9 New Things to Do with Old Ladders

The thrift store, a neighbor's junk pile, Craigslist, or your own garage—just a few of the places where you can probably get your hands on an old ladder that’s doing little else but collecting dust. They're worth hunting down, because these sturdy, easy-to-paint (if you like) old junkers can quickly become clever resting places for a variety of household items. Here are 9 ideas to get you in step.

By Tracy Anderson | Updated Aug 18, 2015 01:44 PM

Cozy Within Reach

Ladder Decor

This ladder turned rack does more than keep winter blankets at the ready. In a setting with low ceilings, a ladder becomes a striking accent piece that gives the illusion of a taller—and more spacious—room.


Happy Endings

Ladder Table

When a vintage ladder no longer supports your step, it still might like to be at your side—or at least next to your sofa. A stepladder is the perfect height to use as a no-nonsense end table. Paint the ladder to fit in with the color of the room or leave it bare, letting its imperfections play off your curated space.

Related:  16 Designs for a Low-Cost DIY Coffee Table


Plant It

Ladder Shelf

Transform a flea market ladder into the focal point of a room by remaking it as a colorful plant stand. All it takes is a coat of paint and some minor MacGyvering to retrofit the shelves. Add wood planks (plus a little extra length to accommodate for any slope) and secure with wood glue or screws.

Related:  12 Tiny Gardens You Can Grow on a Tabletop


Lofty Library

Ladder Bookcase

Have more books than shelves? Get a new perspective on literature by displaying some books on a repurposed ladder. This old ladder was sawn in half and mounted horizontally, instantly creating tiny book nooks and shelves for odds and ends.

Related:  10 Insanely Creative Shelves You Can DIY


Off the Rack

DIY Wardrobe

What can you make with a wooden dowel, two pine planks, and an old ladder? This freestanding wardrobe—an all-in-one solution for organizing clothes, shoes, and accessories. Simply remove the hinges from the folding ladder, place the halves an appropriate distance apart, align them evenly, and screw in your shelves.

Related:  8 DIY Storage Solutions for a Closet-less Room


Perfect Pot Spot

DIY Pot Rack

An old ladder looks great in any country-chic kitchen—as a pot rack, that is! You can either hang the ladder from the ceiling or on the wall. To keep your pots easy to reach like the ones pictured here, mount the ladder a little high so the pots stay at eye level. Be sure to secure the ladder to wall studs. Add chains and hooks as needed to arrange your cookware in style.

Related:  Buy or DIY—8 Solutions for Storing Pots and Pans

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As It Stands

DIY Nightstand

This nightstand looks like a vintage ladder—but with a handy built-in table. If you make your own from an existing ladder, first do a weight test to make sure your new table won't topple when you set your bedside book on it.

Related:  8 Nightstands You Don't Need to Buy


Magazine Rack

Leaning Ladder Shelf

Are your old magazines going unread, heaped up behind cabinet doors or jammed in junk drawers? Bring them out in the open where they can be neatly displayed (and devoured). Hang magazines over the rungs of a slim ladder to keep your favorite issues at hand. Bonus: beautiful covers can double as room decor.

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Top Off Your Laundry List

DIY Laundry Drying Rack

Even the most well-equipped laundry room could probably use more space—say, for drying delicates or hanging freshly pressed clothes. A suspended ladder inventively solves the problem, offering plenty of room for your wrinkle-prone or dryer-sensitive items.

Related:  9 Smart Hacks for Laundry Day


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