Home Improvements Chapter 5 – Typography

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Typography in home decorating is one of many designer’s tools. Typography is a very special art. Whatever the message may be, subtle or bold, a proverb or a motto, typography stands out. That is why almost every interior is embracing consciously more highlights with typography. It is a decorating trend that has a growing loyal fan club and will continue so. Therefore, I’ll dare say it is a macro trend.

What a beautiful dining space - a fusion of industrial style with inox details and exposed brick wall accents and rustic elements due to this fab looking dining table combined with white dining chairs. Image by Houseology.
Image by Houseology

Typography makes an impression by definition. The typeface, size, spacing, the mix of colors, intensity, fonts, the fluidity or austerity, the orientation and placement all convey a message, create a mood, make a statement. The aim: to convey a message in an appealing way! As such, it can easily add a sense of style when used in an eclectic way as decorative means. More importantly, typography in home decorating can add a very personal touch in any interior, especially when it is a message or a quote that is of meaning to you.

Partial view of living space with a gallery wall that includes a typography print and a stunning cane sideboard that adds depth and texture. Image by Desenio.
Image by Desenio. Take note of that vintage appeal of the rattan sideboard that adds an element of texture and depth into this space. That is complimented nicely by the decorative pillows with various patterns found on the pouf across.
A contemporary bedroom in a grey blue color palette, featuring a gallery wall including some prints with typography.
Image by Desenio.
A cool white desk with a wall filled with typography decor to spice it all up. Image by Cuckooland.
Image by Cuckooland

The living space below is a wonderful example of how typography in home decorating is used on the spines of  the books creates a more whimsical vibe in this bookcase and combines with the grave looking portrait in the middle. It all creates a cohesive ensemble with a cozy feel to it yet, interesting and casual.

A room with a bookcase and a large wooden dining table.

Typography as a decorating element

Typography highlights may be small and subtle, i.e. a cookie jar with a label or big and bold as a furniture piece, i.e. a coffee table or a chair. You may even use a stencil kit to add your very own typography touch to your old coffee table or your bed’s wooden headboard. I haven’t actually used such a kit myself yet, but I’m seriously considering it. (If you have used one, please share the details below in the comment section).

Partial view of a bright living space featuring a gallery wall that includes typography prints. Image by Desenio.
Image by Desenio.

The main thing to keep in mind is that typography may emphasize and complement a space in a most appealing way, as long as you keep a balance. Too much of it and it can go seriously wrong, resulting in dressing-down your space. That’s definitely not something you want. And you can easily go overboard with it. Therefore, balance it out with some negative space and a lot of artwork to keep it looking more edgy. An analogy to keep in mind as a rule of thumb is three to one (3:1) or higher.

A contemporary green bedroom featuring a black and white gallery wall that includes some typography. Image by Desenio.
Image by Desenio. Isn’t this green bedroom stunning?! I happen to think that decorating with green walls is one heck of a design statement that’s going to stick around for a long time.


Moreover, I think that its placement is of great significance for it may add on or take away from the design scheme. For instance, typography can look exceptional in a bookcase (you could read my tips on how to style a bookcase here). But, it can also look flashy or cheesy and so it has to be used with caution.

A vignette with a pop vibe to it, featuring a color blocked wall with an art gallery, a velvet upholstered armchair with a neon sign that reads feelings. Image by Desenio.
Image by Desenio. Take note of the color blocked wall that helps enhance the pop vibe in this setting. Color blocking in interior design can work wonders with the right lighting and artwork. As a matter of fact, this wall reminds me one of many I put together for a client’s renovation project in the making.

Design Weight

A quote or a decorative letter sign don’t have the same design weight. A quote tends to have less design weight and therefore, I would restrict it in i.e. bedroom. A sign letter with lights though, usually carries more design weight and hence, I would consider using it in a contemporary living room.

A home office with a gallery wall that includes some typography prints for impact. Image by Desenio.
Image by Desenio.

The “copy-paste” approach

As a matter of fact, there are many examples judging from numerous Pinterest images with quote imagery for instance, used to style a space that look a bit dull and boring (putting it politely).

The worst part of it though, is that it looks like a “copy-paste” approach, and that strips of any magic found in the uniqueness of typography! And I blame greatly the same type of framing seen everywhere for this wrong vibe that these quote imagery prints give out. So please think it through again…

Since all it takes is to frame your favorite motto in a large print to add that personal touch, please do consider carefully your framing! IKEA type of black frames i.e. RIBA, may look great in a bathroom or a bedroom, but not necessarily in your living room – for they lack depth. And depth is one of the design elements that adds dimension and aids in a good design flow.


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Last update: 12/30/2019

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