In literature, think Jules Verne or H.G. Wells; in movies, "The City of Lost Children"; and on television, "The Wild Wild West."
Fortunately you don't have to travel back to the 19th century to get it.
Here are our favorite steampunk home accessories:
For the Walls
1903 print, Chuck Hodi
"I've always been a fan of gas masks, yet terrified by octopuses," explains artist Chuck Hodi. "Drawing this octopus helped me overcome my fear of the creatures, along with giving it a Nuclear Neo-Victorian look. This is my interpretation of steampunk!" What more is there to say?
Prints of freak octopi, sea monsters and Edgar Allen Poe are available on Hodi's site.
Steampunk Heart print, Morgan Kessler
Simple and romantically geeky, this black and white linocut is tasteful without going overboard. Also it's a steal for $13.
Available in Kessler's etsy store, momoma.
Bird Collage, Shelley Howard, Single Stone Studios
Those who change their artistic taste faster than they change clothes needn't fret. This vinyl bird and gears-themed wall decal is removable and can perch anywhere you like. (And you know we love our wall decals here on Rented Spaces.)
Available at Single Stone Studios.
Baron's Clock, James Potter, Pastpassions
"What I think I like about steampunk most is that it combines the old with the new creating a continuum of time," explains Potter. "Of course I am a time traveler."
Available at Potter's steampunk-based etsy site, Past Passions.
Steampunk Chess Set, Laura Palmer
Crafted from nuts, bolts and old jewelry, artist Laura Palmer constructed this set originally for her boyfriend from a chess board from Target and pieces from the Home Depot.
"Steampunk lets us expose the nuts and bolts that support everyday life and recombine them into something elegant, beautiful, and unexpected," explains Palmer. "The common becomes the novel; the supporting players become the main attraction. Sometimes, an octopus is involved."
Steampunk wannabes can craft their own by checking out their local hardware store or by hitting up Palmer's Etsy shop, sitarah.
The Spider, Benjamin Jones, Luminent Design
Whimsical: check. Metallic: check. Totally bizarre: check, check, check. For those who love giant mechanical spiders, there's only one lamp for you. Jones also has dragonfly and people-themed lamps available, but this one is by far the most delightfully creepy.
Available on Luminent Designs.
Machine Light 01, Frank Buchwald
It's the perfect mad scientist lamp. Showcasing industry at its most aesthetically pleasing, Buchwald's Machine Light series highlights each work's raw insides.
More on Buchwald's Machine Lights site.
Techno Skull, Richard Symons
It takes a very special person to welcome a wire-riddled skull into their home. Created by UK artist Richard Symons, a guy who specializes in creating sci-fi props for film and television, this skull is a Hamlet meets Terminator.
Available on Symon's etsy site.
Steampunk Goggles Light Green, Ricky Wolbrom, edm designs
Somewhere Ben Franklin is smiling in his grave. A steampunk's take on the bifocal, these mod goggles can be worn or simply admired. Available here.