"A felicitous environment that guides the children and offers them the means to exercise their own faculties, permits the teacher to absent herself temporarily. The creation of such an environment is already the realization of great progress."
- Maria Montessori
Are you planning to homeschool and looking for Montessori bookshelf options? If so, you've come to the right place. If you want Montessori bookshelves for displaying books and hands-on materials, but don't want to invest a lot of money, here are a few affordable options for creating that prepared environment you desire without it being a financial burden.
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What is a Montessori Bookshelf?
Montessori bookshelves are child-friendly shelves that encourage independence. They are also generally open, allowing children to see their books and materials displayed. They promote an environment of order and beauty while also attracting children to their work.
Montessori bookshelves can be used to display books but are also very useful for displaying other hands-on materials used for homeschooling.
Are Montessori Bookshelves Available to Purchase?
Yes, but they can be expensive. Depending on the age of the child and the function of the shelf, the price can get pretty steep. It's very common for homeschoolers to make or adapt a shelf to suit their child's needs.
One thing you may notice is that I don't include front-facing bookshelves. It's a matter of personal preference as I don't find them to be as versatile or an efficient use of space.
We like having the option to display books and hands-on materials together and we try to make the best use of our homeschool space. As a result, we prioritize shelving that accommodates those preferences. These Montessori bookshelf ideas align with those preferences.
Free Pre-K & Kindergarten Homeschool Course
Would you like to learn more about how to homeschool your preschooler or kindergartener the Montessori way?
This 8-week course will provide parents and caregivers with a no-nonsense approach to homeschooling. You will learn how to homeschool using hands-on, child-centered, and diverse learning experiences.
This course covers ALL the relevant subjects. You'll receive information and insight that will help you identify what is best for your child. You'll also be introduced to plenty of free resources along the way.
Most importantly, you will walk away with the tools and resources you need to confidently begin your own homeschooling journey.
Montessori Bookshelf Ideas for Homeschool
There are six principles to keep in mind while designing and constructing a homeschooling space, whether it is a shared space in your home or a separate space specifically for homeschooling.
When planning our homeschool space, we wanted to keep these six principles in mind while also having the financial goal of keeping the cost to a minimum. We use our entire home to homeschool, as learning takes place in every environment, from dressing and hand washing to meal preparation and shelf work.
Ikea Kallax as a Montessori Bookshelf
One shelf that I found to be particularly helpful for displaying materials of various sizes is the Kallax shelf from Ikea. You can purchase this bookshelf in different sizes. It is affordable, attractive, durable, and versatile. We also like that they can be secured to the wall for safety.
In our homeschool room, we currently have a few of the 2x2 Kallax units pushed together to display materials for several subjects. We have them in white and walnut but they also come in black-brown, gray, and black.
You can learn more about the sensorial materials on this shelf in the Best Montessori Sensorial Materials for Homeschool with FREE Ebook.
Kallax Bookshelf for Shelf Work
The Ikea Kallax can easily be put together as designed and can be customized with a variety of different drawer/door insert options, or you can modify it to suit your own personal storage goals. I sometimes omit a cube shelf to store materials such as the Pink Tower and Knobbed Cylinders.
Of course, it's always important to make sure you are properly supporting the weight of any items on the shelf.
Kallax Bookshelf as a Dressing Area
If you don't want to purchase a dressing station, you can create one with the Kallax, the insert with drawers for the Kallax, and a tension rod. Just leave out one of the included cube shelves, and hang a tension rod instead.
In the above photo, the two drawers on the bottom are great for keeping underwear, socks, and pajamas tidy. Also, the 7/16 inch tension rod on the right is the perfect size for this unit and can be used for hanging shirts. The knobs that come with the Kallax drawer inserts have been replaced with larger 1.5" wooden knobs for ease of use.
Montessori Bookshelf Alternative to Ikea Kallax
This is not technically a bookshelf, but definitely worth mentioning in my opinion. The Alex Drawer Unit by Ikea is an excellent alternative to storing art and handwriting materials on a traditional Montessori shelf or in a smaller rolling utility cart.
This thing is indestructible. Our kids push it around everywhere and it's really stood the test of time. Like the other Ikea shelf options I mentioned, it also wipes completely clean which is a dream for anything that holds art and handwriting supplies.
I wish the drawers provided a bit more visibility but our kids use them every day. As a result, they're accustomed to where everything is and which drawers we use to rotate materials.
We also frequently use the top of the drawer unit as an additional workspace or for displaying shelf materials. Right now, it is displaying these Artist Studies Eggs by Mirus Toys.
I appreciate that when it's not in use, they can just shut the drawers and everything is stored neatly in its place with minimal effort.
More on our art and handwriting drawers can be seen in Montessori Art & Handwriting Space.
Better Homes and Gardens Bookshelf
This Better Homes and Gardens 8-cube storage organizer is another great option for Montessori bookshelves. As you can see, we do use our Montessori bookshelves for books as well. This unit can also be secured to the wall, which is important.
Here we have the board books and some Yoga Pretzels cards on the bottom shelf for everyone to enjoy. The next shelf up has some board books, beginner books, and practical life books on it. The top two shelves contain a lot of our picture books, reference books, chapter books, field guides, etc. We have some of our larger books on top.
Our kids have several bookshelves and bins throughout our home, but this bookshelf holds many of their books in one convenient place. We also tend to rotate our seasonal selections.
On this shelf, we currently have many selections from Indigenous books, Montessori bilingual Spanish-English books, and books for studying Africa. You can find our full collection of books in our shop: HHA on Bookshop.org.
If you're looking for a shelf to put adjacent to a hallway, this may not be your best bet, as the shelves extend out beyond the metal frame. We usually place it in the middle or corner of a room with other materials around it.
This bookshelf also comes with straps and hardware for securing to the wall.
This four-tier modern industrial shelf is also by Homissue and it is very similar to the previous model. However, the shelves are not quite as wide and do not extend beyond the metal frame. These shelves are displaying materials from this astronomy unit.
DIY Montessori Bookshelf
If you like to DIY and want to build your own Montessori Bookshelf, you may want to check out Shara from Woodshop Diaries. She has printable plans, a materials list, and even tutorials to help guide you through the process. This Easy DIY Shelf with Baskets is a FREE example.
Montessori Shelf Suppliers
If you'd like to skip the DIY and just purchase what you need, there are a lot of options out there. Sprout has a wide variety of shelving, seating, and other furniture for home and school.
We purchased the Birch Wood Adjustable Large Montessori Table from Sprout and we're very pleased with it. It was easy to put together at home and the craftsmanship is excellent. Our kids use it every day and we've found it to be a durable and easy-to-maintain piece of furniture. I'm sure we would be just as satisfied with their shelf options.
Get Creative With Your Existing Space
Rather than displaying decorative dishes and cookware, this built-in hutch area serves as an additional space for storing homeschool books and materials. Find out more about this space in our homeschool tour.
Summary for Montessori Bookshelf Ideas for Homeschool
There are a lot of options available for making items more accessible to your little ones. Whether it be in a homeschool space, a dressing space, or an art space, there are customizable, DIY, and out-of-the-box options to suit your needs. The prices vary depending on what your needs are and how much hands-on time you'd like to spend. If none of these options are a good fit, you may also be able to find something second-hand that can be used as a Montessori bookshelf.
We hope you find some inspiration in these ideas and are able to use them to nurture independence in your home environment.
More Seasonal Montessori Inspiration
- Summer Morning Basket
- Montessori Minimalist Homeschool Planning: A How-To Guide
- Daily rhythm
- Bucket List for Winter
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