For those of you who can remember back to the 70’s, there was a song called Signs by the Five Man Electrical Band. It was a catchy tune with some interesting lyrics about social injustice and perceptions, but the part that really stuck in my mind was the chorus:
“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”
Okay, it was the groovy 70’s, so don’t judge. But seriously, is it just me or are there an awful lot of word signs everywhere in home décor these days?
When I had my store in Hawaii ten years ago, word signs were just becoming popular. Many of them were freestanding models, usually black or cream, that you could put above your kitchen cabinets or on a shelf with words like Amore, Live, Laugh and Love. We literally could not keep them in stock. Recently, I was in a consignment shop in Idaho when I saw a couple of those versions for sale and was reminded again that almost all home décor has a half-life.
Over the years, signs have evolved into feel-good quotes by everyone from Mother Theresa to Winston Churchill, and I am inspired by many of them. Bible verses are also popular, as are words of wisdom like Always Kiss Me Goodnight, Mind Your Manners and simply, Simplify. Sometimes you don’t know if you’re being encouraged or lectured to.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a good sign and have them sprinkled around our house. When overdone, it can feel like you’re reading a book. When done right, they can really add character to a room, make you think, or even cause you to laugh out loud.
What I have enjoyed lately are the new and creative ways there are in the design world to interpret various words and sayings into signs. Reclaimed barn wood with metal letters, canvases with hand lettering, wood box-type signs, and framed typeset letters are just a few of the more clever ways to make signs fit the way we want to decorate today.
Word signs and messages of inspiration, when naturally incorporated into a wall grouping or colage, can be an impactful addition to the overall decor of a room.
So to sign or not to sign, that is the question. Are they an asset or is it too much of a good thing> Let me know what you think! As is so often the case, my 85 year old mother may have the perfect answer. She is fond of saying “moderation in all things” and I think that in the case of wall signs, that sounds like good advice.