How to Decorate Like a Geek: Agreement & Storage

I initially wrote this post for geekinitiative.com more than 5 years ago. Now that the website is being archived, I thought I’d bring it back out of hibernation and update a bit.

Sometimes you even have to figure out how to store your kitty.

Have you ever walked into someone’s home and thought, “Wow, I want to live here?” Here are some great ideas for getting your geeky friends to say that every time they visit you.

Getting Started and Storing Your Stuff

Many young adults have preconceived notions about what an “adult” home will look like. From television series, magazines or our families, we develop these ideas that our homes must look like the examples we have seen or we are somehow not adult.

I call foul!

I fell for it too, imagining that without plants and throw pillows and boring artwork or family photos on the wall, I was still living like a college student or not being a grown up. But after many years, my husband and I have dispelled ourselves of that notion. So here are some tips based on our experience on how to decorate like an adult geek.

Talk With Your Significant Other

The first thing you need to know about decorating like a geek is that you have to be on the same page with anyone who might be sharing the house. My husband is a minimalist in most things, so I had to make him understand that my house, apartment, or other lodging feels more homey when it has art on the walls.

The only thing that mattered to him about decorating was keeping the house clean and clutter-free.

That’s not to say he isn’t good with decorating. In fact, he does most of our decorating. But to him less is more and I had to be able to understand and compromise with that.

Once you agree on a decorating style, it’s time to talk about your various fandoms.

Hopefully you share favorites with your significant other, but if each of you has a favorite of your own, decide how that will be reflected in your shared space. For us, the solution was fairly simple.

My Nightmare Before Christmas collection became the basis of the decorating for our home office where I spend far more time than he does. The remainder of the house we discussed with me willing to give in to his preferences when he expressed them because it was only fair. Thankfully, the things he had strong feelings about, I like too.

Think About Your Hobbies

As a geek, chances are you have a hobby, or hobbies that require some amount of space in your home. From comic collections to board games to LARP accessories, geek hobbies generally take up space. For us, that was a major consideration. When we moved to Pennsylvania, one of our first decisions as we unpacked was where we would store our things. We have a few hundred DVDs, a video game collection, a board game collection, many dozens of role playing books, hundreds of war gaming miniatures and terrain and more.

Even though we have a three-bedroom place for just two people, we knew one bedroom would be the home office. That meant we would have to store all our other stuff in the other spare room and throughout the house.

Fancy decoration, or a place to stash your LARP gear?

Storage Options

The amount of time my husband put into figuring out storage options was huge, so you get to benefit from his research. Some of his ideas were obvious and some less so.

  1. Book Shelves. Our spare bedroom has one wall lined with book shelves. Those shelves primarily house our board game collection, though a few war gaming supplies, such as the miniatures he is currently painting also steal shelf space. In the actual game room — the living room that we converted into gaming space — the bookshelves house our role-playing books and our reading collection including our graphic novels.
  2. The Kallax is an IKEA product but lots of knocks-offs exist. These shelving units can be left open with space for displaying your collections or can be filled with baskets or drawers. You can also add doors to make them more cabinet-like. We have found that the drawers are perfect for storing office and painting supplies. More recently, we discovered they are also great for storing miniatures. Use a drawer liner to prevent sliding and access to your miniature collection becomes much easier.
  3. Closet Space. We sacrificed our entry closet to game storage, putting a book case in the closet next to the vacuum cleaner. One shelf gets winter weather gear, but the remainder is for game storage. The coats go on a rack behind the front door.
  4. Hat boxes, suitcases and trunks. We aren’t LARPers anymore, but when we were, we used decorative boxes that can be hidden in plain sight to stash our LARP gear while still looking neat.
  5. Electronic devices. We read a lot and own a fair amount of music. We transferred our CDs into a single storage album after adding electronic copies to our computers and external hard drives. We opted for e-readers for everything except the book collections that have sentimental value (like signed editions) or that we will read over and over again.
  6. DVD Sleeves. After a few years in the new space, we also decided that we needed to sacrifice our bookcase full of movies on DVD and Blu-Ray. All the cases were sent off for recycling and the discs themselves slide into sleeves. They now take up about a fifth of the space they used to. The one downside to this approach is the lack of visual reminder for your movies.

The thing about decorating like a geek is that you must be ready for your needs to evolve. In the last five years, we’ve gone to a lot fewer hard copies of our TTRPGs, switching over to PDFs. So one of our newest storage challenges was figuring out where to have the chargers for three ipads, a Kindle (or two) and a pair of iPhones as well as two laptops.

One of the neat options we found was furniture with USBs built-in. Now both the recliners in the living room and the nightstands in bedroom have built-in chargers.

Don’t be afraid to let your space evolve as you do!

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Lucinda Gunnin

Lucinda Gunnin

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Lucinda Gunnin is a commercial property manager and author in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She’s a news junky, sushi addict, and geek extraordinaire.