The Goodnight Moon Room Re-imagined for Real Life.

I’ve taken to reading Henry Goodnight Moon every night before bed.  Most of the time he just gets mad that I won’t let him eat the book/ drench it in his drool, but he also loves to touch and stare at the pictures.  Probably because the famous room in Goodnight Moon is a colorful, violent assault on the eyeballs. A delight for littles, but for adults it leaves one reeling.

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As a designer, every time I look at these pictures I wonder what the illustrator was thinking (beyond making a picture bright enough for tiny developing minds to be intrigued by).  My thoughts go from “oohh, look at the tiger rug by the bed, how Miles Redd!” to “Why is there a roaring fire in this child’s room??” and “How have they not called an exterminator yet?”  Turns out, there is a HILARIOUS post about this  already from the blog The Ugly Volvo. So I won’t try to compete.

But I got to thinking, with so many parents reading this classic to their children, wouldn’t it be great to design a room around the book?  But one with a color palette that doesn’t make you go into violent seizures?  So I took on the challenge- creating a Goodnight Moon influenced room for REAL children!

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  1. So, we can handle green striped drapes, we’ll just make them green and white instead of green and yellow.
  2.  Bold green walls to keep with the illustrations (but we’ll skip the red floor because, WHOA.) But speaking of Miles Redd, this room- and particularly this wall color– has his total vibe.
  3. A ceiling wallpapered in stars like you see out the windows in the book!
  4. An illustration of a cow jumping over the moon, framed in a vintage gilt frame– since that tiny bunny had loads of gilt frames on his walls. Fancy bunny.
  5. Instead of a random red balloon just hanging out and being a nasty choking hazard, how about a framed print of one?
  6. A blue lamp.
  7. Bed pillows done in Hunt Slonem’s bunny print fabric for Lee Jofa. So meta.
  8. A comb and a brush (we’ll skip that whole bowl of mush business because what kid wants mush?)
  9. A pair of upholstered beds- done in navy instead of red to keep things classy. :)
  10. A cool brass bedside table.
  11. Zebra rug in between the beds, fo’ sho’.
  12. Instead of art of “three little bears sitting on chairs” how about three little BEAR CHAIRS. Bam, that just happened, y’all.
  13. An update on the pedestal table- this time a modern play table for those bear chairs :)
  14. Green bordered bedding.
  15. A nice bordered natural rug to replace the red wall-to-wall happening.
  16. Inside a closet or a bathroom would be ideal to use the red Hunt Slonem wallpaper, right? It’s like it was MADE for this project!
  17. A tiny toy house!
  18. Bookshelves full of colorful books.
  19. A vintage Thonet rocking chair for the “old lady” (ahem-would that be me?) saying HUSH

Since it was a short week I will try to also post on Thursday to make up for missing Monday :)




36 comments

  1. Erin – you have such a wonderful artist’s eye and ability to find inspiration everywhere. What a great post. Bear chairs = awesome. You win the internet today.

  2. This is really cute…Love the blues and greens. One of the things I enjoy most about following your blog is how your creativity helps turn on my creativity. We have fur babies only, so I do not need a kids room, but some of your selections have me thinking about other things I might like for my home (Like that blue bed in my guest room all prepped out!). Thanks so much!

  3. Love it. I read a book recently set in a bookstore modelled on Goodnight Moon. I’d visit one that looks like yours.

  4. This is a BEAUTIFIL interpretation of the room Erin, but that blog post by The Ugly Volvo-brilliant! I was spewing coffee through my nose laughing! I have thought similar things about that room myself. Thanks for sharing!

  5. When my daughter was born 41 years ago, (ahem) I bought the Thonet rocking chair for her. It was the most uncomfortable chair I could have gotten. Yes…it looked cool, but sometimes you just need function over form.
    And I would love the brass chest for myself. Just sayin’…

  6. I mean, I kind of love everything about this. While reading this book to my now 2 1/2 year old, I told him mush is actually oatmeal and we pretend to eat it; he also says we have to call a fire truck about the fire.

  7. Erin, this is brilliant! As a teacher, a mom and a grandmom, I have read this book countless times. Thank you for your imaginative interpretation. I have often changed the words, but this is so much more fun!

  8. Absolutely love your take on this…you are very talented! I loved reading that book to my children – and still (20 years later) recite portions, and they can to. Another favorite – The Big Red Barn!!!

  9. What a fun idea, Erin Gates!

    I remember this book, but I don’t remember this particular illustration. I think ours had a different illustrator! It is pretty eye-popping, but you’ve done a great job of calming it all down. After all, shouldn’t a bedtime story actually be calming?

    Haven’t commented before, but want you to know that I always look forward to getting your posts in my email. Your blog is what a blog should be. And because of that, your followers love you! All the best to you, Erin, the wonderful Andrew, and the adorable little Henry!

  10. I love this Erin! So creative and lovely. Way to find a way to marry motherhood with your design passion :) Rooms inspired by children’s books could be a regular feature! Where the Wild Things Are, The Velveteen Rabbit, so many great options!

  11. The other commenters are right – you are so talented. Great post to show both your creativity and create a beautiful room. I feel like a lot of people will be inspired by this!

  12. My daughter can recite this book at this point. We read “Good Night Moon” even in the morning. When we get to the end of the book, where we say goodnight stars, we sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars”. Her favourite question of the book: “Mamma, why are there so many clocks in the room?”

  13. You’re a genius, Erin! Such a funny post … fo`sho` , violent seizures… I’m still laughing! Plus, I don’t feel so crazy anymore thinking about Max & Ruby’s cute little cottage :)

  14. What a great idea — I love this post! What other books could you draw inspiration from? Either other classic children’s books or favorite adult books would be cool to see through your design eyes.

  15. Way to hit it outta the park with this one, Erin! My twins are graduating from eighth grade tomorrow, but I love this post!! Loved the book and your rendition is priceless.

    Yay!!

  16. What a great idea! I am seriously contemplating your improved look for my daughter’s room when she’s a little older, since that book is a favorite. Also, thank you for recommending the Ugly Volvo post, I literally started crying I was laughing so hard. Great comic release after a day of chasing after two young kiddos.

  17. Erin,
    This has to be my favorite blog post of the week! Love it so much, I had to share it with my husband. He’s digging the bear chairs. Thank you!!!

  18. Children’s stories have elements of joy and a bit of unknown, and at times a bit of a “creep” aspect….HOW CLEVER OF YOU, to find only the joy, and make it come alive….I WANT THAT WALLPAPER, and actually I would like the real drawings, but alas toooo pricey…You are a visionary….

  19. If you ever get down again about folks who feel it’s important to tear you down in comments, go to that Volvo post and read the delightful bursts of vitriol some of her readers submitted. People actually call her an idiot… among other things. Sigh. I was delighted by your concept and Volvo’s funny article… and then humanity disappointed again.

  20. Nice job on an adorable child’s room – book or no!
    And now for something as creepy as the bedroom in the book – I dreamed that you and Andrew were on vacation on a boat with us where we almost sank. …..I know….
    Maybe I should lay off your instagram feed….

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