How can I make my weird scene shit fit into my sophisticated adult home?

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HippiesOffbeat Homies, I need your help! I grew up as a scene kid. I followed bands, went to tons of shows, and brought home tons of rock junk. The signed posters and concert ephemera set my dorm room apart, and worked okay in apartments, but now that I’m an adult in my first house they don’t look right.

I love my stuff, but I need to find a compromise between overgrown scene kid and a totally bland tract house.

This is kind of the crux of Offbeat Home, right? How do you make your quirks and preferences right for the realities of your life? If you don’t want to go full-on goth or punk or crunchy but you also want some flava in your casa, it’s a delicate path. What are the best ways you Homies have come up with to make a home that feels grown up, but still indulges your subculture?

Comments on How can I make my weird scene shit fit into my sophisticated adult home?

  1. We had the same issue (I don’t think it’s a problem because we love all our crap). The majority of the artwork in our home is either Phish, Grateful Dead or some other bands poster from a show either my husband or I went too. Keep all your posters, put them in pretty frames and just hang them on your walls. As soon as you walk into our home, you see a picture of Jerry Garcia hanging on our wall. Next to that picture is his eulogy and below him, sitting on top of a family heirloom desk, is the Grateful Dead VW bus cookie jar. We wanted to set the tone right away for what our home is like when you walk into it.
    My suggestion is to lay out your artwork and any other doo-dads and see what groups together best and put them together in one room.
    We bought a very adult & grown up home… but that doesn’t mean we don’t have our Phish and Grateful Dead bobble heads out to display!

    • Yes, frames! Neutral frames (I like dark wood but black metal would work too) with big white mattes (at 3-6 inches). Makes anything look gallery-like.

    • Definitely frames! I have a lot of concert posters and music memorabilia. I’m putting my favourite stuff in modern and simple matching frames – the uniformity balances out the fact that all of my art downstairs is concert posters 🙂

    • Yes! The posters we have that are in good shape are in frames/are going in frames. The ones that were in crappy shape I cut up and made into a big collage on a canvas, which looks cool and the baby loves looking at it!

  2. same problem! answer: pick a wall or specific area to display your rock junk/scene gear. When it’s a collection, as opposed to spread throughout the house, it feels intentional and witty.

    Our area for our mustaches of the world print, our rock and theatre posters, and other kitchy shit? Over our bar.

    • Alternately, if you want to downplay it a bit, group it with other pieces of art that share some similar aspect. I like color groupings myself. The funky geeky blue Batman poster I love lives beside a thrift store blue toned bird watercolor, a blue toned art print from etsy, and other blue ‘grown-up’ art and photos. With a color grouping, it all kind of blends together into a sophisticated art wall. It’s only when someone really takes a closer look that they go, ‘hey, Batman, cool!’

  3. My friend solved his hoarding of gig tickets by making a collage of them on his coffee table under the glass pane. His lounge is pretty grown up looking with wallpaper and leather couches and his coffee table is like an evolving piece of artwork.
    In my home I bought a bunch of cheap but expensive looking gilt frames and filled them with pictures of zombies, skulls and horror movie postcards. They sit on the floor surrounding a Georgian fireplace and have flowers and candles interspersed so that the ghouls aren’t so in-your-face.

  4. Pick the best pieces (the ones you really love the move) and put them in some really nice frames, and they are no longer just rock junk, but vintage art! I agree witht he above that you can pick one room/wall/area to feature these items in (perhaps if you have a casual family/recreation room/finished basement?) These are part of your personal history and I think if you get rid of them, you’ll regret it! Again you don’t have to put EVERYTHING up–you can carefully pack the rest away (or sell some of it, if you’re willing to part with any) and use the rest to add some personality to your home. Don’t cave to the notion that now that you’re “all grown up” your home has to look a certain way00it’s YOUR home and it needs those touches to make it feel like YOU.

  5. If you write down the sizes you need for picture frames – haunt thrift stores for them. Then buy spray paint. Paint them all the same color. It helps to unify them. I also agree with finding which ones go together and grouping them in different areas. I’ve got my celtic stuff hanging all over the kitchen. The goth stuff all hung in black frames with the Clive Barker signed print and some cast iron candle holders sprinkled all throughout the house to unify every single bit of our stuff into one thing. So hubby has swords and axes on the wall – with cast iron wall sconces. Celtic tapestries – with cast iron wall sconces. Ditto with the Goth, Ditto with the vintage. It’s all starting to look pretty awesome and even my mom has gotten in on it and actually buys us things that GO with the various sections LOL!! (and she’s super conservative!)

  6. And don’t forget- if you bring the colors from your “scene junk” into the rest of the room, it will pull together. Find some throw pillows or a ug or something, youknow? That plus some nice frames should go a long way.

    And, if you have any 3D stuff (I have a bunch of well made figures from anime shows I loved when I was younger, that I could never part with) get some nice shelves and display them together as a collection.

  7. In our case, our sub culture is uber geek. My fiance has hundreds of Star Wars/GI Joe figurines, vehicles, posters, etc. As much as I adore his geeky side, I really didn’t want our first “grown up” place to be overrun with toys. We agreed to split up our inherited china cabinet – I get the sides to display our nice glasses and some vases, he gets the middle to put up some of his figurines (which he spent about 2 hours doing the other day. :p)

    In addition to the china cabinet, we set aside our office as our “nerd paradise” where he hung his Star Wars vehicles and pinned all the still-in-boxes toys to the wall. I’ll be adding my LoTR posters when I have a chance.

    The rest of our apartment, while mis-matchy, is pretty nice, so it’s awesome to walk into our nerdy office and see all the things that make us “us.”

    • We also have hanging Star Wars spaceships off the office ceiling, and then have some shelves for figurines and such, as well as my nerdy posters (I’m not getting rid of my John Constantine poster. The early issues were amazing.)

      That said, keeping the nerd-paraphanelia in the office, along with the TV and DVDs (and a couch and some chairs for gaming…), means that we kinda have a ‘nerd haven’, but that the livingroom/dining room is always tidy enough to have people over (and is lined with bookcases, which I’m insisting is a perfectly respectable way to decorate).

      For the rest of the posters, though? Frames. Thrift stores if possible. Otherwise, Ikea has some plain wood frames for about 5$ that are standard sizes and easily painted.

    • We did this too… our office (which is the biggest room in our house anyways, as we took the largest bedroom for it and sleep in one of the smaller bedrooms) is our geek paradise. WOW paintings, our toys, our pimped out computers haha! We love it!

    • This is exactly like what our office will look like. My Fiance collects Spawn figurines, so we’ll get some nice floating shelves and he can line the office walls with spawn figures all he wants! (although our office is small and there’s about 300+ figures, some MIGHT have to stay in the basement). LOL.

  8. Other people have made great comments above. I’d echo that you don’t HAVE to display everything – I rotate stuff in and out of a big box. If you’ve got so much stuff that you just don’t know what to with it, maybe put it all away for a bit, concentrate on developing your grown up style, then look at it all from that perspective a few months down the line – so you know where things might fit, what colours will look good and some things will give you such a rush of love that you know you NEED to put them up whether they’re sophisticated or not.

  9. My solution was to get all the A4 sized posters, tickets, stickers and other related stuff (festival bracelets, set lists, etc) and make a big old scrapbook out of it! At the end I put in some plastic sleeves and folded up the bigger posters that I wanted to keep but not necessarily hang or glue them down. Then I picked my favorite 4 and put them in frames that kinda match the main color of the poster.

    And them to create a subtle rock n roll theme, I have a few items that tie it all together without seeming too sceney – like my amp and guitar pillowcases!!

    And I put all my buttons in a clear mason jar and it looks super neat sitting next to my melted vinyl bowl! It’s rockin decor for “grownups” 😉

    And if you have a broken amp (or know someone who does) they are THE perfect size for a side-table once you drill a wodden top on them.

  10. frames go a long way for sure! i think it is a combination of moderation and display – in some cases culling your collections (say, just the best posters so you can frame them and hang them with some space), and in others finding a nice way to display things (i love the ticket coffee table idea above).

    most of my college decor (mostly wwi and wwii propaganda posters) now resides in our strange, tiny attic room. it’s kind of an odd room anyhow, and the walls are unfinished, so it just sort of fit to totally plaster the walls with goofy shit we wouldn’t put up elsewhere.

  11. In addition to all the framing comments: picture wall (or other area). Mix it in with other art work, photographs, ephemera. Try to find a unifying element if that helps your sense of style: similar frame style or color, a “theme”, color scheme or mood…

    Wrist bands, ticket stubs etc could look cool on a mantle or book case gathered in glass jars.

    Line your dresser drawers with posters and programs (I’m super sentimental about every piece of paper I touch and my drawers are lined with EVERYTHING from wrapping paper to a Canadian grocery store bag that I loved).

    Another thing that I think looks great is removing the shelves from a bookcase and lining/decoupaging the back then returning the shelves. This works best if its not totally loaded up with books afterwards but could make a great piece to showcasing more of your rock ephemera collection…and related books? cds? vinyl? etc?

  12. You can frame some of your favorite posters and store a few more posters in the frames behind them. That way, your posters are safely stored, flat, unwrinkled, and extremely nearby so that when you feel like your place needs a change, you can switch them out no sweat. Rotating a few posters at a time keeps your place from feel cluttered or stale, gives you a chance to remember different experiences all the time, and definitely gives a clear idea of who you are to everyone in your space.

    I’ve also framed t-shirts and interspersed favorite small objects throughout my many bookshelves. If you have a fun area of the house, like a bar, gameroom, or finished basement, that’s the best place to jazz up with reminders of what’s made your life so much fun so far.

    I love the idea of using old gig tickets to make a tabletop collage. You can also use a huge fishbowl or one of those oversized glasses to display the tickets cleverly. My uncle does this with collected matchbooks from all over the country, and an old professor of mine would put all of the haikus he wrote into a bowl like this to add to or peruse whenever.

    I feel like working these fun touches into your home is a way to redefine what it means to be an adult.

  13. Not to promote another website on this website, but Epbot did a great piece on making elevated frames here and I think a few posters hung up like this would look fantastic and maybe a little more “put together”. Though I don’t think I’d do this to your signed posters, those I’d frame, but other posters, this would be cool.

    PS: Epbot is not my site, I’m just a fan. 🙂

  14. Frames! I totally agree with the people who siad frames. You can put any crazy thing in a nice frame and it looks way more grown up. My husband really tried to hold onto the old dorm room thumbtack method, but I finally convinced him everything looks better in frames and stays protected.

  15. My advice is probably along the same lines of what a lot of others are saying but, put your posters and memorabilia in posters as much as you can, leave space between them when you hang them, and use some paint.

    In my opinion, painting a room (assuming it’s done well) really adds to the maturity of the space, after all, when you were in college, and moving around every 9 months to a year, who bothered to paint the walls?

    Shadow boxes in particular I think can look really classy, so if you take some of the more 3d things you may have and put them together in a shadow box, that can be a way to show of smaller trinket-ey things without having as much clutter.

    The final piece of advice I have, which is of course the hardest for me to follow myself, is to cut down on the volume. Frame everything up, and then rotate through a percentage of it, you could do this by band, have Phish month, or go all out in Sublime for the summer or something, or pick a few favorites to always have on display, and rotate through the rest, having a good mix. That way each piece gets seen, and it’s not overwhelming or two dorm feeling.

    If you’re still feeling like the memorabilia looks out of place, try mixing in a few more ‘mature pieces’, pick up a painting at a local craftsmen fair, or some photography. Maybe some class photographs from a recent vacation? Family photo? That way the wall art shows a mix of where you’ve come from and who you are now.

    • I was also going to recommend shadowboxes for any 3D pieces. Also, curio cabinets. While having one room for all your subculture stuff is definitely one solution, I’ve always liked the idea of having my “MEness” subtly incorporated into regular decor. For me this manifests more in Judaica than concert gear, but the concept is the same.

      Our entertainments center has a glass doored set of shelves on one side. In it I display my fairy in a jar, my shabbat candle sticks, and my antique books. In my kitchen I want to hang a beautifully decorated plate that says “Shalom.” While it’s Jewish, I mostly like it because of how well it matches the color scheme.

      These same ideas can apply to anything else, too, and there have been some great ideas of how to do it. I specifically love the idea of a coffee table with a ticket stub collage under the glass (I might have to steal that idea for all our con badges). But you can also turn t-shirts into throw pillows. Posters can be framed to look classy, but if you have enough you could also place them edge to edge an wallpaper an accent wall in an office or spare bedroom.

      And really, just never underestimate the decorative potential of shelves, cabinets, and curio cabinets. Just mix it up a bit. Rather than having a cabinet full of concert paraphernalia, put a framed picture of you with the lead singer of ____ next to that decorative bowl you got in Seattle, and that pretty statuette you picked up at a local arts fair. As long as the colors work together, it’s a good way to express all of who you are in a display that still looks like mature decorating.

  16. My boyfriend and i had the same problem, so we did a lot of the suggestions above, we framed some favorits and hung them on the walls with some of those big metal stars. Then we have this awesome side table cabinet with glass doors that i stuck all the tickets on the inside of. Scrapbook is another great idea, and if your really crafty and dont wear them anymore you could make a band tshirt quilt and curtains like i did 🙂

  17. I would just like to state that I don’t think being “grown up” has to be boring. There is absolutely no reason why anyone should suddenly pretend they never had any interest in geeky things or goth decor or movie posters or the music scene. I am certainly not giving up my Emily/Kali switchplate, nor is my dude giving up the ferret art I’ve made or bought for him. My Dark Crystal prints will be going up. I agree, nicer ways to display them is great because it helps limit damage to the things that you love. But I say display it with pride. 🙂

  18. Our utility room has been papered with theatre posters and flyers. If we were to do it again, I’d try to get some more coherence going on and would also recommend coating them with something-or-another to stop all the humidity in that room from making them peel off (washing machine, condenser-dryer, boiler and varying amounts of drying clothing aren’t good for paper!)

  19. I grew up being in tons of plays and musicals and going to every concert I could. So I totally understand.
    Shortly before I moved out of apartments, I found an artist I love. So his art adorns our home, for the most part.
    You can buy poster displays, like what you flip through at stores in the poster section, for your home. If you have the space, that’s actually an amazing conversation starter and a great addition to your game or media room.

  20. I agree that framing is a great route to take. However, when framing memorabilia or anything of sentimental and/or monetary value, in order to maintain the integrity of the piece you really need to make sure to do it properly. Things can and will fade in as little as 6 months, whether exposed to artificial or natural light. Most tapes and backing material–and incorrect matting– can also destroy your pieces faster than you can believe. So, if it is something that you love and want to keep intact for as long as possible, and you cannot take it to a professional, then do your homework before framing it yourself. A little caution will save you possible heartache in the (not-so) long run.

  21. I know everyone has said this already but OMG shadowboxes and frames are the best. We have loads of vegan-straightedge-hardcore band and tour posters framed and hung in our place. I also had a shoe-box full of glow in the dark zombies that I hot-glued to three shadowboxes in varying sizes, and then hung in our bathroom next to a framed vintage Darth Vader postcard.

  22. we put all of our band posters in frames and lined our hallway with them. they look great! i even added some of our concert tickets in the frames…they look pretty good!

  23. Like many others have said, frames can make such a big difference in how a poster is seen. Also, grouping a poster -or any other thing- with more “grown-up” decorative stuff can make it blend better. We have a Marvin (from hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy) bobblehead in the living room that no one notices until they’ve spent some time sitting there because it’s surrounded by other white decorative things. The same goes for our BIG star wars cake toppers from our wedding. They are quite big for caketoppers and after all they’re C3P0 and R2D2 all dressed up with veil and bouquet/bowtie and yet, people still ask if we kept them… after walking right by them.

    Also, if you have more posters than you could make work at the same time on your walls, simply rotate them. Store carefully a few and when you feel like it, bring them out and take down a couple others.

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