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Modern takes on the monogram

Barbara Alden Wilson is a writer specializing in health and medical topics. You can follow her on Twitter at @BAldenWilson and on her blog,

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Monograms are back — and way more stylish than your grandmother's monogrammed tablecloth and matching napkins. Here are some surprising ways to add a modern touch to your decor with monograms.
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Wall monograms

Whether traditional in style, as the one pictured above, or more contemporary, such as the round block-style lettering, below left, vinyl wall monograms are among the newest monogramming trends. Their light adhesive makes them easy to move or change, and they add an unexpected punch to any room. "I love them over a fireplace mantel, as well as in a child's room or nursery," says Monica Smith, founder of The Pink Monogram and blogger at

For an individual's monogram with a large center letter, the first letter of the last name goes in the center, the first-name initial goes on the left and the middle-name initial goes on the right. For married couples, their new, shared last name initial goes in the center, with the bride's first initial on the left and the groom's on the right.

Mix it up

Don't be afraid to use your monogram throughout your home, says Smith. "I do believe in mix and match," she says. "It is a good rule of thumb to let the pattern and material of the object to be monogrammed help you make the call. For example, if you have a solid color pillowcase, your font choices are limitless."

On the striped hand towels for the powder room, pictured below, the bold, shadowbox font makes a statement. The solid color towels, pictured at bottom, lend themselves to the delicate dotted font.

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Hammam stripe hand towel
(West Elm, $10)
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H initial throw pillow
(Cafe Press, $20)
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Monogrammed apothecary jars
(Williams-Sonoma, $40-$50)

Marry formal and casual

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A formal monogram on a surprisingly informal material is an eye-catching conversation starter in newlyweds' homes. Burlap serves as the backdrop for a formal monogram in white. This time, the combination pops up in an unexpected place — the bathroom — with the additional formal touch of bullion fringe.

Burlap shower curtain with bullion fringe
(Ballard Designs, $49)

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By contrast, the sumptuous velvet material and studded border on these pillows mix well with the simple monogram style. Using all lowercase letters in a monogram also makes it less formal than usual.

Studded velvet pillow cover
(West Elm, $20-$39)

Besides being a way to personalize your decor, monograms are a way to celebrate your union with your spouse. So while you're keeping color, shape and pattern choices in mind when choosing monograms, remember that the bottom line is that your choice should be something beautiful that makes you happy — just like your marriage itself.

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