Upwards to Upcycled Ladders: Edition 2

Apr 2, 2009 by

As I shall be a wannabe gypsy for the next few months, I will alas have limited repurposing projects from my own home to share with you.  However, this does not mean that the repurposing bug will not consistently bite me!  Thus, if you have any particular vintage object or common household object that you wish you could find a few other uses for, let me know, and I would love to hunt and brainstorm repurposing ideas to publish for you!

With that said, many of us loved the versatile uses of upcycled ladders from the first edition, and I have gathered together a few other repurposing ideas that can make a ladder work double-duty!   However, before I delve into the ideas, I suppose it is only fair and fitting that I explain why I am quite obsessed with ladders.  It all began when I lived here….

dutch loft

This is a view of my former living room in my “treehouse” cottage in Hollywood where I lived a few years ago.  To access the upper lofts and my writing nook, as well as the rooftop patio, I would climb up the 12′ ladder.  I developed great upper body strength living here, as I often carried my cocker spaniel up the ladder under one arm!   Let’s also just say that cocktail parties hosted on my roof were always an adventure.  Now you know where my obsession with ladders spawns from!


While this alternative bedside table would take me a few nights to grow accustomed to, I do like how streamlined the repurposed ladder looks, as seen via Living Etc.  This would be a great option for a small bedroom — or for someone (like myself) who simply cannot keep a nightstand organized.


Remember the horizontal bookshelf ladder from the last edition?  If you can’t mount a ladder horizontally to the wall, you can still use an upcycled ladder as a bookshelf and display, as Southern Living did.


Do you recall the beautiful repurposed ladder that maya*made and her mom created in their artistic barn?  I recently had the great pleasure of hearing from Nancy, the one and only mother of the talented maya*made — and the one who spends part of her year in the famously creative red barn.  She shared with me this lovely photo of how Anthropologie in Berkeley repurposed ladders to use as alternative clothing displays.


This one also comes from Nancy, who says, “I thought you might like to see how an artist used [ladders]. They were featured in a gallery in the East Village last summer.  I take my camera everywhere!” I’m so glad that Nancy takes her camera everywhere!   These look like salvaged ladders, and they make me wonder if I should have paid more attention in shop class in high school.


And of course, a ladder propped by the back door can work double-duty as a shoe rack, as photographed by Trine Thorsen.

Now pray tell, has the upcycled ladder bug bit you too? :)

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  1. so many nice examples. i’m always on the lookout for a pretty old ladder to tote home–a neighbor of ours has one in her kitchen that she drapes her tea towels on–lovely!

  2. The bedside table is brilliant! Really great post.

  3. I would love to repurpose a couple of wooden, two-step ladders into small cocktail tables by affixing a larger square of wood, or glass, or maybe something else in an interesting shape to the top. that way if I wanted to get the tables out of sight, I could just fold up the ladder, with the top laying against the front, and put them away. It is just something I thought about a few months aago. I might try it if I can find the ladders.

  4. I really like the ladder as bedside table concept. It could end up looking like a mini art installation!
    (+ I love how it self-manages clutter)…

    so glad you will still be blogging btw!

    I discovered a neat website yesterday; blogged about it… there is a great re-purposing idea for an empty fireplace!

  5. Grace

    Thank you for your kind words!

    Erin — Tea towels on a kitchen ladder makes for a cute neighbor!

    RhiannanM – Your idea sounds fantastic! If you create the table one day, I’d love to see photos!

  6. Your writing nook looks like a dream! How magical.

  7. I like the first image – the ladder really extends the area!

  8. Oh what a lovely round up! The bug just bit I think, I want a ladder in my home, asap.

  9. i love the different uses of ladders and especially like the one for books. the bedside table is cool too and so clever.

  10. Love all these examples – so many clever uses for a ladder. I might need to pull mine out of the garage!

  11. I just added you to my blog roll :-)

  12. i love the bedside table as well. perfect as our new bedroom is a bit smaller than expected…

  13. I do love repurposed ladders! That one as a bedside table is gorgeous and such a cute idea!

  14. I have a little step ladder that I’m moving to my bedside this week! Thanks for the inspiration… and all your sweet words about my mother and the barn! Here’s to ladder love!

  15. This is very well timed because i JUST found an antique 11′ tall rolling library ladder from The Putnam Ladder Co in a pile of trash on the street this weekend.

    I carried in home in the pouring rain and now I’m left scratching my head. It’s just so tall it can’t even go flush to my walls!

  16. Grace

    I love hearing about all of your ladder repurposing ideas and finds! I hope to see photos of the upcycled ladders in your homes!

  17. wow! your living quarters in Hollywood=AMAZING! Good thing I don’t have to climb a ladder tho (even tho i’d love to). My 3 dogs would want me to carry them ALL up the ladder or they’d cry the whole time i was up there.

  18. clark

    I found a very old ladder. When its closed it looks like a pole. You pull the two sides apart and it swings up out and the rungs appear. I am trying to trace its roots. Have you ever seen anything like this?

  19. Debbie

    I found your site because I am looking for a specific antique ladder. I was enjoying your contributions then BOOM! The last entry, from clark. It is exactly what I am looking for. Please provide info or source for the ladder? Thanks!

  20. Hey!
    Nice ladder ideas you got there! I admire your bringing the dog with you up there. Although hard to access, those lofts are so cozy and nice. I used to have a guest bed loft, and I often slept there myself just to get that nice escape feeling.. :)

    Lovely blog! I have somewhat a difficult time to figure it out, but I will definitely link to you!
    See you around!

  21. Glad to see that this site works well on my Google phone , everything I want to do is functional. Thanks for keeping it up to date with the latest.

  22. Would you mind if I reference a few sentences from your post? I’m researching for project for highschool. Thanks!

  23. It’s a rad vintage place where you can stay the night in original airstreams and other cool old trailers.

  24. i found out of all this by youtube and the only thing i can say is that i love it! i cant stop playing all this songs all over and over aggain! specially “No More Gas” & “Viva La Pop” i just love DJEarworm’s songs! !

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