Montessori Shelves and Constructing the Prepared Environment

Affordable Montessori Shelves encourage & promote independence in life skills. Great for displaying homeschool materials & encouraging play. #montessori #homeschool #montessorispaces #montessoriplanning

“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

Montessori Shelves

I spent some time this summer working on the room that will be my daughter’s homeschool space as she begins preschool in the fall.  Although it is still a work in progress, I am pleased with how well it is coming together up to this point.  There are six principles I’ve kept in mind while designing and constructing the space, as well as a financial goal of keeping the cost to a minimum.

What are Montessori Shelves?

Montessori shelves are child-sized shelves that encourage independence in Practical Life activities. They are also generally open, allowing children to see their materials displayed. It promotes an environment of order and beauty while also attracting the children to their work.

Are Montessori Shelves 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 (‘hack’) a shelf to suit their child’s needs.

cleaning supplies in front of Montessori homeschool shelves for practical life work

Common Montessori Homeschool Shelf Hack

One item that has been particularly helpful and is quickly becoming my solution of choice for all things storage/display-related, is the Kallax shelf from Ikea.  It is affordable, attractive, durable, and versatile.  It can be setup easily as designed and can be customized with a variety of different drawer/door insert options, or you can hack it up to suit your own personal storage goals.  I have been experimenting recently with omitting a cube shelf to store our Pink Tower as well as our Knobbed Cylinders.  

Open Shelves with Montessori materials, books, and toddler toys
Custom Toddler Dresser with clothes

Common Montessori Dressing Area Hack

My most prized Kallax shelf hack, however, resides in my daughter’s closet to support her independence in practical life activities.  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 it allows her to hang her shirts up on hangers.

It’s a beaut and she loves it.  To me, that alone makes it worthwhile enough to pass along.

Child hanging shirts in her toddler dresser
Montessori child picking out a shirt from a toddler dresser

DIY Montessori Shelves

If you’re the DIY kinda person, 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. I’m sure we would be just as satisfied with their shelving options.

Montessori Shelf Summary

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 eating space. The prices vary depending on what your needs are and whether you’d like to DIY or have it shipped to your door.

We hope you find some inspiration in these options and can use them to support independence in your home environment.

More Montessori Spaces and Inspiration

More Montessori Resources

Thanks for stopping by!

– Kristin


Affordable Montessori Shelves encourage & promote independence in life skills. Great for displaying homeschool materials & encouraging play. #montessori #homeschool #montessorispaces #montessoriplanning

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. Amazon links are not affiliate links. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.