Heightening your décor with the humble ladder

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What was once only a humble tool for handymen to reach new (literal) heights, has now become a décor staple, one that we know you can use anywhere in your home, and here’s how…

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Wide Ladder Bookshelves in various colours from Interstil, available online at Zanui.

We all have “stuff” around our house that gets shoved behind cabinet doors, never to see the light of day till the moment we need them… and then we shove them back again in a vicious never-ending cycle. These everyday items deserve a lot more TLC than we seem to provide.

There’s a simple solution to all of this. It updates, organises and stores without digging deep into your pocket. We love it – the ladder.

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Tropica Decorative Ladder from Soundslike HOME, Elm 2 Drawer Console Table from Beaumont & Braddock, and Artisan Acacia Paddle Serving Board 40x29cm from Maxwell & Williams.

The ladder exposes character and charm in a space that is bland and lacking personal touches. The best part is that you can place one literally anywhere in your home and it will be practical. Here’s how it works well in every room.

In the living room

Whether you’ve got a gamer or a movie buff in the house, what’s needed most in the living room is storage space for all your entertaining goodies. Items such as DVDs, console games, CDs (or records if you’re old school) and board games are full of character.

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L to R: Maxwell Yellow Triangle Shelf from Zanui, Peachy Keen Ceramic Scented Candle from The Candle Library, Artificial Column Cacti with Dipped Pot, Small (Set of 2) from Rogue, Wooden Vertical Stripe Photo Frame, 4×6″ from Casa Uno, and Maxwell Aqua Triangle Shelf from Zanui.

Why put exciting, memory-filled items behind the closed doors of a cabinet? Such charismatic items should be displayed and organised with flair.

Don’t be afraid to openly showcase items – it makes your home more welcoming and inviting.

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Rustic ladder shelving filled with photo frames, artificial plants and decorative accents (image sourced: natalme).

What to do:

Lean your ladder securely against the wall and organise your items by category.

Place your larger items, like Monopoly, on the lower shelves and work your way up with the more fiddly items on the top shelf.

In the bathroom

We’ve been hiding things in our bathrooms since the medicine cabinet was made popular at the turn of the 20th century.

While it may be practical to stash everyday items behind cupboard doors, it can be refreshing to actually expose a variety of textures.

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L to R: Tropica Decorative Ladder from Soundslike HOMELattice Hand Towel, Smoke from Aura by Tracie Ellis and Tolani White Wooden Ladder (Set of 2) from Amalfi.

For rustic charm in your bathroom, ditch your boring towel rack and hang your towels on a more organic display.

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Image sourced: thedesignchaser.com.

What to do:

Prop your ladder up on a wall near a window, hang your bath towels at eye level and your hand towels just above.

If you prefer folding your towels, opt for a ladder with shelves.

In the kitchen

Ahh, the heart of the home. Nothing is more homely than the scent of mum’s freshly baked cookies or the aroma of homemade pasta sauce. Nothing about the kitchen should feel closed up or locked away, and here the ladder plays a special role.

Narrow Ladder Bookshelves from Interstil and Self Watering Herb Pot from Eva Solo, available online at Zanui.

There’s an especially charming use for the ladder in the cookery context that we adore – displaying your own herb garden.

Basil, chives, coriander, rosemary. The look of fresh herbs enriches any kitchen and opens up the appetite. Not to mention, it’ll make you want to crack open those cookbooks!

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Herb pots and planters organised with chalk surfaces (imaged sourced: ilovemyinterior.nl).

What to do:

It’s important to firstly know which of your herbs need partial shade and which need full sunlight.

Place your ladder near a window and prop your sun-thirsty herbs on the top shelves and work your way down.

In the office

Whether working from home or finally getting some time to finish off artsy projects, the office is a place that requires a lot of organisation and space-saving technique.

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L to R: Eye Of Time Round Desk Clock, BronzeVaugondy 1745 Globe with StandLibrary LadderBronze 30 Minute Hourglass from Authentic Models, and Pulley Bookend (Set of 2) from Casa Uno, available online at Zanui.

Rather than the usual, predictable bookshelf, the ladder possesses yesteryear charm and oozes the nostalgic feel of a mysterious timeworn library.

Shelves need more not less (in terms of fashioning), which is ideal for all the books and knick-knacks in the office.

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Image sourced: dressercase.com.

What to do:

Organise your novels with bookends and use your clock, globe, collectibles and decorative pieces to fill in the spaces.

Even out the look of your ladder by organising each shelf in reverse order to the one above it.

In the dining room

Who would have thought there’d be an alternative to the good olbuffet?

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Kastehelmi Cake Stand, 24cm from iittala1815 Wood Serving Board from Royal DoultonArris 5-Piece Set from Wedgwood, Damasa Bookshelf from TopshelfFlair Shiraz Wine Glass, 490ml (Set of 6) from Krosno and Seagrass Basket with Lid (Set of 3) from Resort Living.

The convenience of having your dinnerware on a ladder means that you don’t need to open cabinet doors, squeeze your hand through the back to reach something, and then bump into other dinnerware to pick out what you need.

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Image sourced: rusticandwoven.com.

The added bonus is that your exquisite china isn’t cooped away and only ever brought out on those once-in-a-blue-moon occasions.

Even if not in use, crystal drinkware and painted porcelain make gorgeous décor staples that will bring charisma to the room.

What to do:

Ensure that your ladder is in a convenient position that does not obstruct the seating of the dining table.

Place your more rarely used, occasional items such as cake stands on the top shelf, followed by drinkware and then stackable items such as plates and bowls.

Keep your extra hosting gear in decorative storage boxes. Fill in the shelf spaces with napkins and decorative jars.

Special mention…

Alternatively, you could use your ladder as a wine rack. Now who doesn’t love that?

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Image sourced: scoopit.com.

The essence and simplicity of the ladder is that you can lean it anywhere, against almost anything. The best part is that you’re not even limited to the options above!

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Image sourced: urbanoutfitters.com.

Get creative and see how you can use it in the laundry, bedroom or hallway. We’d love to see your innovation!

Natalie Milad is a content and blog writer who studied journalism at the University of Technology, Sydney. Since her graduation in 2016, she has landed a gig at Zanui. Her days not writing are usually filled with DIY projects, floury benchtops and tending to her bunny. Natalie loves animated short films, animals and Christmas. She has experience in script writing, news reading and interviewing. Among her favourites was interning for The Bridal Bazaar.