Let’s Get Nerdy: How Nerd Decor Has Found a Space in American Homes

When you think about interior decorating, it’s easy to imagine the picture-perfect homes on HGTV with their clean lines, simple furniture, and high ceilings. It’s true that almost 85% of the nation’s homes were built prior to 1980 and need structural remodeling, but we’re talking about furnishing and trinkets, here. The truth is that the reality of home decor is a lot nerdier than the remodeling projects they show on TV. Here’s a quick look at how nerd culture has nestled its way into the world of home decorating.

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Nerd Culture Through the Ages

Nerd culture didn’t start out as something mainstream for everyone to enjoy. In fact, up until recently (and still in some cases), pop-culture characters who identify as “nerdy” were the butt of a lot of jokes. Think about Eugene Felsnic in Grease or Brian Johnson in The Breakfast Club. These are characters who, though they may have had redeeming qualities, were often put down.

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Fortunately, nerd culture took a turn for the better with the advent of films like Star Wars. More specifically, the prequel trilogy of films. It was at this point that people started to feel good about sharing their love for something that was inherently nerdy. And suddenly, people who liked “nerdy” things started coming out of the woodwork. Conventions and cosplaying grew in popularity. Now, being nerdy doesn’t carry nearly as many negative connotations as it did a few decades ago. In fact, most “nerdy” things have been relabeled as “pop-culture.”

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And that’s when nerd culture started nestling its way into home decor.

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Pop-Culture and Nerd Brands

Now more than ever, there are companies all over the world that cater specifically to nerdy interests and pop-culture references. Take Funko, for example. This brand has made its way into households all over the world for chibifying characters from popular nerdy media throughout the ages. They have Harry Potter collections, characters from Marvel movies, and even characters from comic books. These figurines are on shelves, dining room tables, and office desks all over the world. And the nerdy retail industry doesn’t stop there.

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Blik, a design firm in Venice CA, offers wall-size decals of Asteroids and Super Mario Bros. game screens that look like works of art on the walls of homes. And considering that almost 10% of homeowners performed a kitchen or bathroom remodel in the last year, they’re probably on the walls of newly painted rooms everywhere.

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ThinkGeek, an online retail company operating out of Virginia, specializes in clever nerd- and pop-culture products. As a small sampling, they sell items like Game of Thrones dragon-egg cookie jars, lightsaber barbecue tongs, and Death Star tea infusers. These are items that not only call back to their nerdy origins, but that serve a purpose in the home. A Death Star tea infuser? Sign us up.

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Let's Get Nerdy: How Nerd Decor Has Found a Space in American Homes

How Are People Decorating With Nerd Culture in Mind?

As we mentioned earlier, nerdy decor has become more than just a testament to the media you love. Retail organizations have helped create clever, useful items that not only call back to their nerdy origins but serve a functional purpose.

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Bookshelves have become one of the chief ways to display pop-culture items. From themed bookends to look-alike stormtrooper helmets, most pop-culture nerd items can be displayed right alongside your books and candles. And speaking of candles, there are even independent creators who made book- and movie-inspired scented candles to use in your home. Functionality has become an excellent way to incorporate nerd culture into everyday life. It’s so common now that it just feels seamless.

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Of course, home decor can still get expensive whether it’s nerdy or not. And when 20% of Americans don’t save any of their annual income, decorating effectively can become an issue. Fortunately, your books, movies, and comics can still be a stylish testament to your nerdiness at home. A simple print in a frame can work wonders for your artless walls.

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Above all else, there’s no shame in being nerdy and appreciating pop-culture from over the years. The home decor industry has integrated a lot of nerdy things into retail and interior design — how will you decorate?

Emma C
Freelance Writer