11 Ways to Decorate With Vintage Ladders

How to decorate with vintage ladders
Little Vintage Nest

When a ladder is no longer safe to climb, it used to be forgotten about and exposed to the elements. In recent years, savvy homeowners have been repurposing these unused wooden gems into some fun home decor projects.

One tried-and-true way to add rustic appeal to your home is to decorate with ladders. A worn-out vintage ladder is filled with character and potential and can provide your home with a charming lived-in vibe.

But ladder projects aren’t limited to people who love farmhouse style. New ladder projects are sleek, modern and complement a contemporary design aesthetic. 

Get inspired to add some style and function to your home with these decorative wooden ladder ideas.


Add Architectural Interest by Using a Ladder as a Beam

Decorate with ladders in farmhouse style home
Liz Marie Blog

When a home has a vintage feel to it, a ladder could be hung just about anywhere and it would look good. This blogger decided to use a wooden ladder as a faux ceiling beam where one used to be in order to better define two rooms. If your ceilings are tall enough, consider dangling a ladder in a similar way in a larger doorway.

DIY Ladder Beam from Liz Marie Blog


Transform a Ladder into a Shelving Unit

How to decorate with wooden ladders
A Pair & A Spare

The first step to recreating this look is to make the shelves, which is a relatively easy process. This project was made by adhering pine planks to the cross beams of an open ladder using L brackets.  If you’re having trouble finding a ladder like this one, you can make your own using 2×2 boards.

Create an alternate version of this shelf by adhering two opened ladders upside down on the wall to create a W. Next, add planks between the beams at varying heights and widths.

The next step is figuring out what to display. What and how you display it can make the difference between your ladder looking bland or designer-worthy.

Here are some ideas:

  • Use the entire unit as a bookshelf.
  • Set it up in the kitchen for dishes.
  • Store in the bedroom for shoes and purses.
  • Keep unit in shed or garage for potting supplies.
  • Organize office supplies in decorative bins.

DIY Ladder Shelves from A Pair & A Spare

Hang Wire Baskets from Ladder Rungs for Extra Bathroom Storage

Decorate with ladder in bathroom
Iron Accents

By adding wire baskets to a leaning ladder, the potential storage space is multiplied. Use this idea in a bathroom to store toiletries like you see here. Also, this project can easily be incorporated into a kitchen or pantry for fresh produce.

Wood Ladder With Baskets from Iron Accents


Hang Industrial Lighting from a Vintage Ladder

Decorative wooden ladders for a light fixture
B Vintage

One common way people decorate with wooden ladders is to chain them to the ceiling horizontally. If adhered to the ceiling correctly, the ladder should be able to support enough weight to store things on top. If you want more design and less function, use the ladder as an accent for light fixtures over the dining table.

Other Items to Hang on a Decorative Ladder Chained to the Ceiling:

  • Pots and pans
  • Garland and greenery
  • Mason jar luminaries
  • Bundles of dried herbs
  • Clothing in the laundry room

House Tour from B Vintage


Adhere Some Family Photos Using Twine

Decorating with vintage wooden ladders
Kammy’s Korner

Vintage ladders hung directly on the wall are versatile because you can change up the decor and photos often. If the rungs are thick enough, they’ll act as shelves and hold up small items of interest.

If the ladder is thin, stick to simple and lightweight items like antique photographs in varying sizes like you see here. Some people hang painted ladders on the wall and leave the interior completely empty. The choice is up to you.

Since ladders like this are long and narrow, this application would work well over a sofa. 

Ladder Photo Frame DIY from Kammy’s Korner


Create a Library by Adding Castors to a Wooden Ladder

How to make a library ladder
@on_adams_street / Instagram

You don’t need an entire room to have a library in your home. All you need is one wall of built-ins, which can quickly turn into something of a showpiece by incorporating a vintage ladder that’s been tweaked. To get this look, purchase a library ladder kit to convert an old ladder into something much more prestigious.


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