How To Decorate A Ladder Shelf: 15 Ladder Shelf Decor Ideas

How To Decorate A Ladder Shelf: 15 Ladder Shelf Decor Ideas - Nathan James

A ladder shelf is unlike anything else. This particular shelving style offers incredible versatility–so much so that you can put it anywhere in the house and it will look like it is in the right place. And on top of that, this type of shelf tends to be lightweight and highly portable, which means you can move it all over your house without breaking a sweat.

Ladder shelves are both decorative and functional; they are mainly used as storage, but they can also serve as a vessel for decorative pieces. With that in mind, a ladder shelf has the potential to be the center of attention in a room. But if you’re not careful, it can also look like an exposed junk drawer.

So, in this article, you will learn how to decorate a ladder shelf without making it look like a cluttered mess. Keep on reading to discover the best ladder shelf decor ideas that will make your shelf look something out of an HGTV mag!

What Exactly Is A Ladder Shelf?

A ladder shelf is a lightweight, minimalistic, and highly portable style of shelving. The design of a ladder shelf is reminiscent of that of–well, a ladder. Some ladder shelves lean against the wall with the “steps” decreasing in depth from the top, whereas other ladder shelves have a triangular shape that resembles a ladder that has been spread out on both sides.

There are even modern ladder shelf styles that are installed into the wall and look like pool ladders. Whatever the design, however, ladder shelves tend to be humble and simplistic, but are stylish nonetheless. And because we know how many of our readers love their ladder shelves, we’re going to shell out our favorite decor ideas.

How To Decorate A Ladder Shelf: Our Top Ladder Shelf Decor Ideas

There are countless ways you can decorate a ladder shelf. But with so many possibilities, it helps to have some inspiration to get you started. Hence, we have compiled some of the best ladder shelf decor ideas that will hopefully get your creative juices going. Let’s dive right in!

Follow The Room’s Color Scheme

If you want your ladder shelf to blend in with the rest of the room, choose your decor based on your current color scheme. For example, if your room has a beige + evergreen thing going on, pick out decorative pieces that match your room’s colors. For a bit of contrast, add an ornament in a color that stands out from the rest.

Go All Out With Plants

Ladder shelves make a great space for indoor plants. This is mainly because ladder shelves have bigger layers on the bottom and smaller ones on the top, which means you can place plants on each shelf without worrying about the shelf on top concealing the plant underneath. More than that, you can also arrange your plants from biggest to smallest, which would make for a satisfying aesthetic in any room.

Use Your Ladder Shelf as a Bar

Don’t have enough space for a bar? Use a ladder shelf instead! Stock your shelf with spirits, mixers, bar tools, and your favorite glasses to create your own shelf bar. The best part is that ladder shelves can fit in tight spaces, which means you can place your bar in the corner of the kitchen, underneath the stairs, or even in the hallway!

Check out this related article on how to set up a bar cart to see what you need to turn your ladder shelf into a little bar.

Make Your Kids a Reading Nook

Find a ladder shelf that is small enough to fit into a corner of your child’s room (or any corner in the house where your kids can spend time reading). Then deck it out with their favorite books, some toys, cute kid-safe plants, and perhaps even a small tally board where they can count how many books they’ve read.

Create a Stylish Bathroom Shelf

Is it just us or does it seem that there is never enough space in the bathroom? If you have the same plight, bringing a ladder shelf into the bathroom may be what you need to increase storage without cluttering up the space. Put wicker baskets on the lower shelves to keep eyesores hidden from view; use jars or ceramic bowls to store soaps and bath bombs; then place some candles on one or two shelves to add a cozy feel to your bathroom.

Go Minimalist

If you want to maintain the minimalist theme in your room, decorate your ladder shelf as sparsely as possible. However, this calls for putting a lot of thought into what you want to display on your ladder shelf. Try decor with clean, simple lines and neutral colors (e.g. a plain decorative bowl) or some inconspicuous shelf art (e.g. a simple line art painting).

Display Your Art

Speaking of art, why not use your ladder shelf to display your best work? Paintings, pictures, sculptures, embroidery– if you are an artist, proudly display your work on your ladder shelf for everyone to see!

Organize Your Books

Some people like their books unorganized for that “authentic” feel. But if that is not your cup of tea, try organizing your books by color and/or height. You can even stack some books vertically while leaving the others in a horizontal line. And if you want something to “break” the stack or line, try placing something in between your books, such as a small plant, a clock, or a vase.

Decorate For The Holidays

When the holiday season comes around, clear out your ladder shelf to make way for some festive decor. If you celebrate Christmas, spruce up your shelf with some holiday ornaments, evergreens, faux gifts, and Christmas-themed candles. Your shelf can even be home to the family’s Christmas stockings and perhaps the mischievous Elf on the Shelf.

The same goes for other holidays, such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Easter–you can easily style your ladder shelf in any way you want with festive decor; the sky’s the limit! 

Turn Your Shelf into an Extension of Your Desk

As we’ve said before, there are some types of ladder shelves that can be attached to the wall. If you want more storage space for your home office, we highly recommend installing your ladder shelf on the wall behind your desk. Then, use it to store files, office supplies, and other work-related stuff. Of course, don’t forget to decorate your ladder shelf with some plants, scented candles, and picture frames to make your space more conducive to productivity.

Opt For Monochrome 

Don’t feel like choosing a color palette? Why not go for a monochrome design instead? Here are some ideas you can get in on: black and white photographs, matching black and white vases, gray sculptures, black and white decorative books, lamps with black stems and white shades, and so on.

Turn Back Time With Vintage Decor

Whether you’re following a vintage vibe for your whole house or just want a small corner for your vintage collectibles, using a ladder shelf is the way to go. Decorate your shelf with clock radios, vintage lamps, vinyl records, turntables, and old-school pictures to have your own little piece of days gone by.

Dedicate Your Shelf to a Loved One

Dedicating a space in your home to a loved one is one of the best ways to remember them–be it a friend, a family member, or even a pet. Display their best pictures, favorite mementos, and maybe even the keepsakes that they have left you. It’s a great way to celebrate one’s life and keep their memory alive in your home.

Display Your Favorite Family Memories

Family memories aren’t meant to be kept in photo albums only! Turn your shelf into a physical representation of your family’s love by decorating it with prized family pictures, heirlooms, awards, graduation pictures, baby mementos, and other things that represent your family’s milestones and favorite moments.

Create a Self-Care Corner

Make your own self-care corner in the bedroom by filling your ladder shelf with all the self-care essentials. Examples of these can include aromatherapy candles, lotions, scent diffusers, face masks, soft slippers, and maybe even some self-help books. If you want to make your bedroom feel like a spa, try adding rolled-up towels, some fancy reed diffusers, decorative rocks, and a jar of your favorite massage oil.

Final Thoughts On How To Decorate A Ladder Shelf

Just like in our article on how to decorate a coffee table, there are so many ways you can decorate and style a ladder shelf. 

But remember, you need a good canvas to make great art, so be sure you have the type of ladder shelves your home deserves. At Nathan James, we offer affordable, design-first furniture that will be the talking point each time you have guests over. Our pieces are incredibly functional, too. The best part? You can hang your ladder shelf in just an hour or less - no tools or heavy lifting necessary!

Apart from sophisticated ladder shelves, we also have wide selections of modern glam furniture, modern accent cabinets, and minimalist coffee tables, And aside from variety, you get to enjoy superior quality, superb customer service, and easy order processing–all at an affordable price!

Reading Next

How To Hang A Heavy Bookshelf On The Wall - Nathan James