I've always had a fascination with anything related decor-wise to letters, text, and abstract font. I see letters (and sometimes random numbers even) on store shelves or tucked in a sale corner, and I grab them with the hopes of finding the perfect little spot in a vignette or wall collage somewhere.
I can't quite explain what my hang-up is; to me, letters and text feel sculptural and geometric — slightly industrial and yet there's something oddly charming and familiar about the scoops, dips, and dashes in everyday lettering.
And I guess I'm not the only one that shares these sentiments. Based on the amount of design swag out there emblazoned with text, people everywhere are embracing their inner wordsmith and incorporating bits and pieces of it in their spaces.
This one is a cinch: adding a few toss pillows covered in lettering or decorative phrases is the simplest way to have some fun without going off the deep end. If you're looking for a totally grown-up way to lighten up a little, find a few cushions in a burlap or linen textile (very French, non?) with cream or silver text, and mix in a few solid coloured faux fur or leather accents. Smaller accents can handle a bit of wordy charisma: take an older ottoman and have it recovered in a punchy fabric, for example. A custom roman shade over the kitchen sink, a sassy shower curtain, a funky area rug, or even a pair of fable-inspired window panels in a child's room might just be the perfect little added literary touch!
I'm pretty sure you've seen these everywhere by now, but the classic subway sign roll is a favorite of minimalists and nostalgia lovers alike. I have a trio of them spaced out over a dining room sideboard, and they still make me smile anytime I take a second to inspect them when I pass by. Random alphabet letters grouped together, large and small, make a lyrical and abstract statement down hallways, in stairwells, or in a nursery. And although typically you'll find monograms reserved for children's walls, there's nothing stopping you from finding an over-size letter or two and leaning it on a shelf with other unique decor. Wall paper, painted canvases, and decals alike — the writing's on the walls, so to speak!
If I ever win the lottery (and it's only a matter of time before that happens, of course), one of my design purchases will be the Ingo Maurer Zettel'z 5 light. A design classic consisting of love letters written in different languages, it encourages the user to interact with the lighting fixture by arranging the sheets of paper to form a chandelier. A blend of art, sculpture, and light, and secured to stainless steel wires with paperclips, half of the papers are pre-printed, and the other half blank so you can create your very own masterpiece. Of course vintage sign letters can always be wired with ‘dressing room’ bulbs for those looking for something a bit more charming and colourful!
When pillows or drapes just aren't enough, there's always a chunky piece of furniture out there that will cut it!
If I ever track down the source of this dresser I may just have to throw it in a bedroom or front entry at some point... I love it! Whimsical, graphic, bold, and playful — statement pieces like these are for every inner-child ... forget your real age.
The key is to keep it simple and not add too many items with text or letters, otherwise the characters will lose their uniqueness in abundance. You want to make your guests take a double look now and then when they come to visit; the unexpected addition of word-décor to your spaces will surely inspire a second (and perhaps even a third) read, I mean look!
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 16, 2012