pexels

Combining materials like leather and lace and hard and soft textures creates a visual feast for your eyes and play into the balance and duality often found in steampunk designs. The appeal of steampunk is its overall juxtaposition: the old intermixed with the new, feminine and masculine, or science with fantasy. Combine different textures in your décor to create an appealing contrast and visual representation of this distinct duality in the steampunk theme. Play with the shine and smoothness of satin, the soft luxury of velvet, and the delicate patterns of lace to bring forward the classical Victorian feel. Pair it with brass, copper, or iron décor touches to liven up your room.

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Final Thoughts

Steampunk décor is a unique style that you can use to lift any room in your house to the next level. Make steampunk your own with artwork on the wall and enhance your space with lighting or colors. There are multiple ways to transform your home quickly into a steampunk, retro paradise. Don’t hesitate to put your antique items and detailed drawings into the spotlight and let them each tell their own stories.

Featured Image Credit: Robert Anasch, Unsplash


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