What is Montessori furniture and how is it different from non-Montessori furniture? Montessori furniture is generally crafted of solid wood. Maria Montessori felt that natural materials were the most suitable for young children. Natural materials, like wood, are generally non-toxic. And solid wood is durable. That is why the majority of Montessori furniture is made of natural wood, sometimes with a white border or rim. This is the sort of furniture we will be referencing.

Wooden counting and writing trays with coffee beans for educating littles on number writing, fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, mathematical skills. Montessori materials. Counting math game
Natural materials, like wood, are generally non-toxic. And solid wood is durable.

©Nataliia Zhekova/Shutterstock.com

The wonderful thing about Montessori furniture is that it will grow with your child. So, while it may cost a bit more on the front end, it is versatile and will serve your family for many years. Whether you’re setting up your home to homeschool your child using Montessori curriculum and methods or simply desire to have a child-friendly space in your house, keep reading to learn which pieces of Montessori furniture are essential for each room in your home.

Montessori Furniture: Understanding the Approach

To have a better understanding of and appreciation for Montessori furniture it is important to understand the philosophy behind Montessori education. Maria Montessori (1870-1952), the founder of this eponymous method of educating young children, believed that children were capable of educating themselves. To facilitate these young minds in their pursuit of knowledge she believed it was important for their environment to be tailored to their diminutive size. Montessori classrooms are mixed-age. Therefore, the furniture in a Montessori classroom is often a variety of different sizes, much like the students themselves. This is one of the ways in which Montessori furniture differs from the tables, desks, and chairs found in traditional classrooms.

A classroom with a wooden laminate floor. The background is a neutral colored wall on which hang shelves with books and glue and markers, in the renter frame. Windows are in the wall on the left and right frames. In the classroom itself, four tables. There are three children seated At the table and frame left closest to the left is a light-skinned little girl with stringy light brown hair. She is wearing a pink and orange sundress. She is looking at some things she is holding in her hand bit away from the table. To her left closer to the center of the frame is a light-skinned little boy with short blonde hair; he is obscured by a plastic tub that is on the table in front of him, but underneath the table you can see that he is wearing shorts and he is barefoot. Seated to his left in the center of the frame is a brown skin boy with very close cropped black hair he is wearing a short-sleeved coral colored T-shirt and rust colored shorts he also has on black tennis shoes with white soles. He has a pencil in his left hand or possibly a wooden dowel. Behind them are four other children two little boys and two little girls. A light-skinned boy facing the camera is looking down at something on the table. He is obscured by a basket on the table. Across the table from him with his back to the camera is a olive-skinned little boy wearing a short sleeve awkward T-shirt and khaki shorts he is sitting crosslegged in the chair. A light-skinned little girl in the back right frame wearing a blue and white striped sundress has her head down performing a task at the table. A brown-skinned girl with waist long black hair has her back to the camera across the table from the little girl wearing the sundress
To facilitate young minds in their pursuit of knowledge Maria Montessori believed it was important for their environment to be tailored to their diminutive size.

©Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Philosophy of Size

Most of the furnishings in a traditional classroom are more of a one size fits all variety. Many of us probably remember a classmate who simply defied the size constraints of the average schoolroom desk. Until arrangements could be made to procure a larger or smaller sized desk, the classmate was forced to learn in a wholly unsuitable and uncomfortable manner. And who could forget the fidgeting and excess movement associated with vain attempts to get comfortable? Though completely understandable, it was nonetheless, distracting to classmates and provoked the ire of the teacher.
Because Montessori education doesn’t use the direct instruction approach, these problems are practically unheard of in a Montessori classroom. There will be those students in a Montessori class who do not fall within the norms of their peer group. However, modifications will be made and accommodations in place upon their arrival.

A classroom with 5 rows of natural wooden desks and chairs with slender black metal legs. The photograph is taken from the back of the room. The back of the frame is a rectangular white dry erase board with a square green chalk board on its left and right. Three skylights are visible at the top the back frame.
Most of the furnishings in a traditional classroom are more of a one size fits all variety.

©smolaw/Shutterstock.com

Philosophy of Movement

”The task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility and evil with activity,” according to Maria Montessori. The furniture in a Montessori classroom makes way for movement. Montessori classrooms consist of different stations. Some stations are at height-appropriate tables with corresponding chairs. Other stations are on the floor, where children can lie down if they’re feeling so inclined. Absent are those tidy rows of desks that are a hallmark of direct instruction models of education. Classrooms are designed for and encourage movement.

Full frame of a Montessori classroom toward the front of the frame is a round wooden table at which three young children are seated. A young brown-skinned girl with black curly hair wearing a shirt-sleeved pink t-shirt toward the left part of the frame seated at the table which is child-sized, playing with a wooden block with graduated holes the smallest being toward the front of the frame getting increasingly larger as you go towards centerpoint. A light-skinned male child With light brown hair wearing a seafoam green short-sleeved T-shirt is facing the camera and playing with three pink blocks that he has stacked. Frame right is the back of a light-skinned boy whose left arm is extended across the table reaching for a pink block he is wearing a shirt-sleeved salmon colored T-shirt. In the back of the frame arethree children and an adult man seated at a rectangular child sized table. The adult male is hunched down leaning against the table using his elbows for support, next to him is a light skin boy with longish blonde hair wearing a button front shirt that is plaid mostly red white and blue. He is looking down at some thing the teacher is doing but is obscured by the head of the child wearing the green shirt. Across the table from the teacher and the blonde haired boy are two little girls whose backs are facing the camera the girl on the left is wearing a sundress that is primarily magenta with orange accents the girl on the right is wearing a navy and white striped dress. The background consists Of an L-shaped sofa with blue and pink pillows, Upper right frame and then the upper left frame an adult size desk with a Charles Eames chair. The chair is white.
Montessori classrooms are designed for and encourage movement.

©Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Montessori Furniture: In the Home

Family Room / Playroom

if your home is like most, the family room is where most of the action takes place. It’s where the shoes get kicked off and the coats get shed. Place low shelves along one wall, with corresponding hooks that your children can reach. Even the youngest children will be able to put away their shoes and, with a little help and patience, hang up their own coats. Maria Montessori was a firm believer in not doing anything for a child that they are capable of doing themselves. Getting them to put away their shoes and hang up their coats is a great start!

Unless you have a separate playroom for your children, the family room is also where you would set up a child-sized table and chairs /stools. Situate the table and chairs situated near a window. Maria Montessori felt that natural light was the best. If your home has a room devoted to your children and their assorted trappings, that is where you would (also) set up the table and chairs.

Three natural wood stools with four legs, slightly angled out are seen around a similar table made of natural wood with a white top. Against white isolate
Optimally, the table and chairs should be situated near a window. Maria Montessori felt that natural light was the best.

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Near the table, a low shelf with art supplies and books is suggested. And though it's not exactly furniture per se, a rollable play mat is a must-have item. Especially if your family room or playroom has hardwood floors.

Frame right: a young light skinned child with strawberry blonde hair facing away from the camera is seated on a natural wood floor. In the bottom part of the frame blue Jean clad thighs are visible. A light- skinned hand is resting on the right thigh. In front of the child on the floor is a mat that is striped from a very light flesh color to  white to blue. The pattern repeats four times. On the mat is a natural round wooden bowl with marbles that are yellow, blue, green, and red. There are marble-sizedsmall cups in the mat  in which the young child is placing one marble each. There are 9 cups on the mat six of which have in marble in them. In the upper right frame there is a wooden box with the small wooden cups in it.
A rollable play mat is a must-have item. Especially if your family room or playroom has hardwood floors.

©Kostikova Natalia/Shutterstock.com

Centers

If space is limited, have an area of the room that works as a revolving center, offering different activities at particular intervals, or as your child expresses interest. Maria Montessori believed that children experience sensitive periods in which their neural pathways are open learning new skills and acquiring facts and information. This is the reason you might set up the painting easel 15 separate times before your child suddenly shows interest in painting. Possibly to the exclusion of activities they used to enjoy. It’s natural. Don't sweat it. Continue to give your child access to their newfound interest as long as they continue to delight in it.

Those who are fortunate enough to have ample space are encouraged to set up multiple stations for their children to visit. Younger children should be given 2 to 3 choices, while older children can typically navigate 5-8 stations. Stations, or activity centers, are simply different areas of the room that provide the materials for learning a variety of different subjects experientially.

Bedroom: The Bed

Your child’s bedroom should be comfortable and inviting. However, it should not be too stimulating. Therefore, A Montessori bedroom is minimally furnished with a Montessori bed and a Montessori wardrobe. Both of these furnishings are designed with the child in mind. Montessori beds are designed to be easy and safe for children to get out of without assistance. Montessori beds are low. There are many variations, but all of them provide children with a sense of security and a measure of independence.

A photograph of a child’s bedroom. On the left side of the frame there are A dress in a shirt visible hanging from a rod near a white brick wall. Next to the clothes hanger is a bedside table that is mostly white with a piece of blue and it’s vase in the front. Above the desk is days of the week hanger with pockets. There is also a wooden lamp with a charcoal gray shade on it. Next to the table is a very low bed made from natural wood on the bed or some pillows and one of the pillows peers to be a panda bear at the end of the bed is a beige blanket with fringe. On the far side of the bed is a wardrobe that is white and consists of two cubes (L) four drawers(R). Next to the wardrobe is a little wooden sling chair with a gray stuffed rabbit sitting in it. There is a natural jute rug on the floor  beside the bed in the front of the frame on with a letter puzzle has been abandoned. The backdrop of the room is a large window with a sheer white curtain that is partially open exposing green trees.
Montessori beds are designed to be easy and safe for children to get out of without assistance.

©New Africa/Shutterstock.com

The Wardrobe

Likewise, a Montessori wardrobe is a kid-friendly clothes organizer, that allows children to dress themselves. A Montessori wardrobe can take on a number of different configurations. mini consist of a series of hollow cubes stacked on one another. Others may have shelves. Some will have a rod from which to hang clothes. However, one thing they all have in common is that they are open and the clothes are visible to the children. The way the clothes are arranged differs depending on individual preferences and abilities. Some families prefer to place daily outfits in separate cubes while others arrange their clothes by color. there is no right or wrong way to organize a Montessori wardrobe. Your way will be the way that best accommodates your child.

The Full-Length Mirror

One other piece of furniture that is recommended for a Montessori bedroom is a full-length mirror. A full-length mirror is an essential tool for helping children learn to dress themselves. As adults, we no longer require visual cues to put our clothes on. Young children, do need visual cues to get their clothes on properly.

A light-skinned toddler Is visible in the bottom left frame sitting on a natural wooden stool. The toddler is wearing a red sundress with white polkadots. The toddler is facing away from the cameras looking in a full-length natural wood mirror.  The right half of the frame Contains a simple wooden wardrobe that consist of a wooden rod that is about 3 feet long on which several small toddler size clothes are hanging. The clothes are organized in colors from (L-R) white to red to blue to yellow. There is a hamper that is primarily white with a gray chevron pattern on the left side of the wardrobe. Two hats are next to the hamper. The room is completely white including the walls in the floor. Two small green plants in white pots can be seen in the reflection of the mirror.
A full-length mirror is an essential tool for helping children learn to dress themselves.

©Ellona Kritskaya/Shutterstock.com

The only other furnishing in a Montessori is a basket containing a few books or a puzzle to keep them entertained or engrossed until you awaken. Rotate the books and puzzles regularly to maintain the magic moment.

Montessori Furniture in the Bathroom

In the bathroom a stool is indispensible. A stool will allow your child to wash their hands and brush their teeth without assistance. However, do not confuse asistance with observation. While your child will be capable of completing the tasks themselves, it's still a a good idea for you to observe their hand washing and tooth brushing. Toddlers are, after all, completley oblivious to the idea of less is more when it comes to soap and toothpaste!

Photograph of a natural wooden stool against white isolate. The stool is rectangular and has two bases on the left and right sides, respectively. The base on the right is darker than the rest of the stool.
A stool will allow your child to wash their hands and brush their teeth without assistance.

©Sorrawit Poolsawat/Shutterstock.com

Montessori Furniture in the Kitchen

The two most important pieces of Montessori furniture in the home kitchen are the chef's tower and a highchair. As its name suggests, the chef's tower enables your child to help with cooking! The tower is adjustable, allowing for the growth of your child, so that they may be at the most suitable hwight for working at a counter or kitchen island. If you have an eat-in kitchen you will also want to have a sturdy adjustable wooden highchair.

Photograph of a home kitchen. Center frame is a light-skinned young to middle-aged man with dark short hair, Wearing a short sleeved heather gray T-shirt.The top of his head/forehead are facing the camera, as he is focused on his young child who is also light-skinned but has strawberry blonde hair. The young child is wearing denim pants and a long sleeve white T-shirt with a gray to powder blue bandanna tied at the neck. The child’s right hand is putting spinach leaves into a white enamel colander with silver accents. The man is holding a clear glass bowl with spinach in it. In front of the two people on a cutting board are red and yellow peppers and a white plastic cup with grape tomatoes. Very slightly seen in frame left is a basil plant growing in a metal container in front of which is another glass bowl. The background of the photograph is out of focus kitchen accoutrement.
As its name suggests, the chef's tower enables your child to help with cooking!

©Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com

Whether you're furnishing your home for homeschooling, or simply making your life and your toddler's life easier, Montessori furnishings have got you covered. From the bedroom to the kitchen, and all rooms inbetween, using Montessori inspired furniture gives your child a leg up!