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An Old Ladder Turned Wall Display Shelf

by | Jul 12, 2010 | Decorating Inspiration, Details

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An Old Ladder Turned Wall Display Shelf

I spent the last week in Portland hanging out at my sister’s house while my son and nephew went to camp. I love going back to Portland because I get to do some antique shopping at some of my favorite shops! I came home with some fun goodies, but I was super excited about the old rickety green ladder I found!

An Old Ladder Turned Wall Display Shelf

I have seen a lot of ladders lately, used for everything from towels hangers to pot racks to plant stands both inside and out. I had tons of ideas going through my head of what I might use mine for, but I finally decided to just hang it on the wall! It isn’t a huge ladder (more of a step stool!), but when it is open it does take up a lot of floor space. So, hanging it was a good solution for my small house!

An Old Ladder Turned Wall Display Shelf

Being in a new house for the first time in my life I am sooooo desperate for the character and texture that is normally inherent to an old house. Ahhh, I do miss my plaster walls, my wood wainscoting and old hardwood floors!

While I am not in a season right now where I have time to do much in the way of major changes or carpentry to give my new house some old character (love my house but I do have a busy life!) I can EASILY bring old stuff in to mix in with the new.

This little antique ladder gave this corner a punch of color and a pinch of old character…two things I LOVE! Not to mention it is a unique way to display some little trinkets! Note: And can I just do a little happy dance that the color and distressing are all exactly as I found it? No faux painting on my part. Woot!

I found some other fun things at thrift stores and HomeGoods while I was out of town…I’ll have to share more later!

Do you have an old ladder?

Ladders can be used for more than reaching high things!


  1. emily

    i love it!!!! you’re so creative in such perfect and simple ways, melissa!

  2. nanci

    I really like this idea! My dad has an old step ladder like that…maybe I can get him to give it to me. Did you paint it or was it already that way when you bought it?

    • Melissa

      Oh happy day it is EXACTLY as I found it! :-) No painting or faux distressing involved! LOVE.

  3. paige whitley

    I have a ladder that was my grandmothers and grandfathers. It has paint splatters from years of use. I wanted it because it represented their love, building and painting their home and the time they spent together.
    The ladder is in my tiny sewing room, wide open with baskets of fabric and notions on the steps.
    .-= paige whitley´s last blog ..Out of the mouths of babes =-.

  4. Melanie

    I would never think of buying an old ladder to hang on the wall but it sure looks cute in your house. I love the color too.
    .-= Melanie´s last blog ..Random thoughts =-.

  5. Irene

    I love that idea. It’s so unique. I NEVER would have thought of that myself.
    .-= Irene´s last blog ..Exterior Successes =-.

  6. Paula

    I love it! The size & color are fantastic for the space.

    I have a ladder that I use mostly during the Christmas season to display my Nutcracker collection. I stole the idea from a fancy (& very expensive) home interiors shop that had an old, distressed green ladder that was on sale for $800!! I did not have $800 in the budget that month for a ladder… so I went to the hardware store & bought a new one for $40. I painted it & added a raw umber glaze – looks old now! It does eat an entire corner of the dining room: but it’s worth it!

  7. Mary Joy

    I love what you did with your little ladder!!! It is adorable and what a wonderful way to display the little Oliver Twist book. I agree with you that it is hard to find ways to make a new house have the same wonderful character that older houses have…but you do such a great job of it! Thanks for once again inspiring me to think outside of the “ladder” LOL!!!

    Melissa! My blog is up and running again…I SO missed visiting with you!! It would mean a lot if you had a chance to stop by…I actually made some cool new updates…LOL…all by myself! Would love your thoughts on my blog redecorating. :-)
    .-= Mary Joy @ Snapshots from my Heart & Home´s last blog ..From Lemons to Lemonade- Ive Returned to Blogland- =-.

  8. Annelise

    I love the pop of color, it pulls the room, from what I see together. You have a great eye. I have an old apple picking ladder leaning in two pieces against my fireplace. I wrote about it once. I have another tall narrow one by my front door just leaning as well.
    .-= Annelise´s last blog ..Colorful Storage Options =-.

  9. Imperfect

    I really like the green of the ladder. And what a fun addition to display Oliver Twist on it. Bringing some older items into our builder’s white apartment would probably help a lot. Great advice!
    .-= Imperfect´s last blog ..Contentment is a Funny Thing =-.

  10. Southern Gal

    I have an old wobbly ladder that I need to repurpose. This is a wonderful idea. I don’t know if I can get my husband to agree to it, though…
    .-= Southern Gal´s last blog ..Garden Woes =-.

  11. Kristen

    I LOVE this! We have a narrow wall leading to a set of stairs and this would be perfect there. I am going to have to hunt one of these down. Thanks for the great idea.

  12. Glenda Childers

    Very creative and clever use of your cute little ladder.

    I love Homegoods in Portland. Why doesn’t Seattle have one?

    .-= Glenda Childers´s last blog ..Give me your tired- your poor =-.

  13. Vee

    Cute idea. I’ve got tons of old ladders with lots of character, but I just know that I’d have trouble talking John into hanging one on the wall. Looks wonderful on yours!
    .-= Vee´s last blog ..Bedroom Talk- etc =-.

    • Melissa

      Ha, I didn’t talk my husband in to it. I just surprised him! Fortunately he said, “It looks fun in there!” so I guess that means I’m in the clear?? :-)

      • Fiona Sanders

        I always tell D to let me try it first, then if he really hates it, we can change it. He has never had me change anything yet!

        I think maybe our husbands have a hard time visualizing it like we do, we see it perfectly in our heads, but the details may be hard to convey. :o)
        .-= Fiona Sanders´s last blog ..Coming Home…… =-.

  14. Aimee

    I LOVE this idea Melissa! How cool! I may just have to try that in one of my rooms.

  15. Kari

    LOVE this idea!!!!! Fun and Functional….fab color too!!! :)
    .-= Kari´s last blog ..Sight and Sound =-.

  16. heather

    I do!!! Have an old ladder in my bedroom propped against the wall. i’ll take a pic when I get home and share it!
    .-= heather´s last blog ..…cute idea- =-.

  17. jane

    hi melissa. i have a stepstool just like that and mine is forest green. well, it was but now it is beat up and full of character. just right for being hung on the wall, since when i climb on it i take my life in my hands. it is rickety! thanks for the idea! jkj

    • Melissa

      Oh yeah, this one would be scary if I tried to step on it :-)

  18. teresa

    It’s absolutely adorable and the color is perfect. Great find.
    Happy Day
    .-= teresa´s last blog ..Prestons Birthday- =-.

    • Melissa

      It came that way! WOOOOOTTT!

  19. Marilyn Holeman

    Love it, Melissa. Thanks for your lovely and inspiring blog. Blessings!

  20. Megan

    Do you mind telling me what stores in Portland you love? I am DYING for a little vacation with my hubby, and I thought it would be perfectly wonderful to head down there and do a bit of shopping together. Only I have never stayed in that area and wouldn’t know where to go looking for the most promising finds :)

    • Melissa

      Oh, there are so many areas that are fun to explore! I love Sellwood and Westmoreland, there are some great little antique and other shops there. We enjoyed exploring Mississippi Street…some cute shops (and coffee shops! yay!) and a fabulous Re-Builders (re-building?) place that has tons of old house parts. I also love a section of Rejuvenation where there are some old house parts too. Also, there is an antique mall in Camas, WA, not too far from Portland…I also enjoy walking down NW 23rd and through the Pearl District. Endless fun!!! :-)

      • Fiona Sanders

        This was my next question! Where do you go in Portland? I love Sellwood, Classic Anitques, and 23rd, but I haven’t been to Mississippi Street or Camas.

        Have you been to Aurora or the Little Antique Mall in Lincoln City?
        .-= Fiona Sanders´s last blog ..Coming Home…… =-.

  21. Patricia Torres

    Oh my!! I’m super impressed by the use of that ladder… Its gorgeous.. and in totality looks amazing! Well done… Superb idea!
    .-= Patricia Torres´s last blog ..write me a letter =-.

  22. Pinky

    What a GREAT idea! I love it and the color is GREAT!!!! Xo, Pinky

  23. Brittney

    That looks so cute! I love the pop of color too. So lucky that you found it that way!
    .-= Brittney´s last blog ..Urban Jungle =-.

  24. Laura B.

    how cute!! I’m always on the lookout for some interseting wall display ideas… this would be a nice accent on my front porch, too!
    on a different note… what is the wall color in this room? I’m looking for inspiration for my living room wall color! Thanks! :-)

  25. Jennifer

    I am totally lovin’ this ladder idea! I just may have to ‘borrow’ it soon… I think I may have a ladder around here somewhere that will work perfectly! Thank you for the inspiration Melissa! :)
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..interview =-.

  26. Fiona Sanders

    Love the ladder! And I’m definitely in an Aqua phase right now…

    I also love the wall color with it.
    God bless,
    .-= Fiona Sanders´s last blog ..Coming Home…… =-.

  27. Mona Kay at Home

    I LOVE this! I bought the same type of ladder at a garage sale….I love it, but I didn’t know what to do with it…what a great idea!! I’m going to paint the ladder and hang it in my kitchen!

    Thanks so much for the idea!
    .-= Mona Kay at Home´s last blog ..Finallyan After- =-.

  28. Charlene

    Years ago my sister & I had matching twin beds that were designed so that they could be used as bunk beds. When I was a teenager, I took the removable bunkbed ladder, leaned it against the wall and used it as a bookshelf. I had forgotten that until just now? Wonder what ever happened to that ladder??
    .-= Charlene @ A Virtuous Woman´s last blog ..Blogging Through the Bible in 90 Days-Day 8 =-.

  29. hill upon hill

    OOH, making something special out of what you have there. Perfect. I love it.
    .-= hill upon hill´s last blog ..Tamworth Part Two =-.

  30. Mary Jean

    what a great find…and even better that you just got to enjoy it right away without having to paint it! The color is just fab girl!!! Instant gratification!
    .-= Mary Jean´s last blog ..Be Still Mondays Linky Day =-.

  31. Alison Gibbs

    What a fun way to use a step ladder and to get it in ‘perfect’ condition makes it even better
    .-= Alison Gibbs´s last blog ..WHITE WEDNESDAY =-.

  32. Amy

    cute, cute, cute!

  33. Cindy Sandelin

    I was just blogging about this very subject and ran across your idea! LOVE it! I would love to feature you and this idea on my blog and list you in my blogroll too! Awesome ideas!

  34. Jessica

    I love how it hanging on the wall as a shelf! What a great idea! I might just have to hang mine on the wall! :) Cool color 2!

  35. Tonya

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this idea. I have a ladder just like this and needed a creative solution for storage other then it taking up floor space in my kitchen, because I do use it. Problem solved…did you use screws or hooks to hang it?

    • Melissa

      Thanks! Glad it helped! I used nails and a picture hanging claw strip screwed to the back! :-)


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