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So what’s Geek Chic design?

Design that celebrates your particular fascinations


a person who has excessive enthusiasm for and some expertise about a specialized subject or activity

My new obsession in design is in a style I’ve been calling Geek Chic.

Yes, it’s a decade-old phrase, and I’ve revived the rhyme to describe my particular way of presenting quirky collections and peculiar passions that’s more refined than the typical nerdy tech gamer geek that may quickly spring to mind.

Geek Chic is a personal design statement of your upscale genius.

When I say you, I really do mean you. We are all geeks in one way or another.

I geek out on design. You might be a coffee geek or a tool geek or a shoe geek or a guitar geek. The idea behind Geek Chic is that your home style can include that part of your personality, and in a way that is more than just objects gathered on a shelf or a painting of a guitar in the living room.

Here are a few ways to make over your home’s interior with Geek Chic design.

Colour. My favourite way to make over any space is with colour. It’s the starting point for my design process. So if you are like Jim Gaffigan’s character on his sitcom and obsess about red velvet cake, you can bring the feeling of that cake to life using the colours of the cake when choosing paint colours and fabrics. If your kid is a Minecraft geek, use the colours of the Creeper or whichever is the favourite character as the wall colour or bedding colour.

Style. It’s an overused word, but ‘style’ fits here. A chic way to geek is to take the elements of the obsession and use them in another way. For example, if I’m insane over vintage boats, I can still use that obsession as my Geek Chic style without ever displaying an actual boat. Think about the colours, patterns, materials and the shape of the boats that you love. Use elements like a compass or iridescent tile or antique brass hardware. There are a lot of ways to bring the feeling of the passion to life without actually having the actual object visible.

Space. With any collection obsession, there can be a serious space issue. Consideration of space is an element that takes a collection into Geek Chic. What do I mean? Stay away from cramming as much as you can into your interior. Yes, you can fill your home with treasures you love, but if they are stacked on top of each other and piled on shelves, it will be tough to see those treasures to enjoy them. Make sure there is space around the treasures.

Star status. If you are a Renaissance Geek and obsess about guitars, quilts, chocolate cake and vintage phones, your home may start to look like a shop instead of a home. Celebrate each obsession separately, so that you can geek out on that obsession without competition from another. The chicest way to be chic is to simplify.

Presentation. Geeks often have objects to display, and I would venture to say that it is possible to present any obsession in a chic way. Some are more challenging than others, and all kinds of objects can be celebrated in more than one way. The easiest way to present objects is to group them. Rather than grouping on a shelf, where it can be tough to see plates or doilies or spoons or bolts, make wall art. Turn that collection of vintage screwdrivers into art, creating a fun pattern with them. If you love clocks, why not gather them on one section of one wall, instead of hanging one clock on every wall?

After pondering the challenges of transforming your particular geekdom into home decor, take a step back and evaluate your success.

  • Do you smile about how your home makes you feel that flutter of happiness that only a geek can feel about the object of their geek?
  • Do your loved ones and friends don’t feel like they need to don a costume to feel ‘at home,’
  • Does the space looks calm?

If you answer YES to all three questions, you have mastered Geek Chic.

And I’d love to see your Geek Chic makeover. Please send me a note @myfixituplife on Twitter.