Ladder Shelving Guide

What is a ladder shelf?

Basically, this type of shelf gets its name for two reasons-
  1. It appears to lean against the wall, using the leverage to firmly keep it planted.
  2. Sometimes (but not all the time), a ladder shelf looks like an actual ladder.
Typically the framework of this type of shelf is a wider base that narrows as it moves up from tier to tier and the “leaning” is a hallmark trait.

More creative folks can actually build a ladder shelf using materials found at home.  For those on a budget, creating a shelf may be cheaper than actually buying one (see the pictures for examples).

For those who don’t want to spend the time building, there are plenty of options to buy ladder shelves that you can place in literally any living space.  Most people place books or decorative items although some will use as a media shelf for the storage of CD’s and DVD’s.  

Ladder shelves come in all shapes and sizes.  You can place them in a corner (perfect for the kitchen) or have a ladder shelf that expands all the way across a living room wall as a bookcase for a library effect.

Some “corner” shelving is part of a typical shelving unit


In some cases, the corner shelves are actually part of a larger shelf.  For instance, you may have an entertainment center that has two corner shelves on each side .  Once again, the hallmark of a ladder shelf is that the base is wide and it narrows as it moves up.

Creative Ways to Make a Ladder Shelf