Our Guide to Monogramming

A guide to monogramming

A guide to monogramming

Long Live the Monogram

The monogram has made its mark throughout history. First appearing carved into coins to mark the reign of Greek and Roman rulers, the monogram eventually became a symbol of aristocracy, emblazoned on everything from armor to household items to coats of arms. And during the Middle Ages, artisans used their personal monogram to sign their work.

Today, a monogram is a charming way for anyone to bring a little luxury into the everyday or turn thoughtful gifts into treasured keepsakes. Long considered by many to be a stuffy tradition, monogramming has suddenly gone mainstream. You can find initials embroidered, printed or etched on just about anything, from linens to totes to wallpaper.

The option to add your own logo—which is, essentially, what a monogram is—is widely available (and inexpensive, too) for a variety of items. So the next time you’re buying something special for yourself or for someone else, put a monogram on it.

A guide to monogramming

The Basics of Creating Your Brand

While almost anything goes when it comes to monogramming and personalization these days, there are a few standard guidelines you may find helpful.

Guide to monogramming

Monograms for Singles

  • In the traditional 3-letter monogram, the last name initial is centered in large type, flanked by the first name initial and middle name initial in smaller type. Example: Eva Wren Smith is eSw
  • A modern version of the 3-letter monogram lists the first, middle and last name initials in order in the same size type. Example: Eva Wren Smith is EWS
  • The 2-letter monogram uses the last name initial and first name initial. Example: Eva Wren Smith is ES 
  • The single-letter monogram uses the last name initial. Example: Eva Wren Smith is SA guide to monogramming

Monograms for Couples

  • For a married woman’s monogram (whether she keeps her maiden name or not), follow the first two rules above using her married last name initial and her maiden name initial in place of her middle name. Example: Eva Smith Fitzgerald is eFs or ESF
  • For a married couple’s joint monogram, the traditional 3-letter monogram has the married last name initial centered in large type, flanked by the couple’s first name initials on either side. (This order also applies in cases where the wife hyphenates her last name or if the type is all the same size.) Example: Eva Smith Fitzgerald and Charles Fitzgerald would be cFe or CFE
  • For couples with a last name that has a prefix, such as Mc, Mac, Du & O’, the same rule applies of using the first letter of the last name. Example: Tyler and Mary Du Pont is tDm or TDM
  • A same-sex couple may choose a 2-letter monogram using the last name initials. Example: John Smith and Michael Wells is SW.
  • Another option for same-sex couples is a 4-letter monogram with last name initials centered in large type, flanked by the couple’s first name initials. Example: Ellen Holder and Karen Simpson is eHSk.

Browse our bedding and bath options and find the perfect place to add your own monogram. Or, find more decorating and bedroom inspiration by visiting our Pinterest boards.

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply

    Maria Gonzalez

    February 11, 2014

    Love Ballard Designs! Question: Which monogram styles are featured above? Thank you!

    • Reply

      The How to Decorate Team

      February 12, 2014

      Hi Maria,

      Thank you for your comment. In the first two images, the bedding pieces feature a monogram in Style 23 in Lavender. The third bedding look on our Ashleigh Lace Bedding features a monogram in Style 20, and the last image features our Callia Grosgrain bedding with a monogram in Style 33.

      Let us know if you have any other questions!
      The How to Decorate Team