Decorating With Steampunk Style Bedroom Decor

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Imagine a world where steam power is the primary form of energy, where Victorian style is still in full bloom, and the industrial revolution has begun. Add in a hefty dose of gears and mechanical parts, a large helping of fantasy and science fiction and top it all off with alternate history as it “might have been,” and you’ve arrived in the world of steampunk décor.

A steampunk-themed bedroom is a great choice for anyone who loves the Victorian style with a rugged twist, marches to the beat of their own drummer or just loves the anachronistic/futuristic look.

Steampunk Style Bedroom Colors & Textures

The color scheme for a steampunk bedroom is not gloomy, but is subdued. This is not the style for bright colors, wild patterns or lively, ethnic looks. Colors that work well for this design theme include:

  • Grays
  • Browns
  • Cream
  • Burgundy or deep red
  • Deep purple
  • Black

Create interesting contrast with the use of textures. Shiny satin, luxurious velvet and intricate lace all have Victorian flair and add spice to the low-key color scheme. Touches of metal, particularly brass, copper, brushed nickel, pewter or tin are also a great way to liven up the room while keeping true to the steampunk vibe.

Shop Secondhand Stores For Steampunk Furnishings

One of the advantages of a steampunk design theme is the emphasis on old, secondhand or repurposed furnishings. Though you can buy brand-new furniture that is designed to look steampunk, there is no need to do so as long as you are creative. Check out your local Goodwill, your grandmother’s attic or a nearby garage sale for old-fashioned, but good condition furniture that will fit in your bedroom. Some particularly desirable items are:

  • A brass bedframe, sleigh bed or tall four-poster. Buy your mattress new however; you don’t want the health risks of a used mattress.
  • A rolltop desk. A small desk tucked in the corner of your bedroom is the perfect place to write bills, use your laptop, store files or just sit and read your favorite steampunk novel.
  • An antique chair to complement your desk. An ornate wooden chair with ball feet and wheels is both convenient and steampunk.
  • Old trunks. Your steampunk bedroom needs at least one old trunk for the perfect Victorian touch. Use a trunk at the foot of your bed as the footboard, and also for storage.
  • A wooden armoire. Perfect for storing your clothes, electronic equipment or anything else that needs a home. Look for dark wood for the most Victorian flavor.
  • An ornate bookcase. You are going to need shelves to hold your books and various steampunk décor, so choose a dark wood bookcase with a touch of ornate trim.

Steampunk Accents For The Bedroom

Have a good time picking out your decorating accents. There are no hard and fast rules to steampunk, and that’s half the fun. Shop garage sales, secondhand shops and antique stores for items that really are, or just look, Victorian. Anything made of metal, with exposed gears, hands or other workings are especially good. Keep in mind a world where today’s technology looks like it could be placed a century ago.

  • Your bed is probably the largest piece of furniture in your bedroom, so it tends to be the focal point. Pick out bedding that plays up the steampunk theme by choosing rich, deep reds, browns or grays in a thick, velvet or satin comforter. Avoid modern designs with harsh lines or bright colors.
  • Shop antique stores, or buy replicas online of old maps to hang on the walls. Old globes are also appropriate.
  • Fill your bookshelves with old, hardback books and nautical or antique instruments used for sailing, predicting weather or surveying.
  • Set an antique-looking clock on your nightstand. Go for a replica here, you don’t want to miss work because your alarm clock didn’t go off!
  • Though you probably prefer electric lights, keep the Victorian, industrial age look alive with fixtures that look like lanterns or candles.
  • Wall art made from gears and mechanical pieces are very steampunk, and you can create the look yourself with parts from a scrap yard.
  • A retro or antique table fan will keep you cool in the summer, plus add a great steampunk look to your bedroom.
  • Dirigibles are a popular steampunk theme. Find a model or poster of a Victorian-looking airship, and hang it on the wall or from the ceiling.
  • Stick with dark wood and metal for your accents. Ornate, curved designs are more Victorian than straight lines or plain styling.

Steampunk Literature

If you have an interest in reading some of the literary pillars of steampunk, both new works and classics that inspired them, visit your local library or bookstore for any of the following:

  • “Infernal Devices” by K.W. Jeter
  • “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley
  • “The Anubis Gates” by Tim Powers
  • “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” by Jules Verne
  • “Steampunk” edited by Jeff VanderMeer
  • “The Difference Engine” by Bruce Sterling and William Gibson
  • “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells

Enjoy reading while curled up in your bed in the midst of the futuristic and anachronistic blend that is steampunk.

Last Updated: August 23, 2012
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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