Steampunk Renovation Challenge

Steampunks are some of the most creative people I have ever met. From the books to the art work, the fashions and the music, steampunks are a cornucopia of ideas and possibilities.


Recently, I was asked for ideas about redecorating a guest room in a steampunk theme. We’ve all seen the great pictures of Bruce and Melanie Rosenbaum’s home in Sharon, Massachusetts and I’m sure many of us have just drooled over the details.


Bruce also operates ModVic, a Victorian home restoration and steampunk design company. Many ideas there, too!


There are plenty of articles and component pieces around the internet, and now here is a challenge to pull them together. Your task is to suggest individual design elements, or a whole design plan, to create a steampunk’d guest room that you would like to stay in yourself.


What items would make this an engaging, comfortable, even luxurious, place where you would want to rest and relax?


Here’s the layout of the space. Think of it as a blank canvas, ready for your brushstrokes to create a showpiece of the steampunk aesthetic.

Thinking about the walls, ceiling and floors, what is the color scheme for the rooms? Can we take a cue from exterior Victorian home colors?

This photo is from


What about textures? Paint or paper? Flat or textured?


The rooms aren’t necessarily large or with high ceilings, but would cornices and moldings add a nice touch?


Are there some design elements or inspiration that could be taken from this renovation of the Harmony Club building in Selma, Alabama?


For lighting, maybe something like an arc lamp as photographed by Curious Expeditions , from Frank Buchwald or Art Donovan? Personally, I love Frank’s work, and I crave Art’s “Siddhartha Pod” Steampunk Lantern.

Could a new bed come from Ralph Lauren? Or should it be antique? Night stands? Tall dresser?

Looking at the artist’s on the Airship Ambassador Gallery page, maybe Rafa Maya or Eric Freitas should do the wall clocks?

Light switch plates by Jake von Slatt?

Hidden doors and secret passageways?



While scouting around for ideas and inspirations, I came across the following articles:

Excellent Examples of Steampunk Lighting

Steampunk 101 by Yanko Design

Steampunk Theme Decorating Ideas

Inkwell Manor in Second Life


Inspired? Share your visions either by leaving comments and links below, or emailing me at Kevin at AirshipAmbassador dot com. I’ll post a followup with everyone’s great ideas!



Published in: on March 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. In my interior design class we have to design a room for someone else. The girl who I have to design a room for wants me to make her a steampunk mixed with victorian styled room. I’ve never made a room like that before and I need a bit of help. Things like wallpaper, paint, furniture, and accessories will be needed. Pictures would be really helpful.

  2. Victorian Knitsmith here!
    I have a single-fronted, single storey Victorian era terrace house in Melbourne. Alas, not restored! But, having always been interested in this style, a couple of thoughts:
    – the plasterwork and ceiling rose were a feature in our homes. The plasterwork has ridges which allows for pictures hooks for hanging artwork. Lots of scope for SP there
    – the idea was that the middle class was trying to replicate the upper classes, so wallpapers which made their homes look posher than they were were very popular. They also painted wood to look like marble – you could do a rift on making it look like fake metal perhaps.
    – They would use velvets and heavy fabrics, and even velvet for tablecloths.
    – They made elaborate tiles for their bathrooms and kitchens, outside of their homes (as an ornamental touch), along the front of steps, so a SP themed mould for ceramic tiles would be truly wonderful!

    Good luck – it’s a fabulous ideas and you have so many already!

  3. Thanks! Those are some good ideas! Velvet could be used in interesting ways – perhaps wall panels? Ceiling treatment?

    Decorative tiles, especially custom steampunk tiles, would be great in the bathroom.

    Artwork in the room will be nice, and there’s so much to choose from. How about stained glass, or stained-like glass?

  4. Thanks to everyone who have mailed in ideas!

    Different overall themes have been suggested and certainly provide a good direction to unify all the elements.

    One suggestion was steam-industrial – metal walls, pipes, gauges.

    Another was the Grand Salon of the Nautilus – grey-green and rust walls, support ribs and beams, and that rich red velvet on heavy Victorian furniture.

    There’s also one for an airship (for the Ambassador, lol) – maps, writing desk, perhaps some kind of Murphy bed.

    What other themes grab your attention?

  5. Here are a few more links of interest:
    Kelly’s Kitchen Sync –

    Steampunk Dining room –

    Faryndreyn’s “Boys room” –

  6. I’d love to do something on a gentlemen’s club theme – think the Reform Club from Around The World in Eighty Days, or maybe the library of an Oxbridge college. Turkish rugs, button-back leather wing chairs, globes, brandy glasses and decanters, panelled walls and lots of well-stocked bookshelves. Disturbing portraits and mounted heads of crypto-zoological beasts on the walls, and a marble fireplace that burns with a strange alchemical light. Colour palette: mahogany, British racing green, burgundy, brass.

  7. Perhaps a few paintings would look nice…

  8. You said you wanted it to feel luxurious? When I think of steampunk and luxury together, I almost always think of the Asian and Indian influences during the Victorian era. Because the “Orient” in particular seemed so exotic to Victorians, those with wealth and status often adopted or at least dabbled in Asia goods and customs. For these reasons if I was decorating the room I would choose victorian shapes(in furniture ect.) and then make the textiles very rich like Chinese brocades and the sort of fabrics used for saris. Then I would worry about Steampunking last in this case. Just make the metal pieces like drawer pulls and whatnot steampunk looking and like you mention lighting , lots of soft lighting I would think, maybe even some of it lightly colored. Finally any nicknacks can reflect either Victorian or Asian but I would make sure that above all else they do emphasize the steampunk nature of the room.

  9. […] in order to make it more stylish and functional. Airship Ambassador is currently hosting a Steampunk Renovation Challenge in which readers are encouraged to suggest individual design elements or design plans to create a […]

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