Picture Books as Interior Design Manuals (Part I)

This is the first post in a series on decorating your home according to children’s books.    What I’ve always wanted most in a house is coziness— a house that smiles, a home that points to heaven.   What  better place to get decorating ideas than from the pages of children’s books!

Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon is a good place to begin.  It is difficult to find a cozier book or room.  I didn’t take this book so much to heart as to paint my boys’ room kelly green.  (I’m not that brave!)  Instead, I’ve tried to implement the subtler decorating ideas found in the “great green room.”

The Mantel Clock

I’m starting with this because it is an item I have not yet procured.  I have a vision of one, so I’ll duck into an antique store now and then.  Once I waited years for the right dining room chairs to appear, but they did (just like the affordable stained-glass windows).  Be patient.   Put your décor desire on the back burner of your mind, and when you pass an antique store, take the lid off your wish and let the aroma of hope waft around the store.

My grandmother had a mantel clock on top of her television.  How comforting the tick tock of time is when you are right where you want to be—tucked in on a pallet at your grandparent’s house!  Or snug in the house with your children and husband, all bathed and ready for a “cuddle puddle” on the couch.


 The Table Lamp

Lamplight soothes away the harshness of the day.  In Goodnight Moon, the table lamp casts its sweet glow over the clutter (a comb, a brush, and a bowl of mush) on the table, making the odd collection of items somehow coherent and dreamy.  When you don’t have the time or energy to clean, lamplight can work that same magic in your home.


The Rocking Chair

The “quiet old lady” bunny rocks, knitting and hushing.  Don’t rocking chairs creak contentment?!!  Perhaps they subconsciously remind us of how we were held and rocked as children.  Put them inside in a book nook  or outside on the porch or patio.  They are welcoming and charmingly old-fashioned.  They seem to say, “Come sit a while.  There is time to read, sew, sip iced tea, shell peas . . . .”


The Fireplace

If you don’t have a fireplace in your current home, you can tease yourself into believing you do by playing this on your television.  My sister gave me a fireplace DVD years ago as a joke.  She’d laugh if she knew just how often  I’ve “played” it on warm winter days here in Texas, when I needed to feel the coziness only a fire in the “hearth” can evoke.  The crackling sound on the DVD is so real, you’ll even imagine heat is emanating from your TV.   How peaceful it is sipping hot tea and reading beside a fire!


The Bookshelf

That brings us to the last decorating idea I’d like to highlight from this book:  the bookshelf.  I once read someone lament that with the dawn of e-books, how were people going to decorate their homes?  Perhaps that question is one of the myriad reasons printed books will never go out of style. 

My bookshelf holds the books that have made me cry, made me dream, caused my mind to open wider.  It holds pieces of my heart.  Strangely, guests can pick up these pieces, hold them in their hands, make them part of their own hearts, too.  In our 93-year-old house, the shelves are sagging under the weight of my children’s book collection.  Or, is it just that my house is smiling?

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