Time Traveling Designs: Tips for Creating a Steampunk Bathroom

Monday, October 29, 2012 2:52:45 PM America/New_York

Is your outdated bathroom ready for a redesign?  Imagine starting your day in a bathroom straight out of a Jules Verne novel! The “steampunk” look has debuted in mainstream culture recently, so why not have some fun, get creative, and enjoy a steampunk bathroom?

Steampunk refers to Victorian era science fiction’s view of the future; it looks as if it might have come from a time when Jules Verne, Nikola Tesla, and H.G. Wells ruled the world. The focus is on the use of different metals, ornate decorations, brass pipes, and gears.  For a more in-depth description of steampunk go to http://www.steampunk.com/what-is-steampunk/.  


For our purposes, you’ll just need to know that steampunk is a style that focuses on metal as decoration (think old-timey steam engines, or the elaborate set design of the hit movie “Hugo”).  Metal is the only material suitable for steam engine construction, and, obviously, the steampunk aesthetic runs on steam.  Steampunk enthusiasts have developed an affinity for brass and copper, perhaps because the metals are easy to work with and are not commonly used in construction today. And copper and brass provide warm, earthy colors to create your bathroom design around.  


First think about your bathroom fixtures and sink.  For a steampunk bathroom, you’ll need copper sink with copper or brass fixtures to match.  Below is a great example of a copper sink that would work perfectly in a steampunk bathroom. 

bathroom copper sink




This copper sink has a design that you don’t see every day.  The sink is made of copper, it is elegant, and it looks like it could fit in any bathroom a hundred years ago, perfect for your steampunk room design.  














Next, think about your pipes.  Every bathroom has pipes, of course, but the standard design today is for pipes to be hidden and very straight to the point.  Try consulting with your plumber to come up with a creative plan for your pipes, working them into the steampunk decoration of the room.  Here is an example of a steampunk bathroom with exposed pipes designed by architect Andre Rothblatt: 

 Steampunk bathroom with copper pipe detailing
You won’t need to modify copper pipes to make them part of the design; they are intrinsically steampunk.  Attach the pipes to your wall and work them into artistic, entertaining designs.  The everyday flow of water through these pipes becomes a novelty! To maintain an authentic look, perhaps you can install a large hand lever or knob to flush your toilet.


Finally, when considering lighting for your steampunk bathroom, look for fixtures that emulate old-style gas lamps, or perhaps metal flowers, or glass jars.  Also look at the light switch: do you really want a standard plastic switch plate in your steampunk bathroom?  You could install a button switch, like the first light switches invented, or you could get an ornate or copper switch plate.   Get creative, and your updated steampunk bathroom will take you back a century whenever you switch on the lights.  All you need is a single light bulb to glow when you hit the switch, illuminating the turn-of-the-century elegance you’ll recapture with your steampunk design.