Steampunk Style in Interior Design


What have you heard about it? Perhaps now you will remember steam-powered machines, flying boats and submarines:

image source

image source

This is correct but not complete.

In fact,  the popularity of steampunk over the last years is growing intensely and it has transformed from a niche subculture into design mainstream. This fact has been recently proven by exhibition held in 2010 in the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford which attracted more than eighty thousand visitors and was one of the most attended and successful events in the museum’s history. Famous American furniture chain Restoration hardware has released a huge series of Jules Verne style furniture, accessories and lighting.  The appeal of Steampunk theme is connected with endless possibilities  of creative self-expression and freedom of imagination which it gives to artists and designers.

Romanian designer Cătălin Buzatu created this amazing project of the Industrial Bar using Steampunk as a main theme. Subtle colour palette with dark grey and copper creates intimate and cozy look. I absolutely love the oversize pin which is used as a wall decoration. Huge metal pipes run on the walls through all the space and are also used as a room divider. The tables are made in the shape of cogwheels, and cogwheels are also used as wall decor objects along with other machinery parts.

steampunk interiors

steampunk interiorsA LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY

Initially Steampunk appeared as a sub-genre of science fiction showing imaginary world and alternative history of civilization where people perfectly mastered the use of steam-powered machinery. The fantasy events usually occur in the ambiance resembling British Victorian Era or American “Wild West”. The main stylistic elements of steampunk are vintage cars, locomotives, telephones, flying ships, mechanical robots. The fashion includes wearing corsets, gloves, aviator googles, top hats. Though many works in this genre were published 1960 and 1970s, the term “steampunk” appeared only in 1980s as ironic alternative to “cyberpunk”.


image source

Since the steampunk movement has specific artistic form and elements it has lead to its use in design and fashion. As I mentioned, today this theme is very popular and modern designers very often take it as an inspiration for their works.

Stempunk hat with clock parts from the EmilyWayHats Etsy shop.

Stempunk hat with clock parts from the EmilyWayHats Etsy shop.


If you want to use Steampunk style for decorating interior, you should consider using the following features:

1) Decorative objects must be functional. You can put it vice versa: utilitarian objects serve as decoration. Example items include computer key boards, electric guitars machine parts such as gears and leverage

2) A lot of metal in décor. Copper, bronze, iron, brass – all these materials can be used to recreate the steampunk look

3) Finishes: leather, dark wood, untreated stone, bricks

4) Dark colours: grey, brown, black, subtle red

5) Antique clocks and vintage maps

6) Victorian furniture and accessories

7) Urban entourage such as factory metal tubes, red brick, gas lamps


Despite its popularity there are very few shops in the world which actually sell steampunk furniture and accessories, so most of the items designers use are DIY. On the other hand it is great as it helps to create unique and exclusive designs.


    • says

      I believe steampunk style is perfect for commercial projects such as bars and restaurants. With residential projects, though, you need to be careful and not “overdo” otherwise you will feel like inside Capitain Nemo’s boat. I absolutely loved how Restoration Hardware used this style for creating their collections of accessories and furniture – this is a perfect example, on how steampunk can be incorporated in residential Interior Design. Thank you for you comment and have a wonderful day!


Leave a Reply