How to use a wooden ladder as home decor

Written by leah james
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How to use a wooden ladder as home decor
Use a small stepladder as a side table. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Incorporating unexpected elements into your decor adds depth and personal style to your home. Sometimes the most interesting objects used as home decor have simple, utilitarian origins. The humble wooden ladder is a good example. You can decorate with rustic barn ladders, fine antique ladders with inlaid leather or southwestern kiva log ladders. You can even select a new ladder from the hardware store, and then finish it to complement your existing decor.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Self-adhesive rubber grips
  • Candle
  • Decorative textiles
  • Measuring tape
  • Saw
  • Stain or paint
  • 4 to 6 C-hooks
  • S-hooks
  • Chain
  • Bolt cutters
  • Pots and pans
  • Books
  • Decorative object

Show MoreHide


    Textile Display

  1. 1

    Lean a straight ladder against the wall. Adjust the ladder's distance from the wall at the bottom until the ladder rests securely; the distance will vary according to the ladder's height and weight. Affix self-adhesive rubber grips to the underside of each side rail if you have slick floors.

  2. 2

    Rub a broken candle over rough rungs and rails to wax them, especially if you plan to display delicate textiles. Repeat until the rungs and rails feel smooth to the touch.

  3. 3

    Drape decorative textiles over the rungs of the ladder, folding them as necessary. Consider towels in the bathroom or vintage tea towels in the kitchen. Display quilts, throws or small rugs in bedrooms or living rooms.

    Pot Rack

  1. 1

    Measure the lengthwise space above your kitchen island, stove or bar. Look for a straight ladder -- one with slender rungs -- that's 3 or more inches shorter than your available space. Saw a longer ladder to size, if necessary, and then stain or paint the raw ends to match.

  2. 2

    Screw heavy-duty C-hooks into the ceiling joists where you want the pot rack to hang. Use six hooks for ladders more than 3 feet long, and four for ladders 3 feet long or shorter. Install the hooks in pairs, spaced according to the ladder dimensions and ceiling joist locations.

  3. 3

    Measure from the ceiling to the ladder's desired hanging height. Subtract the distance from the ceiling to the lowermost curve of an installed C-hook. Subtract the length of an S-hook large enough to fit over the ladder's rungs. Cut one piece of chain per C-hook to the final measurement with bolt cutters, or have the hardware store cut it for you.

  4. 4

    Slip the end links of the chains over the C-hooks. Attach an S-hook to the dangling end of each chain. Align the ladder with the chains, and attach the free end of each S-hook to the appropriate ladder rang. Hang additional S-hooks on the ladder's rungs, and hang your pots and pans from the S-hooks.

    Library Side Table

  1. 1

    Set a short stepladder next to a comfortable reading chair. Place it with the steps facing forward.

  2. 2

    Display books on all but the top step of the ladder. Place the books in horizontal stacks, vertically, as you would with a bookshelf, or use a combination of both.

  3. 3

    Leave the top step free for your current read, or display a decorative object. Select a short, solid object if you opt for display. Avoid spindly objects that repeat the open, leggy look of the stepladder.

Tips and warnings

  • Antiques, antique reproductions and ladders with distressed painted finishes work well in most interiors, from traditional to industrial. To add punch to a contemporary room, paint a new ladder with glossy paint in black or a bold, bright colour.

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