Decorating a Steampunk House can certainly be a challenge. There’s a lot of cheap and poorly made materials which, if just thrown willy-nilly into a house can give the impression that Steampunk is a gaudy aesthetic, and we all know that simply isn’t true.
Steampunk isn’t about just going to Wal-mart and buying anything with brass or leather on it. As I stated in a previous post, I’m a big advocate for supporting artisans practicing their craft, and using their personal talents to equip a wardrobe and a home will be good both for presentation and the conscience. The numerous do-it-yourself tutorials are posted here in the hope that you will find use out of everyday items to reinvent your world into a Steampunk haven.
A few tips for Steampunk decorating:
- Be conscious of the materials you are using, the more natural, the better. Think wood, brass, copper, leather and bronze. Try to purchase unique pieces rather than something mass produced. Places like Etsy, thrift stores, estate sales, and antique shops will help tremendously.
- Consider revamping your wall decorations. Many family photos can be changed to black and white, or sepia tones with the click of a button in a good photo editing program to give them an older appearance. If you have the budget for it, there are many artists online that will paint portraits from your pictures. Here’s an example called Paint Your Life. Fair warning, though… I’ve had no personal experience with these guys, so don’t blame me if the picture turns out terrible. I do like that you only pay 20% up front and that you have the chance to review the artwork before it comes to your door, which hopefully avoids the previously stated problem.
- Bug collections, skeletons from specimens, fossils, and astronomy charts are good ideas for a Steampunk presentation that focuses on the scientific aspects of Steampunk. Globes, old maps, and photos of exotic locations (in period, of course!) would be a great foundation for an exploration theme. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ideas and themes. How about a time travel theme? Or a Gothic Steampunk slant? Or a submarine theme inspired by Captain Nemo and the Nautilus? The nice thing about Steampunk is that the conventions are flexible and reward creativity.
- Get exposed. Steampunk loves to explore how things work, so this is an excellent opportunity to expose the inter-workings of a gadget. Brass pipes under sinks and the gearwork on clocks are fashionable when a subculture is obsessed with how things work.
These a just a few tips to start those brains working. If you are seriously thinking about redecorating a room, or an entire house, I would highly recommend reading The Steampunk Home, a blog that focuses on Steampunk decorating. You’ll find all sorts of unique items there. Plus, all of the posts are nicely cataloged so that you can look through past posts if you need something specific. There’s so much good stuff here, you’d be positively mad to redecorate without consulting it!