How To Choose Montessori Furniture
Ever wondered what Montessori furniture looks like? In this post, we'll help you identify its features and tell you the best options for finding it, alongside Montessori-aligned accessories
Teacher and Copywriter
When you walk into a Montessori classroom, it's easy to recognize its influence in the design. But the neutral-colored walls, natural materials and carefully designed learning stations — the features of a Montessori space — were never meant to be restricted exclusively to school. Whether your child has started school or not, it's never too early to begin their Montessori journey from home.
If you're thinking of introducing the Montessori Method into your home, you're in the right place. We'll help you identify the features of Montessori furniture and share examples so you know what to look for.
What Is Montessori Furniture?
Montessori furniture refers to furniture that follows the guidelines set out by the Montessori Method. To be clear, there is no certification that makes furniture Montessori-approved in an official capacity.
Appropriate furniture relates to key Montessori principles by encouraging freedom of movement and choice. Designing a space that inspires your child's independence opens them up to unlimited discovery and wonder. As a child, how well do you remember the desire to try your parents' everyday tasks on your own? Pouring your own glass of juice was exciting because it required focus and trust. The right tools can help to encourage your child's exploration and confidence.
How To Find and Choose Montessori Furniture
If you search for Montessori furniture online, you'll come up with many options. Just remember that the label is sometimes used as a branding strategy to hike up prices. To avoid getting duped, look for specific features that align with Montessori principles.
First, the furniture should be simple for your child to use. Open shelving and cubbies tend to be easier to use than cupboards and closets with heavy doors. The furniture should also be scaled down to your child’s size so they can get the most out of it.
Second, remember that furniture is a tool to empower your child. Convenience sells, and children’s materials are often designed to make tasks efficient and effortless. But independent learning comes from exploration, problem solving and trial and error. Parents can keep a lookout for furniture and accessories that enable your child’s learning instead of doing the learning for them. For example, swap options that reduce your child’s opportunities for mobility -like baby walkers- for wagons, which give your child the choice of when and how to use it.
In general, spaces that follow Montessori principles tend to have a clean and minimalist look. Instead of furniture with ornate detail and fussy features, you might look for simple designs with neutral colors. Natural woods are a popular material for bringing nature into the space, too.
How to DIY Montessori Furniture
Can Montessori furniture be made at home? Absolutely! Start by looking around your home for pieces that could fit your child’s space. You can repurpose small stools so your child can reach counters or other areas that require some height. If you have a water jug with a spout and a shallow bucket, you can use them to create a sized-down sink and kitchen where your child can access everything they need. You can also cut kitchen sponges in half to fit little hands. Don't forget to check second-hand stores for items on your list, too. Most furniture stores have children’s sections that offer furniture smaller in size. Home goods stores like IKEA are a favourite for those willing to do a little painting or building. Take a look at the examples below to get inspired.
Montessori Furniture for Your Child’s Bedroom
In general, this refers to a children’s bed that rests on or near the floor instead of a crib with tall guardrails. Lower beds allow your child to move in and out by themselves while staying safe. For a complete guide on this topic, check out our post on how to choose a Montessori bed.
Floor beds with a house frame are a popular choice for Montessori-inspired beds. This bed from Target only extends the house frame at the headboard for more room around the bed.
This natural wood toddler bed with slats comes in fifteen sizes and two different options for wood. The slats provide structure and safety while the opening allows your child to access the bed with ease.
Starting at $199.69 USD
If you fancy yourself the handy type, you might try making your child’s bed. Grab lumber and tools and follow this DIY Floor bed frame plan for sweet dreams.
Putting a mirror into your child's space has various benefits along their developmental journey. You’ll see more acrylic and shatterproof options to keep younger children safe and give parents peace of mind. A mirror can help infants develop coordination. Later, it can assist toddlers in self-care activities like getting dressed.
You can put this Amazon 2-position mirror in almost any space in the home. Position the mirror horizontally for infants and rotate it vertically as your child grows.
The Lots adhesive Mirrors aren't heavy and stick to the wall. Arrange them in whatever configuration best suits your home.
Useful for toddlers, this Pull-up Mirror allows your child to use the sturdy bar to lift themselves up while developing their sense of balance and coordination. Use the bar to help with activities or learning new movements.
Cubby storage is popular in Montessori classrooms, and for good reason. Children can easily find what they’re looking for and retrieve items from their personal cubby.
IKEA has somewhat of a reputation for its storage shelves, and they offer a lot of variety. The KALLAX shelf unit is a great start, which you can use as-is or add bins to store items.
Likewise, the TROFAST storage frame is made of light-stained pine and allows you to customize the storage bins for easy organizing.
This multi-bin storage cubby is low to the ground for easy reaching. The curved bins on the bottom work well for items that don’t stand easily by themselves, from blankets to clothes or stuffed animals.
Montessori Furniture and Utensils for the Kitchen
You might already know that the Montessori Method encourages children to use real utensils and tableware. When children are entrusted with fragile objects to care for, they rise to the challenge and learn to respect them. You can find a more in-depth look at breakable utensils in our post about Montessori mealtime.
A Step Stool
Of all the furniture that encourages your child to explore, a step stool allows them to participate most in everyday tasks with you. There’s nothing like a child's sense of accomplishment when they can reach and help on the same level as everyone else.
These Melissa & Doug step stools come in a pack of four so you can keep one in almost every room. When an environment can’t easily be scaled down for your child, a step stool helps them navigate the kitchen with more independence.
The Little Partners Learning Tower is designed to bring children to the height of most standard counters. It is adjustable in height and boasts a surrounding guardrail for extra safety.
Weaning glasses transition your child to the kind of glassware they’ll use as they grow up. Place these glasses on the bottom shelf of your cupboards so your child can reach them comfortably with the help of a step stool.
These Duralex glasses are also available in a set with glass dishware. The glass is tempered, making it more durable and shock-proof if they're dropped.
The POKAL clear glass has built itself a following as a kid-friendly weaning glass perfect for little hands.
Look for utensils that match your child’s size. As you might know, Montessori doesn’t shy away from letting children use metal utensils. Taking the time to guide your child to use utensils carefully means they can transition effortlessly to the real thing.
This 12-piece silverware set has smaller sized utensils for hands to grasp. They’re also BPA-free and dishwasher safe.
Empower your child with a cooking set that is perfectly sized for them so they can help you with meal prep.
Montessori Furniture for the Bathroom
A bathroom routine is one of the first self-care skills your child masters. There are many opportunities for building independence including brushing their hair or teeth. Learning where hygiene items belong in the bathroom teaches them how to care for their space.
Hooks are easy to use and help children easily understand where items belong. Simply hang them at your child's height for easy access.
These adhesive towel hooks from Amazon can be mounted on any surface. This works great if you're short on wall space and need to mount hooks on the side of a cabinet.
You can also make bath time an opportunity to let your child take ownership of their bathroom routine. These hooks for the tub and shower wall will hang loofahs, sponges and bath toys in the tub.
The Mommy’s Helper potty seat comes with a small ladder so that children can reach the toilet safely. The step-up ladder is adjustable and can be removed as your child grows in height.
The My Size potty looks like an adult toilet to transition your child from potty to toilet smoothly. The potty even features a flushing noise and a compartment for bathroom tissue.
Now that your child can reach what they need in the bathroom, let's make sure the items are the right size. Tools that are the appropriate size for your child encourage their sense of ownership and accomplishment. They understand that the item belongs to them, and they use it to achieve their goals.
This Etsy find contains an entire set of child-sized brushes and combs for little hands. The handles are made of natural beech wood, while the bristles are made of 100% goat hair.
These sand timers are great for helping children remember how long to brush their teeth or wash their hands.
Montessori Furniture for a Home Learning Environment
If you work from home, you know how important it is to have a space without distractions. Likewise, your child needs a dedicated learning area. Whether it's in their bedroom or a common area, devote a portion of the room to a space that allows for concentration and focus.
Displaying your child’s books puts their curiosity and choices on full display. They get to showcase the stories they love and practice putting books away where they belong.
Picture ledges work wonderfully as bookshelves, especially if you have less floor space. Mount these on the wall at your child's height for an easily accessed storage solution.
This IKEA book display doubles as a storage unit so your child can pair books with the learning toys and tools that inspire them most.
Whether you choose a traditional desk or opt for a table with two seats, a desk is a spot for children to concentrate, wonder, and learn. Choose a desk that fits your family situation, whether your child has siblings or friends with whom they’ll be engaging in Montessori work.
This Melissa & Doug table and chairs set serves as a learning and play station for two. The company says these chairs may look small, but they’re sturdy enough to hold an adult, too.
This FLISAT children’s desk is adjustable, so you can increase the height of the table as your child grows. It also works perfectly as a sensory table for younger children.
Craft easels might have you thinking of paint, but they can be used for much more. They allow children the freedom to move while creating, and provide a display for learning. Parents can rotate the supplies available so children can explore new ways to use materials.
This double-sided easel is made of natural wood and has both dry-erase and chalkboard sides. Standing easels are an option for children who love to keep their bodies moving.
This easel sits on the tabletop, so parents can move it wherever it needs to go. An art paper roll lies on top for your child’s works of art.
Realistic Hare Print
Provide a levelled opportunity for your child to view and examine art in their space. So often, the decorative touches made to walls are instinctively placed for adults to see at eye-level. Hang picture frames at your child’s height to give them an added chance to inspect all the details of an artwork. You can opt for artwork that depicts something real in nature, like a landscape or this beautiful painting of a hare by Albrecht Durer.
Hopefully, these suggestions for each room give you an idea of how to get started creating your own Montessori space at home. All of the options can be collected, repurposed or made by hand. Remember to keep it simple, avoid clutter, and scale items to your child's size.
Remember to think of furnishings as a tool that enable your child to explore and interact with the world. Often, accessories are as easy as adding height to create accessibility for areas that are normally reserved for adults, but excite children the most to be a part of. Try to steer clear of plastics when available and loud and jarring colors, and replace them with natural materials and hues like wood and bamboo. Leave it to your child’s imagination to be the spark that colours their surroundings.
With these key takeaways, you have everything you need to enhance your child Montessori journey in your home.
Natalia is a classroom educator turned copywriter and content writer. With a passion for teaching and writing, she happily splits her time between the classroom and the keyboard in the spectacular Pacific Northwest in Vancouver, Canada.