Design Chick  

Use your (design) words

I spot decorative letters and sometimes random numbers 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.

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 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 into their spaces.

Soft Goods        

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 too far.

Smaller accents can handle a bit of wordy charisma too: 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.

Wall Art

I'm pretty sure you've seen these everywhere by now, but the classic subway sign roll is a favourite of minimalists and nostalgia lovers alike.

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-sized letter or two and leaning it on a shelf with other unique decor.


An iconic and classic staple, the Ingo Maurer Zettel'z five-light fixture, consists of love letters written in different languages, encouraging 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 custom masterpiece.


For something totally out of the ordinary, there's always a chunky piece of furniture out there that will fit the bill.

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. Whimsical, graphic, bold, and playful — statement pieces like these are for every inner-child... forget your real age.

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About the Author

A graduate of Mount Royal University in Calgary, Crispin Butterfield launched Urban Theory Interior Design in 2003 and has since been featured in Canada’s Style At Home magazine, Covet, Canadian Retailer, and the National Post.

She’s a master in designing residential and commercial soul-hugging spaces clients relish showing up to, socializing in, and especially love coming home to.

She and her team work with clients from conceptualization to completion, providing full scale service with authenticity, innovation, and lots of personality.


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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