DIY/ Healthy Kids

The Montessori Bedroom

I have a wonderful guest post today from Michelle Bachman of Jill of Trades about her toddler son’s Montessori bedroom. Enjoy!

My name is Michelle Bachman and I am a Work at Home Mom with two boys Jason (3) and Andrew (1). I am currently working from home through a business my cousin and I started Jill of Trades, a personal and small business planning services boutique. 

I met Stephanie in 2007 when I was pregnant with my first son and taking prenatal yoga in her studio. That is when I began my discovery about the world of natural and attachment parenting and so I hold a special place in my heart for her. I have truly fallen in love with Montessori’s philosophy and attitudes towards young children. I have chosen Jason’s Montessori School that he will start in the New Year and have recently adapted our nursery into a Montessori bedroom. 

One of the most intriguing ideas about the Montessori bedroom in particular, is the use of a floor bed rather than a crib. The idea is that a low mattress on the floor provides the child with a better view of his room and surroundings and more freedom to move about, which in turn makes for a calmer and happier child. 

It is of course important that the entire room be completely safe for the child to crawl around in, essentially turning it into a giant playpen for him. Below is a peak at my transformation of the nursery into a Montessori bedroom. I removed the crib (radical I know!) and replaced it with a mattress low to the floor.

The Montessori Bedroom
The Montessori Bedroom
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I also removed the standard changing table/dresser combo and replaced it with a small dresser out of the way hidden in the closet. The last big change was simply turning a shelf that was tall and out of his reach on its side so that it was also easily accessible to him. Having the art work and accent lighting low and visible to him is brilliant. We are a few months into the transformation and LOVE it! We have a sort of make shift co-sleeping arrangement in the evening: When he wakes in the night I lay in his bed and nurse him and if he falls asleep first I can slip away to my bed and am not sore from being contorted all night. 

Sometimes I just grab him and bring him to my bed still because I know how fast he will grow up. The most amazing note is that for the first time he isn’t falling asleep on the breast 100% of the time. I lay and nurse him and when he is done I get to watch him sleep train himself (Uhmazing!). Tossing and turning. Rolling around. Cooing at me. Tracing my face with his little fingers and his eyes closed. He still falls asleep on the breast but maybe a dozen times now he has successfully put himself to sleep after and has tried dozens more.

There is still more I would like to do to Andrew’s room. The Montessori Foundation has some great information on designing a Montessori home. Our playroom has adopted some principles but is a work in progress. Jason’s room is next on my list. “Never do for a child what he can successfully fail at doing himself” –Maria Montessori

Thanks for having me Stephanie!


Thanks Michelle! It looks awesome! We now have a mattress on the floor in Penelope’s room and it has also worked very well for us, thanks again for sharing and inspiring!

What do you guys think? Mattress on the floor crazy or genius?

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  • The Annessa Family
    January 11, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Super interesting. Don't know if it's for us but definitely worth looking into!


  • Brigid from
    January 11, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    As soon as I started reading this post I was itching to write a comment because I love this idea! We have been in the process of creating a Montessori style bedroom for our 15month as well as incorporating it into the whole house. I have a mattress on the floor too. Also, we are in the process of a kitchen redo so I took some of the cabinet we weren't going to use, took the door off and layed them on their side as a makeshift bookshelf for Connor. Very similar to your bookshelf on its side idea. He loves it!
    I would love for you guys to check out my blog as well. I just started it but I'm so motivated and compassionate about spreading the word about attachment parenting and "green" and simple living.

    Again, loved this one! Always nice to hear what other Mommies are doing. 🙂

    • Brigid
      January 23, 2012 at 5:04 PM

      UPDATE: We did it and it is working out FABULOUS! I love it!:)

      • Stephanie
        January 23, 2012 at 10:26 PM


  • Brigid from
    January 11, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Also, Michelle… I wanted to ask you how it was going not using a crib? I haven't taken our crib out just yet. I've been debating doing it now or waiting just a few more months. My son is 15 months old. How old is yours and does he easily go to sleep in the bed? Play a while and then crash? How was that transition?

  • Krissy
    January 11, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    I can totally see how this type of room set up would be great for little one's, it's not for me but very intresting!

  • Blue Jean Blogger
    January 11, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    We also did this with both my son and daughter…they started out sleeping with me and my husband – I was nervous about this but it worked out fine – then trasitioned them to their own mattress. It worked out great nursing-wise lol! I think starting them out sleeping with us has a lot to do with why they were so easy to transition to their own mattress (we put it in our room, then moved it to their own room a couple of months later). I also think that has a lot to do with why they are so relaxed and self-assured at 8 and 9 today.

    I love what you did with the closet and dresser!

  • Chubby Vegan Mom
    January 11, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    SO how do the children sleep with the mattress on the floor? I'm thinking my little one would get up every night and wander around her room playing! I think this is an awesome concept, but I have a little one who sleeps 8-8 in her crib seamlessly and I'm scared to stir that up! 🙂

    • Christy
      March 6, 2012 at 1:27 AM

      Don’t ruin it!

  • michelle bachmanpppp]]]
    January 12, 2012 at 2:14 AM

    Brigid, I nurse Andrew to sleep. He has already explored putting himself to sleep and is working on being able to do it on his own as I lay with him.

    If I decide to do any sort of sleep training or night weaning I will either remain in the bed/room with him or treat the room like a playpen/crib allowing himself to choose a spot and catch some z's. Hes a smart cookie. He knows the routine and the objective.

    GEtting rid of the bulky dresser and furniture was my favorite part. I am working on making my older son's clothes accessible to him and fix up his grooming table in his room so he can get him self ready more.

  • Stephanie
    January 12, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    @ChubbyVeganMom…I have a video monitor for Penelope's room and she never gets up in the middle of the night to play. However, she does sometimes wake up and go to her books or kitchen and plays quietly for like 20 or 30 minutes before she calls my name. Which is AWESOME, because I get to nod off for a little longer!

  • Brigid
    January 12, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    @ChubbyVeganMom, that's what I was worried about as well. Connor sleeps 6pm-7am and it's great. I'm most worried about the daytime naps and how he'll do. I expect he may wake up earlier until he's used to it because many times I hear him talking for a second around 5am and than he's back asleep. We tried it tonight and so far so good! I'll have to keep you posted how it goes through the night and into the morning as well as well as the nap situation.

  • wenderella
    January 12, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    I wish I had done this with my older son. He's now in Montessori preschool and really, really benefiting from it. There are some small modifications to his already "big boy" room that I could do to make it more Montessori-ish (like making things easier for him to do himself) but with our younger son, this would definitely not work.

    See that low hanging art and the cute accent lamps? He'd have them ripped off the wall in seconds. And the rocking chair? He'd be standing on it, riding it like one of those coin operated ponies in the mall. I am definitely open to suggestions on how to make something like this work for a child of his temperament though.

  • Michelle Bachman
    January 12, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Wenderella- as of now Andrew has not been left alone in the room but we do play in there and he is told no when he pulls at the art or lamp cord (the cords have since been anchored) and can climb the chair with my help. We did get a chids rocker and we both sit in them and read. The hallway to the bedrooms has low hanging art (eye view for the kids) and he is allowed to look and touch but not rip it off. You could do without added baby electrical but the art is fun. Even if it was a canvas leaning on the wall to admire. You could also ditch the chair and read book s in bed together. That was the idea of removing the bulky furniture…it's a potential safety hazard.

    I would classify both of my boys of that temperament easy! but the truth is they're just kids and boys! A morning full of activities that allow them to blow off some steam (parks trails exploring anywhe we can manage) so that when it's time to sleep they're ready. black out shades are helpful to creating a nap conducive environment. Bed time routines are very important. Winding down into I quiet time after the bath. Some books and then bed.

    When I do decide to do my version of sleep training him I will most likely watch from the door or trust him to figure out what to do when I'm gone. Hopefully he will find a soft place to crash. I trust that he will know what to do.

  • Kris Cormany
    January 22, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    I wanted to first commend you on doing this for your kids! That is so phenomenal! I think understanding what a child needs is such a huge gift you can give your child and yourself! I really would like to know how it’s going. I have 2-year-old twin boys, so I’m a bit weary about leaving a bunch of stuff in their room. They seem to feed off each other and take things apart when they wake up in the morning… Do you have any suggestions? I would love to leave a bunch of toys and books, but I’m worried about “the demolition squad” totally destroying everything? Any ideas or suggestions would be great!!

  • susann Gehring
    February 14, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Love this idea! Great for first baby! Life changes as you have more!

  • Amy
    March 9, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    I have also set up my daughter’s room in a Montessori fashion. She has a floor bed and access to many things at all hours. For any of you concerned about safety (cords, small objects, etc), the thing is: don’t have them within reach! Safety is always first and foremost.

    I had actually emailed Stephanie a couple of months ago to see if she had experience at that time with a floor bed, because my baby had become mobile and was getting out of bed. But it ended up lasting no more than two weeks, and I came to realize that if we were to wait and transition her from a crib to a bed during her late toddler years, we would encounter many power struggles around the issue. As it was, when she got out of her bed, I very quietly came into her room and put her back in bed, and she would eventually get the hint and stay. Now, she stays in bed all night, and she will often wake in the morning and play for as long as 45 minutes on her own before calling for me. Yay!

  • Angella B
    March 12, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    Ironically months before reading this post, we took the crib out of the bedroom and just had him on two crib mattresses on the floor, which he loves, and easier to lay down with him.
    Love the shelf also, if I might ask where did you find it, too cute!!!