How to Decorate with Vintage Ladders {20 Ways to Inspire}

*WARNING*  This post contains tons of decorating eye candy showing some of the most beautiful and creative uses for ladders!  I tried to limit the pictures but there were just too many great ideas to share with you.  My apologies if this is visual overload, but I hope you’ll enjoy the inspiration.  :)


For those of you that follow me on Instagram, you know that I purchased an old picking (or orchard) ladder at the antique faire yesterday.  (Side note, a picking ladder or orchard ladder is a tripod style of ladder that works well on uneven ground.)Vintage-Picking-Ladder

I have had a love affair with ladders for quite some time and in fact, had a leaning bamboo one in the corner of my living room for years.  I bought my “new” ladder thinking that I knew exactly where I was going to put it, but once it was in place, I started having second thoughts.  And so began my search for a new home for my ladder.  I found so many amazing and creative uses for these old ladders and so today, wanted to share some of my favorites with you!




1.  Kitchen Towels


While I would love to have a kitchen large enough to place a giant vintage ladders without disrupting traffic flow as shown in the picture above, that’s not going to happen in my home.  Instead, I envision using my ladder to hold kitchen towels, which is both practical and decorative!  I love this display from Buckets of Burlap!

Kitchen Towel Vintage Ladder


2. Pot Rack

While we’re on the subject of the kitchen, an old ladder can be suspended from the ceiling to make an interesting pot rack!


3. Dried Herbs/Flowers

Whether used indoor or out, the rungs of a ladder are great for drying herbs and other flowers!

Vintage Ladder Herbs

{via Pinterest}


4. Dining Room

Have you ever considered adding a ladder to your dining room?  Not only does it add height and interest, but provides open storage for runners and other linens.


5. Wreath Display

What about hanging a wreath from a ladder?  The contrast between green wreaths and ladders can be quite beautiful!


6. Book Shelf

Ladders can also work as narrow bookcases, providing decorative storage!

Vintage Ladder Books


You could even mount it horizontally and use it as a bookshelf.


7. Magazine Rack

If the rungs are narrow, you can use an old ladder as a magazine rack, as done by The Lettered Cottage in this adorable guest bedroom!


8. Display Shelving

Not only can you display books and magazines on ladders, but if the rungs are wide enough, you can also display decorative items using the rungs as open shelving.  I love the contrast between the elegance of the glass bottles and the rustic wood in this display from Maria of Dreamy Whites!


9. Shelving Units

If you use multiple ladders side-by-side, you can lay boards across the rungs to create your own custom shelving units!  I saw this done quite a bit at the antique faire as a way to display items for sale.


10. Nightstand

Short ladders can work as nightstands, holding everything from a bedside lamp to an alarm clock and reading books!


11. End Table

Short step ladders can also work as end tables in living spaces.

Vintage Ladder Side Table

{via Pinterest}


12. Quilt Rack

My mom is a quilter and I’ll definitely be sharing this idea with her!  And if quilts aren’t your thing, you can also use a ladder to hold extra blankets in the guest bedroom.

Vintage Ladder Quilt Rack

{via Pinterest}


13. Bathroom Towel Rack

In the bathroom, ladders propped against the wall can serve to hold bath towels and hand towels.

Vintage Ladder Towel Rack

{via Pinterest}


14. Toiletry Organizer

Small baskets hooked over the rugs also allow you to organize toiletries in small spaces (although granted, this photo certainly wasn’t taken in a small space!)


A shortened ladder can sit on top of a tub to create a bath caddy.

Vintage Ladder Bath Caddy

{via Pinterest}


15. Closet Organizer

Whether you’re organizing your shoes or laying out the next day’s outfit, the rungs or a ladder can be quite useful!


16.  Laundry Room

Even the laundry room can use a little ladder love.  As shown by Kelley of The Polished Pebble, you can suspend a ladder from the ceiling to hang laundry baskets or clothes for air drying.

Vintage Ladder Laundry


17. Chandelier Frame

A ladder suspended from a table makes a unique chandelier, whether displaying lanterns or even mason jars.


18. Christmas Ornaments

I know the holidays are over, but I couldn’t leave out this cute idea to hang ornaments from the rungs of the ladder.


Or this great advent calendar from Carolyn of Desire Empire!

Vintage Ladder Advent Calendar


19. Photo Display

A little wired stretched from side to side and a few clothespins and you have a unique photo display!  You could also swap out photos for Christmas cards in the winter.


20. Outdoor Garden

And if you even grow tired of your ladder indoors, you can always tuck it away in your garden and let nature grow up around it.



Whether your ladder is new or old, leaning, orchard or DIY, it doesn’t matter because the function is in the shape!


Which of these ideas would you use in your home?


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18 comments on How to Decorate with Vintage Ladders {20 Ways to Inspire}

  1. Anne Boykin
    January 6, 2014 at 4:32 PM (4 years ago)

    Hi Kim, Great ideas! I have an old ladder that I use to hold an extra blanket. I’m going to take another look at this list and make some changes. Fun! Thanks for your lovely blog.

    • Tidbits&Twine
      January 6, 2014 at 5:11 PM (4 years ago)

      Hi Anne – Let me know what you end up doing with yours! I am still moving mine around the house trying to find just the right spot for it… :)

  2. Mary
    January 6, 2014 at 5:51 PM (4 years ago)

    Enjoyed the ladder pictures and the different ideals. My favorites are the ones with the quilts and herbsl Great job!

    • Tidbits&Twine
      January 6, 2014 at 7:15 PM (4 years ago)

      Mary – I was grocery shopping today and I almost bought herbs just so that I could dry them on my ladder! LOL!

  3. Melissa @ DaisyMaeBelle
    January 6, 2014 at 7:07 PM (4 years ago)

    LOVE, LOVE these ideas! Thanks for including mine! Life to the full! Melissa

    • Tidbits&Twine
      January 6, 2014 at 7:14 PM (4 years ago)

      Melissa – I love the photo display! So creative!

  4. Michelle
    January 6, 2014 at 10:41 PM (4 years ago)

    Thank you for the inspiration. When we bought our house it came with a large whitewashed timber ladder. I knew it would look good in the house but have never been quite sure what to do with it. I will have to try several of these ideas now!

    • Tidbits&Twine
      January 7, 2014 at 10:26 AM (4 years ago)

      Michelle – How wonderful! And the beauty of a whitewashed ladder in particular is that it can be dressed up or down depending on how and where you use it. Enjoy your find!

  5. baileywife
    January 7, 2014 at 6:16 AM (4 years ago)

    I’ve been on the lookout for one to use in my bathroom for towels…but love so many of these ideas!

    • Tidbits&Twine
      January 7, 2014 at 10:28 AM (4 years ago)

      I hope you find what you’re looking for!

  6. Jill
    January 7, 2014 at 9:10 AM (4 years ago)

    I SO love the Quilt Rack…it is simply PERFECT and looks STUNNING!
    Just wish I owned some quilts :)

    • Tidbits&Twine
      January 7, 2014 at 10:28 AM (4 years ago)

      Hi Jill! The quilt rack idea is a great one, isn’t it? Hope your year is off to a wonderful start!

  7. Christine
    January 8, 2014 at 9:41 AM (4 years ago)

    I love these pictures. I wish I had ceilings higher than the ranch 8′. I have two ladders I want to use for something, but they’re both 10′ tall!
    One is the back of a step ladder, where they’re not really rungs but rather the dowels that hold the legs together. The other is a while, rickety 10′ step ladder. I’m going to keep looking at ideas, because I don’t want to hack them down before I have a perfect place.

    I have floor to ceiling book cases. I’m thinking library ladder….
    Now, how to reinforce them! :)

    • Tidbits&Twine
      January 8, 2014 at 2:45 PM (4 years ago)

      Christine – both ladders sound beautiful! And what I wouldn’t give for floor to ceiling book cases!! :)

  8. Tess Malone
    May 2, 2016 at 8:35 PM (1 year ago)

    Thanks for wonderful ideas!


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