The next time youâ€™re at a dinner party and thereâ€™s a sudden lag in the conversation, stoke the fire by asking everyone to define â€˜steampunk.â€™ Chances are, there will be a delightful variation in definitions, underlining the fact that itâ€™s a hard style to define with any authority. Is it Victorian? Is it Sci-Fi? Or is it rather turn-of-the-century industrial?
Whatever your definition, itâ€™s a concept thatâ€™s much easier to identify than to define. This week, weâ€™ve identified some stylish pieces that give a firm nod to the steampunk look, yet are modern and practical enough for everyday.
With its Victorian-era look and feel, the Luxe Fainting Couch from Urban Outfitters is a good place to start. Its rich dandelion color is also complementary of darker coordinating pieces. $649 Urban Outfitters.
Luxe Fainting Sofa
The timelessness of Persian rugs means that they also speak â€˜steampunk.â€™ $79.99 from IKEA.
VALBY RUTA Rug, low pile, multicolor
The oversized Oliver Leather Ottoman from Pottery Barn is by no means cheap ($899), but look at itâ€”itâ€™s a tank and youâ€™d have forever. Plunk a tray on top and it also doubles as a great coffee table.
Oliver Leather Ottoman
This repurposed pendant from Rejuvenation is a throwback indeedâ€”check out its wire-guard shade, cloth-covered cord and stained oak base. $156 each.
Wiley Industrial Cord Pendant
If one indisputable thing can be said about steampunk, itâ€™s that gears and sprockets are its lifeblood. Pair open-gear clocks like these from Amazon as wall dÃ©cor. $25 and $39.99, respectively.
Infinity Instruments Gear - Open Dial Resin Clock
Bronze Finish Steampunk Heart Wall Clock Gears
Itâ€™s a (faux) painted map of the Old World!Â $124.99 from Overstock.
Old World Map Painting on Canvas
These dark green velvet pillows are lush, yet sternâ€”just like that steampunk barista at Starbucks youâ€™ve been pining for. 2 for $25.49 from Overstock.
Green Velvet Throw Pillows (Set of 2)
I do declareâ€”this piranha does appear to be of the man-eating variety. Perch it on a shelf as both a study in nature and as a reminder to be careful where you swim. $39 from Evolution.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, folks. Prepare without breaking the bankâ€”all of these finds are $30 or less.
Â Doily placemats are fun AND classy. $3.00 each.
Worried that your table is missing the necessary kitsch factor? You can rest easy with a set of these. Let guests make up stories about how this charming couple decided who got to carry the pumpkin. $4.99 at Kmart.
Essential Home Thanksgiving Pilgrim Salt and Pepper Shaker Set
Thereâ€™s no shame in making guests eat off of paper plates so long as theyâ€™re golden. $13.69 for a set of 24.
Gold Dinner Plates
If youâ€™re anything like me, youâ€™re into centerpieces that are no fuss and highly flammable. $29.99 from IKEA.
And because your good-for-nothing friends broke half your wine glass collection the last time they were over, be sure to pick up some more of these while youâ€™re at it. $1.49 each.
POKAL Wine glass
One wishbone is never enough. Arm yourself with plastic wishbones from Lucky Break. Vegetarian friendly! $ 4.79 for 5.
5 Lucky Break Wishbones
In the world of stains and finishes, whitewashing is like the perfect pair of sheer tights: whatâ€™s underneath is showcased, yet with just the right amount of cosmetic camouflaging. The understated effect of whitewashed wood is perfect for airy, shabby chic interiors and we foresee a big comeback in coming seasons. Get ahead of the curve with one of these pocket-friendly pieces available now.
These whitewashed bins from the Container Store look simultaneously vintage and brand spankinâ€™ new. $14.99.
Whitewashed Wood Bins
Whitewashing gives these solid wood dining chairs a soft, finished feel. $205.99 for a set of four.
Camden Dining Chair (Set of 4)
If you dream of big, fluffy, white beds, then this whitewashed teak frame could be the perfect foundation. $329.
Cassidy Washed Teak Twin Panel Bed
This adorable 5-Drawer Popsicle Dresser is proportioned for young ones (only 29â€ inches high), but would also work well in an entryway or as lower extra storage. $189.99.
Popsicle Whitewash 5-drawer Dresser
Buddha looks even more at peace in whitewash. $21.50.
Buddha Statue in Whitewash / Brown
I first discovered the artist Mickalene Thomas at the Dress Codes triennial show at the ICP in NY. The artist creates Blaxploitation-style photos and paintings of lush 70s environments augmented by badass African American women.
Photos by Mickalene Thomas
The mix of textures, vibrant colors, vintage and animal prints really works, so we put together an African Modern version of the look. If you’re feeling wild, use it as a base to add more of your faves into the mix.
The new rattan chair from Ikea has a high back, giving it a stylized update from the usual rattan stuff.
STORSELE Chair high, natural, rattan $119.00
Faux animal fur pillows come in different prints, buy as many as you need at $18.99 a pop.
Animal Fur Pillow 18 x 18, $18.99
The Khandahar Jewel loveseat is a handsome, cozy little lounger covered in the perfect print.
Skyline Furniture Armless Loveseat in Khandahar Jewel, $509
I like the Safari Rug from West Elm, the subdued zebra print ties all of the patterns together without the harsh look of the usual black and white version.
Safari Rug, $99-249
A funky tapestry like this one from Urban Outfitters could be used as a throw or wall hanging.
Scarf Medallion Tapestry $39.00
Loving this silk pillow cover in a watercolor print, on sale!
Luli Watercolor Pillow Cover, $19.99
Not every bedroom has a closet and not every space can pull off having a bulky armoire or closet plunked down into it. Enter the garment rack: these versatile pieces keep your closet in order and look downright sleek when carefully arranged (i.e. not too crammed and somewhat curated, like a shop might do). Here are a few racks that get the job done in style:
Like a good mullet, this Industrial Garment Rack from Urban Outfitters is all business on top and full-on party on the bottom. $129.
Industrial Garment Rack
The IKEA Turbo looks like a swing set sans swing but is grounded and ready to do some heavy lifting. $44.99.
Compact and basic, this rack from The Container Store is a good no-nonsense solution that’s easily paired. $24.99
Adjustable Garment Rack
Move over metalâ€”this rack is made of all-natural bamboo and features two shelves for stowing folded items. $99.99.
Bamboo Garment Rack