How to Decorate Rooms in Geek Chic Style
Geek chic and nerd chic are so the thing right now. People are combining that lovely mixture of glamour and geekiness all over the place. I'm glad to see that the look is more appreciated these days, but I've always been a fan of this quirky decorating aesthetic.
Are you interested in giving your place some stylish but nerdy flare? Good. That means you have excellent taste. I'll give you some ideas and decorating tips to help you get started.
Let's start with the basics: the key to chic décor is timeless elegance, and if you want something to look timeless, you should opt for simple designs or objects and colors that have been relatively fashionable for many, many decades. The key to nerdy décor is inside references- preferably of the more obscure type. Combine these two things and you've got geek chic decor- an explosion of awesomeness that'll make you smile whenever you encounter it!
What Goes Where?
When combining nerdy and chic décor, you might find yourself asking: what goes where? Should the furniture be geeky? Should the lighting be nerdy? Should there be classic paintings encased in mock spaceship windows? Should I have French doors or mod my wall into a giant, hydraulic-powered sliding door that makes a proper whooshing sound whenever it shuts??
The answer to this is simple: whatever you do, you should be consistent, or the marriage of chic and geek will seem more like the result of a freak tornado. If you want to have nerdy furniture and lighting, put more chic accents around the room. If you wish to lounge about on timeless, elegant furniture, boost up the nerd factor through the art you put on your walls.
With my living room, I chose chic furniture, color, and lighting complimented by nerdy wall décor and accessories. I find this is the easiest way to go, since it's much easier and cheaper to obtain nerdy art and tchotchkes than it is to find truly nerdy fixtures and furnitures (they're out there- they just take forever to build or cost an arm and a leg). Chic furniture, on the other hand, is all over the place, plus very easy to find on good ol' Craigslist.
What About Art?
Choosing nerdy art for your geek chic room is going to be the most enjoyable part of the decorating process. Believe me. I took three weeks poking through Etsy and the personal websites of my favorite artists drooling over the various sketches, prints, and paintings I had to choose from.
If you're a proper nerd, chances are you already have several artists / prints / types of fan art that you'd like to have on your walls. Heck, you probably already own several prints and paintings! I bet many of them are signed, even!
If there is a particular piece that you own or really love, consider decorating a particular room with it (that is to say, its colors and aesthetic) as a theme. If you don't have a particular piece you'd like to decorate around, consider which sorts of colors you'd like to work with and choose art that jibes well with those colors.
I started off decorating my living room by choosing a pink and green color scheme, then I went online and picked out prints that went with my color scheme. I also decided to go with a theme, and got prints related to transit (Star Wars characters on bikes, silhouettes of royalty overlaid on metro maps of their respective capital cities, girls riding on a five-person bike...). Themes are fun, and a great way to tie different nerdy genres together, since no true nerd likes only one thing.
Another easy way to tie different prints together is through matching frames. I got my frames made to order on Amazon.com, and they were REALLY inexpensive. They come in a bunch of different colors on the site- I highly recommend them, since I found that frames can get pretty pricey!
These are the exact frames I bought.
Additional Decorating Tips
Going for the geek chic look is not very hard- surely you already get the gist. For good measure, however, here are some additional pointers:
- All geeky art should be properly displayed in chic frames: Just tacking a poster to a wall is not chic. Don't ruin the look. Besides, your mint condition "Revenge of the Jedi" poster deserves more protection than that!
- Avoid clutter: While many a nerdy abode is packed to the brim with AWESOME stuff, there is nothing chic about hoarding. Though you might feel tempted to have every single geeky object you own on display, it is better to properly store the majority of your treasures and exhibit them throughout your home on a rotating basis. Think of your rooms as galleries that enjoy seasonal shifts.
- Keep it clean: Another (perhaps unfair) association folks have with nerdy decorating is that it gets kind of gross. Grossness is yet another aspect that will obliterate your chances of coming across as chic. Vacuum regularly. Dust regularly. Discard pizza boxes after use. Wash dishes daily. It might seem like hard work, but it is worth the effort.
- Display more than just wall art and figurines: If you're a true geek, you might have some fun costume elements- perhaps a Daft Punk helmet that you built from scratch, or some fantastic steampunk goggles. These costume pieces, when casually hung on a coat rack or by a door, can add a fun theatrical mood to your room, so don't leave them in the closet!
- Put your key rings to use: There are so many cool, nerdy keychains and cell phone charms out there; why not display some in your collection by hanging them off of the odd handle, hook, or lamp?
- Have fun with serving platters and stands: One fabulous way to combine chic and geeky aesthetics is to place geeky objects on chic food platters. The fun thing about collecting the odd vintage cake stand serving platter is that they come in handy for parties and group meals.
- Don't be afraid to be fanciful: I'm not going to lie... I definitely added a canopy to my living room. It's a bit childish, I'll admit, but sometimes it's fun to take the chic look a bit farther when combining it with nerdy flourishes, since it accentuates an overall playful tone.
I ADORE mine. You'll never USE THE FORKS again!
The Kitchen: An Intermediate Option
If you like the general premise of geek chic design but don't want to re-do an entire room, consider starting with your kitchen! You can augment your kitchen with various fun, stylish-but-nerdy accents without making much effort or spending much money.
You might, for example, put some fun nerdy prints on your fridge and rotate them out every now and then so they don't become invisible to you. While we're on the subject of refrigerators, there really cannot be enough said about geeky magnets. They're easy to come by and are typically much more interactive and fun than most of the art that ends up on vertical surfaces. Just make sure things don't get dingy, dirty, or cluttered, and make sure you keep mixing things up.
You can also improve the geek factor in your kitchen by utilizing nerdy kitchen implements! One may, for example, utilize light saber chopsticks, have a Starship Enterprise pizza cutter, rock Star Wars-themed aprons, cookie cutters, pancake molds, and spatulas, and serve pi-shaped ice. Believe me. There is an endless supply of geeky kitchen accessories you can choose from if you want to jack up your kitchen's awesome quotient.
Oh, frack it. Just have fun!
Ultimately, geek chic decorating is whatever you make of it. Be chic. Be geeky. Don't worry too much (half of being chic is about executing a look effortlessly, after all). So long as you fill your rooms with colors, furniture, images, objects (and technology, obviously) that you love, your place will be perfect.
I hope you enjoy adding nerdy, classy flourishes to your rooms as much as I did. If you have any additional tips or thoughts on geek chic décor, feel free to share them in the comments!