A Montessori inspired bedroom offers children of all ages the opportunity to be independent and creative within a safe environment. It’s a great way to help them develop skills and have the freedom to direct their own play and learning. Maria Montessori said;
We must give the child an environment that he can utilize by himself: a little washstand of his own, a bureau with drawers he can open, objects of common use that he can operate, a small bed in which he can sleep at night under an attractive blanket he can fold and spread by himself. We must give him an environment in which he can live and play; then we will see him work all day with his hands and wait impatiently to undress himself and lay himself down on his own bed.
Translating these ideas into reality doesn’t have to be complicated. We don’t have a fully Montessori home but we used a lot of the concepts and ideas to make a practical and empowering space for Luisa. If this is something you’d like to try to read on for my top tips.
When Luisa was about 18 months old we purchased a floor-bed. We choose this option because she was still feeding to sleep at night and so I didn’t want to try and squash in a toddler bed but we felt she was too small for a single bed. The floor-bed was a great purchase as she could get in and out independently and it was a soft space to sit and read or play during the day. You might want to consider something similar for your toddler – they are very cute and can be ‘more’ than just a mattress on the floor! Our was a wooden tipi style frame, I loved it.
Keep decor simple, calm and beautiful. That’s not to say it has to be bland or sterile, you can have lots of art and texture! We love displaying toys and books as part of the decor and an invitation to play – win win. I would always reccomend laminate wood flooring as it’s durable, easy to clean and allows toys to balance and move freely. Lovely rugs, wall hangings and textiles like floor cushions soften the room, adding texture and making it a cosy fun space.
Furniture & Storage
Having toys, clothes and games hidden away doesn’t complement the Montessori approach so try to buy your kids things that are safe and appropriate for them to have access to in the first place. This should eliminate the temptation to store them out of reach! Of course this is a little more tricky where a room in shared as some small parts won’t be safe for littler ones.
We like using Ikea Kallax cubes in L’s room. Some are left open as a shelf to display toys as an ‘invitation to play’ and others have boxes in that she can easily pull out – we’ve added pictorial labels to all the boxes. We also have an open bookcase to encourage reading and an art caddy full of paint sticks, washable markers and crayons etc. I try to rotate toys but this is something I struggle to find the time to do regularly.
I’ve seen other families storing clothes on an open rail but we decided to have a tall slim wardrobe. The bottom three drawers store t-shirts, bottoms, underwear and jumpers that Luisa is free to wear any time. The bottom rail has day dresses, costumes and coats she’s able to reach whilst the top rail is reserved for school uniform and ‘special’ clothes I don’t allow free access to.
In conclusion… we don’t have a perfectly child-led Montessori environment but we used the principles to create as open and free a space as possible. I encourage Luisa to use and explore most things in our home and it hasn’t steered me wrong.