ebonypearl (ebonypearl) wrote,

Steampunk Home Style

I've seen any number of articles on how to have a steampunk style home. The photos they share all look either contrived or very modern trying hard to be steampunk.

There are a lot of elements that can make a home look steampunk without it costing a lot to do.

I think one of the first things that annoys me about all those articles is that they all start with using muted neutral colors, especially for paints. Dudes, the Victorian Era was when aniline dyes were discovered - they used color everywhere they could pack it in, as bright as possible. Don't get sucked into "neutral colors" as steampunk. Go bold in your color choices. Reds were a favorite, as were yellows - both look good with steampunk paraphernalia. Go for stripes, and ornate wallpaper, too. I recommend getting fabric you like and attaching it to the wall with liquid starch. This has the benefit of being cheap and easy to remove if you change your mind (or are renting). Just mix up a batch of liquid starch, paint the top of the wall you are covering with the starch, put up the fabric (and pin it in place with push pins, otherwise it will get too heavy as you work and fall down) and paint it again with more liquid starch. Work your way down the wall, painting the wall, smoothing on the fabric, then painting the fabric. Trim and smooth the edges. Let it dry, and voila! cheap wall "paper" that will come cleanly off with some steam, followed by a good soap scrub on the wall to remove any residue.

The point is - don't settle for neutral colors on the walls - go for interesting prints and colors.

Definitely use repurposed and refurbished furnishing - Victorians and steampunks are inveterate scroungers. Display those re-crafting skills proudly.

If industrial doesn't appeal to you, don't use it. If it does, go for it. Exposed beams, brick walls, exposed pipes, metal framed windows, replacing light switches with levers or gear driven switches, bookshelves made of pipes (or PVC painted to look like metal pipes), that sort of thing.

If you are an artificer, don't hesitate to display your work area, works in progress, or the finished products. If you are a supporter of the artificers, be proud to display your gorgeous purchases.

If you display photos, consider a tabletop display of sepia toned ones in ornate metal frames or a wall of plain framed sepia photos with some ribbon bows above or below a frame or two.

Display knitted or crocheted throws and antimaccasars (the doilies placed on chair and sofa arms and head rest areas to absorb dirt and oils from people).

Use textural contrasts - hang jewelry with leather bags and knitwear, for instance.

Have an umbrella/cane stand or coat/hat rack. If it looks like an elephant's foot or something exotic, so much the better. You can make cool looking ones from paper mache.

Put small items in small wooden boxes and display the boxes in groupings.

Display books. I know some articles suggest old books - but they weren't old back then, so have a mix of old and new books. Do intersperse the books with odd objects - an unusual rock, a brass telescope, a small globe, pieces of antler, an amethyst cluster, a specimen jar with *something* in it.

Chandeliers in the dining area or the formal parlor (what we call the living room - not the snuggery or den - those require table lamps).

Furniture-wise, historically, the more rooms you had in your house, the less multipurpose functional and more comfortable your furniture would be. If you had a room where you could meet visitors, that room would be your showcase room, with the most comfortable furniture and the most interesting displays. The wealthier you were (or wanted people to think you were) the more occasional tables, side tables, specialty tables, padded chairs, small sofas, foot stools, and so on you'd have.

The fewer rooms you had, the more functional and less comfortable the furniture would be. Furniture would be spare and essential and often performing multiple tasks.

I kind of think that's still a good aesthetic. If you live in a small house/apartment, then you'd want less furniture in it and all the furniture would be multipurpose. You'd have one large sturdy table to be your writing desk, your work table, your dinner table, your art table, your cutting table, your sorting table, and so on, instead of a table just for writing, and a table just to display your photos, and a table just for receiving letters or holding keys, and a table for eating breakfast, and a table for eating family meals, and a table for entertaining, and a table for crafting, and a table for rolling dough on, and a table for cutting fabric, and a table for displaying collections, and so on. The more space and rooms you have, the more furniture you have and the more specialized hte furniture - and often the more confortable the furniture. Of course, modern furniture doesn't have to sacrifice comfort for function. A sleeper sofa may not be as pretty as a Victorian canarde sofa, but it is comfortable as both bed and sofa. And it can be prettified with antimacassars and throws.

Steampunk could emulate that depending on the look you want to achieve.

I've repurposed my rooms in my house so when you first enter it, you enter my work space. It's functional, with folding tables that can be put up and taken down at need, shelving to hold supplies, bins on the shelves, and so on, but the walls are bright, the floor is smooth, and the chairs are comfortable. It doubles as extra workspace for large baking/cooking projects, and as a dining room when guests come over if it's raining or too hot or too cold to eat outside - the back patio is the preferred dining spot for company.

The smaller bedroom has become my parlor. I call it a snuggery because it's small and intimate. It contains the TV, a sleeper sofa so it can double as a guest room, a couple of comfortable chairs, some small tables, a mini fridge and soda stream, and tea things. The sofa is heated for winter comfort, and the room is cooled in the summer. It also acts as an exercise room as the elleiptical is in there unless it's being used as a guest room, in which case the elliptical gets moved into the bedroom. And it acts as an initimate tea parlor for one or two guests, and as my personal dining room, and the room the dogs love the most because their beds,f ood, and water are in there.

The garage has been converted to a library/storeroom. It was already converted to a room when I got the house, and it acted as a library until my children moved out and has become a default storeroom that is slowly being sorted and will become a library/game room once again.

The kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom retained their original functions but got paint and decor to make them more interesting.

The dining area became a walk in pantry and prep room for baking and distilling and preserving food.

It's a small house, so each room is multifunctional except for the kitchen, bathroom, and my bedroom.

Small houses like mine partake of many functions and display many interests, larger houses have the space to have rooms be singular in function and decor.

You don't have to set your house up in the common way unless you want to. The more rooms you have, the more options you have for how you use the rooms. And the more options you have for decor.
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