Maria Montessori’s philosophy of encouraging creativity and independence in very young children applied not only to the classroom, but also to the home. She believed in the importance of creating a space where everything is within a child’s reach, even from a very young age. A Montessori bedroom considers a child’s sensory needs and physical abilities. Read on to learn more — and see examples!
While we naturally think about how we would like our child’s bedroom to look and function from an adult’s perspective, the Montessori approach brings the vantage point to the child’s horizon. An easy way to shift your point of view is to sit or lie on the floor and look around. What do you see from there? You’ll quickly discover what your infant or toddler will see, too.
What elements does a Montessori bedroom consider?
When it comes to setting up a Montessori bedroom, you don’t need to hire an interior designer or be a Montessori expert. In fact, simplicity is key. All you need are a few basic tips to create a bedroom that inspires independent exploration and rest while being safe and comfortable.
Colors and lighting in a Montessori bedroom
The Montessori bedroom is typically neutral in color, painted white or in muted, natural tones. These hues promote a sense of calm, allowing vibrant objects like toys, photographs, and artwork to draw your baby’s attention. Lighting should be soft and warm, with minimal glare. Blackout shades along the windows help create a dark, cozy napping environment.
The Montessori bed
A floor bed is often found in a Montessori bedroom. Unlike cribs, which leave babies dependent on caretakers to decide on their sleeping and waking patterns, floor beds enable freedom of movement, independence, and mobility.
(We’re not judging though! Sleep is precious and families should make whatever choice works best for their household!)
If you do experiment with a floor bed, make sure the mattress is not directly adjacent to an air vent or radiator. The bed should be free of blankets, pillows, bumpers, and stuffed animals to ensure safety for infants under six months.
Learn more about how a Montessori bed supports learning >
A changing and dressing area
Many parents opt for a dresser with a topper, a space-saving option that keeps clothes and diapers in one central place. If this is your preference, make sure necessities are within arm’s reach, and never leave your infant alone on the top of your changing table. To keep your baby occupied, place a rattle or grasping toy nearby, or mount an unbreakable mirror along the wall.
(Read more about reasons for a Montessori mirror.)
Prepare to evolve changing and dressing stations as your baby changes! When you notice your little one’s ability to help put their arms and legs in the holes of their clothes, you can begin encouraging independence in dressing.
A self-care station where they can see themselves in a mirror, hang a sweatshirt, or brush their hair is a great addition to a Montessori bedroom as your little one becomes a toddler. When they need to wipe their nose, you can encourage them to do it in front of the mirror and check for themselves if the job is done. This shows them you have confidence in them.
As your child begins walking, consider replacing big, heavy drawers with kid-friendly cubbies, and install a lower rail in the closet for the independent selection of clothes. Wall hooks at a child’s height also work well for hanging up everyday items like jackets and sweatshirts.
Play and movement area for babies and toddlers
If space allows, place a soft rug in the room, along with a low-lying shelf with room for toys and books. For newborns, display a few eye-catching toys and family photographs. Once your child can crawl or walk, keep a basket of 4–6 books on or near the shelf, along with a basket of age-appropriate toys.
Furnishing your Montessori-inspired bedroomInfants and nursing moms need a comfortable feeding area, so consider a nursing chair and side table if room allows. When your child is old enough to sit and draw or read, replace the feeding area with a children’s table and chairs, along with a miniature rocker or beanbag chair for cozying up with a favorite book.
Montessori-style wall décor for babyFaces, especially familiar ones, are particularly appealing to babies and toddlers, which makes family photos a great option for wall décor. Colorful shapes and animal images are endlessly fascinating, too. Mount pictures with your child’s perspective in mind, and secure them to the wall (3M strips work well). Replace glass panels with Plexiglass for added safety.
Transitioning from Infancy to Toddlerhood
As your child grows and matures, their worlds expand beyond the bedroom to other parts of the house. Feeding, for example, will take place in the kitchen or dining room. Movement and play will extend to the living room and backyard. At this stage, the bedroom will transition into a place that’s primarily for dressing, changing, and sleeping. Children can still enjoy their bedroom as a respite for reading, exploration, and play, but will soon discover that it is a part of the house, just as they are part of their family.
Read next: Montessori spaces, room by room >
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