Steampunk is inspired by Victorian-era industrial steam-powered machinery, fashion, and the creativity of science fiction. This style creates a sense of wonder, curiosity, excitement, and appreciation of the science and art that goes into steam-powered machines. Steampunk heavily incorporates metalwork like gears and pipes into its decor. Other popular decorations include vintage steamer trunks, maps, and globes. There are many ways you can include these elements in your interior design, whether you want to give a subtle nod or pull out all the stops.
An easy way to incorporate steampunk into your decor is bring back popular Victorian materials. Use plenty of dark wood throughout the room. Feature luxurious walnut furniture as a focal point, in the form of an ornate bed or a matching dining table and chairs, depending on which room you are decorating. Consider also using dark wood as wall paneling or window frames in the same room. Steampunk-inspired rooms often embrace warmth and darkness.
Steampunk design requires ingenuity. By refurbishing vintage items, you can showcase that ingenuity in your interior decor. Reuse old piping as a motif throughout your home. Many faucets and taps are discarded due to homeowners thinking their design is dated, and you can find these at garage sales and flea markets for cheap. The added bonus? Refurbishing or reusing thrifted items allows you to decorate your house on a budget.
Victorian houses were typically built with beautiful brick walls. By featuring an exposed brick wall, your room will emanate that Victorian aesthetic. Another material that was common at the time is leather, and this luscious material is easy — if not necessarily inexpensive — to display throughout your home. Overstuffed leather couches and armchairs suit steampunk-inspired sitting rooms to a T. Arrange visual displays with vintage, well-loved suitcases or leather-bound notebooks.
One quintessential item of the steampunk era is a world map. It inspires the sense of curiosity and exploration that flourished during this age. Create a continuous sense of wonderment by using wallpaper that features old cartography. Another option is to showcase one large map of the world in its entirety on a single wall. Work in the fantasy aspect popular in some steampunk genres by choosing artwork that features mythical creatures.
Since cartography and navigation are foundational pillars of steampunk, one straightforward way to give off this vibe is to decorate with a few vintage globes. Look for an old or old-looking globe that features the depiction of the world as it was in the Victoria era, complete with all the inaccuracies and previous country borders. You might also decide to forego the map altogether and display a globe-shaped lamp or decorative item with a steampunk-inspired base featuring bolts, rivets, and gears.
One fun way to feature steampunk decor is to display hats and goggles. Leather was a prominent material during the Victorian era so opt to exhibit leather hats and goggles, if possible. Steampunk fashion mostly turns to top hats, and you'll find that no costume is complete without a pair of goggles, usually perched on the brim of the hat. Display these fun and fantastical combos on tables or desks, or dedicate a section of your bookshelves for them.
For a steampunk-inspired room, you need to have gears as decor. You can mix and match different-sized gears for a truly unique piece of wall art. If you prefer to have more subtle decorations, include a gear motif throughout your home. Smaller gears can be used for light switches while larger ones can create door handles. Consider showcasing a clock with its gears exposed for a practical steampunk aesthetic.
Steamer trunks are a multi-purpose decoration. You can leave them closed to showcase the details and make use of them as coffee tables or benches. For a purely decorative option, open the lid and fill them with other suitable decorations such as leather-bound notebooks, gears, globes, and more. Get creative with how you display these items: a stack of steamer trunks can substitute for the legs of a table, or even the table itself.
To increase visual interest in your space, contrast textures. One great way to celebrate steampunk is to use the leather and soft Victorian linens of this subculture to offset the cold, hard metal of pipe and gear decor. Distressed leather furniture is another lived-in feature that contrasts nicely with metallic finishes. Paper products from the Victorian era also make excellent textural touches. Think about vintage-looking notebooks again, or packs of playing cards from this long-ago era.
As you might have guessed, metallics are a big part of the steampunk aesthetic, and spray-painting vintage items can quickly transform them into more science fiction-inspired decor. Consider spraying light fixtures or small appliances with copper paint, or opt for copper cutlery in the kitchen. Use a metallic finish for handles and railings throughout the space. These touches, combined with industrial pipes and gears in thoughtful arrangements, will really set your home apart as a steampunk oasis.