A bookshelf is integral to any true Montessori space, whether that space is a bedroom, living room, classroom, or other. But not just any bookshelf will do. The purpose of the bookshelf is to display a carefully curated selection of toys from which a child can choose his or her own activity. According to Montessori principles, a child’s bookshelf should be:
- low enough for the child to reach anything on display
- appropriate for displaying a minimal number of toys, usually one per cubby
- void of any bright colors or overwhelming decor
Choosing the perfect bookshelf for your child’s space can be overwhelming. Fortunately for you, we’ve scoured retailers to find 10 great Montessori-style bookshelves perfect for your space.
KidSpace 2-Tier Horizontal Storage Shelf
This two-tier shelf from ClosetMaid is ideal for storing books, projects, toys, baskets, and anything else your little one might be interested in. The shelf is made of laminated wood and comes ready for you to assemble. Parents can trust their children will be safe around the KidSpace shelf, as it’s thoughtfully designed with things like rounded corners.
Kallax Shelf Unit
Because of their aesthetic simplicity and high functionality, IKEA products are favorites of parents and teachers who adhere to Montessori. The Kallax shelf unit is one such product. Consisting of eight separate cubbies, the Kallax should be placed on its side so that each compartment can be reached by tiny hands. As with all IKEA products, the Kallax Shelf Unit comes ready to be assembled.
Bookcase with Reading Nook
Available in three colors — white, natural, and espresso — the KidKraft Bookcase with Reading Nook makes for a fun and functional addition to any Montessori space. The bookcase features six storage cubbies, all of which are situated at a convenient height for littles. Atop the bookcase is a comfortable reading nook. The bookcase is made of composite wood, and is ready to be assembled.
Classic Playtime Multi-Cube Stackable Bookcase
While this good looking bookcase from Hayneedle may look like a normal shelving unit, it has one particular feature that makes it ideal for a children’s space. It’s stackable! As it comes, the Classic Playtime Multi-Cube Stackable Bookcase includes five spacious cubbies for housing books, toys, and other work items. It has a sturdy base and is low enough to the ground to be appropriate for smaller children. As your child grows and more space is needed, additional shelving units can be stacked safely on top of this one thanks to the recessed lips on top and bottom.
Toddler Two Shelf Storage
As its name suggests, the Toddler Two Shelf Storage from Young Time is the perfect height for your toddler to see and reach toys. The shelf consists of five compartments, two of which are slightly larger than the others. A product of the U.S.A., this shelf is sealed for durability and rounded at the corners for safety. It comes ready to be assembled.
Infant/Toddler Shelf: 1-Tier
Even the youngest child will find this one-tier shelf inviting! Sold by Nienhuis Montessori, a leading company for Montessori products, this shelf is made of quality birch wood. It is backless to ensure that both children and caregivers can see through the shelf safely, and consists of a bottom shelf which sits on the floor and a top shelf just above the first.
Contender 3 Compartment Shelving Unit
This simple three-compartment shelving unit makes it easy to display toys, books, or other “work” material. This bookshelf, which features one long compartment atop two smaller compartments, is certified by the Greenguard Environmental Institute as safe for both children and the environment. Additionally, the hinges of the bookshelf are the “pinch me not” type to protect little fingers. The shelving unit can be purchased unassembled or, for an additional fee, assembled.
Nienhuis Montessori’s Material Cabinet is designed for children ages 3-12. Thus, this shelving unit is a bit taller, with four shelves, two of which are adjustable. Should you wish to make this a closed-back bookshelf, there is also a solid panel designed for the back (sold separately).
The Sensorial Shelving by Wood Designs is ideal for children who follow the Montessori method of learning. The unit consists of seven shelves (plus a top shelf), all of which are differently sized and make it easy for children to see all that is displayed. Like all Wood Designs products, this sensorial shelf is made of 100% Healthy Kids Plywood and has been certified safe for children and schools by Greenguard.
Stack Me Up Low Bookcase Set
Pottery Barn Teen
Pottery Barn Teen’s large Stack Me Up Low Bookcase Set is the only shelving unit you’ll need for your Montessori playroom or classroom. This large and super-sturdy unit is actually three separate pieces that can be rearranged as a child grows (i.e. Arrange it horizontally as pictured, then stack one when the child is older and taller). The set includes two, two-shelf bookcases, and one asymmetrical case.