Where to find front-facing Montessori bookshelves?

Front-facing bookshelves seem to be a feature of every Montessori-inspired home. But why are they so important?

Children care more about the cover of a book than the spine. Think about it: young children who haven't learned how to read yet will like the colours and pictures more than the words.

This is true even for us adults. When we visit a bookshop, we naturally gravitate towards the beautiful display or maybe search for a particular title on the bookshelves.

What to look for when choosing a children's bookshelf:

- its a front-facing bookshelf - this allows your child to see the selection of books more easily 

- it promotes independence: choose a bookshelf which enables your child to reach all the books 

- it's neutral in decoration so the bookshelf doesn't distract them from the actual books

- it allows you to display books of different sizes

Furthermore, you may want to consider the material of the bookshelf (do you prefer wood or are you OK with a plastic/fabric one?). Do you want the shelf being a permanent fixture in a room or one that you can move from one room to another?

You may also want to take into account that a front-facing system is meant to present a small selection of books, not to store your child's entire collection. With toys, activities and books, less is more. It's important not to overwhelm your child. With a limited number of books on display, your child can focus on each book more. You can always rotate the books according to your child's interests, the seasons or a specific topic that you want your child to discover.

Without further ado, here are some Montessori aligned bookshelves:

Tidy Books bookshelf:

This is a well-established company. The bookshelf is cleverly-designed and extremely easy to assemble. You can choose whether you want to personalise it, to sort the letters in alphabetical order or even have a Montessori-inspired alphabet on it.

At home, we have their Montessori bookshelf:

I like this model; it is well suited for toddlers and preschoolers. I like the Montessori- inspired alphabet although I would love a cursive option. We use this bookshelf in our living room to display our topic books. You should secure it to a wall. 

The one downside is that the two middle shelves can only accommodate small books.

Tidy Books has some other options such as a wall shelf unit:

Enjoy 10% off on your Tidy Books purchase with this code AMBCR10


This is a new shop on Etsy.

The design is not as wide as the Tidy Books bookshelf (it's 20 cm less in width), but the 2 middle shelves can accommodate taller books. It is considerably cheaper than some other brands (not including shipping costs).

The company also has this kind of book display:

Sprout bookshelf

If you live in the United States, you may want to consider the Sprout brand. Sprout offers a collection of furniture - based on the Montessori principles - made in the US. There is a 5 year guarantee on each piece. They are sent as ready-to-assemble furniture, I wish they would easily deliver to the UK!

DIY ideas:

In our house, we used to have a basket with a few books.We also had 2 IKEA shelf options:

The Spice racks:

These picture ledges:


The shelf is below and the storage box is here.

Great Little Trading company:

This UK-based online shop has some great options.

On a budget:

For a cheaper option, check Dunelm:

This one is smaller and made of MDF:

And Argos for another cheap option.

Check it out here.

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About the Author Carine Robin

Carine Robin is a a mother of 2 children. She raises them the Montessori way. Originally from Belgium where she worked as a child psychologist for several years, Carine spent 6 years in Ireland before settling in in the UK. She qualified as a Montessori teacher 10 years ago and has since worked as Montessori teacher and preschool manager. She founded Montessori-family in 2011 to provide opportunities for parents to discover Montessori. She believes that it’s truly possible to implement the Montessori ideas at home to make your house and family life welcoming to your child, her needs and her thrive for independence. She offers parents & babies classes, toddlers playgroups; Montessori home designs, one to one support, parenting classes and online courses.