Build a Storage Ladder

Create stylish, freestanding storage for your bathroom with this simple project.
Freestanding, Colorful Bath Storage Tower

Freestanding, Colorful Bath Storage Tower

This bright orange ladder adds a pop of color and dimension in this contemporary white bathroom, and was built for storing toiletry items and towels in an unused corner of the room.

By: Ana White

Materials Needed:

  • 4’ 12"-wide shelf
  • 6' 1x2 pine board
  • 8' 1x4 pine boards (2)
  • 2 -1/2" wood screws (24)
  • 1-1/4" wood screws (10)
  • pilot hole bit to match wood screws and lag screws
  • small tube wood filler
  • 1 quart stain or 2 quarts flat paint
  • spray can exterior clear coat
  • sandpaper in medium and fine grits
  • measuring tape
  • carpenter's square
  • protractor
  • level
  • drill
  • circular saw or jigsaw Tip: Many hardware stores will make cuts complimentary with the purchase of lumber.
  • vacuum with soft-bristled brush attachment

Cut List

1x2 boards cut 55 3/8" long (front legs, ends cut at 15 degrees off square) (2)
1x2 boards cut 531/2" long (back legs) (2)
1x3 boards cut 25- 1/2" long (fronts and backs of shelves) (8)
1x2 board cut 25 1/2" long (top trim)
12” wide shelf cut 12" x 4 3/4" (top shelf cut from 12" wide shelf)
1x3 boards cut 4 3/4" long (top shelf side trim) (2)
12" wide shelf cut 12" x 8 1/2" (second shelf)
1x3 boards cut 8 1/2" long (second shelf trim) (2)
1 12" wide shelf cut 12" x 12 1/4" (third shelf)
1x3 boards cut 12 1/4" long (third shelf trim) (2)
1 12" wide shelf cut 12" x 16" (bottom shelf)
1x3 boards cut at 16" long (bottom shelf trim) (2)

Getting Started

Select boards that are straight. Tip: Pretend the board is an arrow on a bow and look down the length of the board to see if it is straight. Tip: To save time, have hardware store cut boards as directed in cut list. Work on a clean level surface large enough for the project, and always wear safety glasses and ensure proper ventilation when painting.

Trim Sides of Shelves

Pre-drill pilot holes with countersink bit on bottom edge of all trim boards. Use glue and 2-1/2" trim screws to attach side trim to shelves. Keep bottom edges flush.

Trim Sides of Shelves

Trim Sides of Shelves

Pre-drill pilot holes with countersink bit on bottom edge of all trim boards. Use glue and 2-1/2" trim screws to attach side trim to shelves. Keep bottom edges flush.

Attach Front and Back Trim

Drill pilot holes on front and back trim along bottom edge and ends. Use 2-1/2" trim screws and wood glue to attach front and back trim to shelf and side trim. Set shelves aside.

Attach Front and Back Trim to Shelves

Attach Front and Back Trim to Shelves

Drill pilot holes on front and back trim along bottom edge and ends. Use 2-1/2" trim screws and wood glue to attach front and back trim to shelf and side trim. Set shelves aside.

Cut Front Legs

Mark end of front leg with protractor at 15 degrees off square. Cut end of leg along mark with saw. Measure 55-3/8" to opposite end of leg. Mark top of leg with protractor making line parallel to bottom of leg. Cut.

Cut Front Legs of Storage Ladder

Cut Front Legs of Storage Ladder

Mark the end of front leg with a protractor at 15 degrees off square. Cut the end of leg along the mark with a saw, measure 55-3/8" to opposite end of leg and mark top of leg with protractor making line parallel to bottom of leg. Cut.

Cut Top of Front Leg

Measure one inch from top front of leg and mark. Using the square, draw a line perpendicular to the top of leg. Cut as shown in diagram.

Cut Top of Front Legs

Cut Top of Front Legs

Measure one inch from top front of leg and mark. Using the square, draw a line perpendicular to the top of leg. Cut as shown in diagram.

Assemble Legs

Drill pilot hole on top edge of back legs. Screw back legs to front legs as shown in diagram with 2-1/2" trim screws and glue.

Assemble Wooden Legs

Assemble Wooden Legs

Assemble the legs by drilling a pilot hole on top edge of back legs, screw back legs to front legs as shown in diagram with 2-1/2" trim screws and glue.

Top Trim

Pre-drill holes as shown in diagram then glue and attach legs to top trim, using 2-1/2" trim screws.

Apply Top Trim to Storage Ladder

Apply Top Trim to Storage Ladder

To apply the top trim, pre-drill holes as shown in diagram. Glue and attach legs to top trim using 2-1/2" trim screws.

Shelf Assembly

Mark legs as shown in the diagram. Also mark each shelf 2" from the top front corner; the top front edge of the shelves extends 2" beyond the front legs. Start by attaching bottom shelf to legs, using 1-1/4" screws. Then attach remaining shelves, checking for level and square on each shelf.

Illustration for Shelf Assembly

Illustration for Shelf Assembly

Mark legs as shown in the diagram. Also mark each shelf 2" from the top front corner; the top front edge of the shelves extends 2" beyond the front legs. Start by attaching bottom shelf to legs, using 1-1/4" screws. Then attach remaining shelves, checking that each is level and square.

Finishing

Fill exposed screw holes with wood filler and let dry. Sand the entire shelf with medium sandpaper. Refill holes, as needed, with wood filler and let dry. Sand with medium-grit sandpaper. Then vacuum shelf with soft-bristled brush to remove sanding residue. Wipe clean with damp cloth. Apply wood conditioner, stain and clear coat for a beautiful wood finish. Apply primer and three coats of flat paint, followed with clear coat for a durable painted finish. Tip: Sand edges before applying clear coat to create a time-worn distressed finish.

Dimensions of Bathroom Storage Ladder

Dimensions of Bathroom Storage Ladder

To finish, fill exposed screw holes with wood filler and let dry. Sand the entire shelf with medium sandpaper. Refill holes, as needed, with wood filler and let dry. Sand with medium-grit sandpaper. Then vacuum shelf with soft-bristled brush to remove sanding residue. Wipe clean with damp cloth. Apply wood conditioner, stain and clear coat for a beautiful wood finish. Apply primer and three coats of flat paint, followed with clear coat for a durable painted finish. Tip: Sand edges before applying clear coat to create a time-worn distressed finish.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Build a Towel Ladder for Bathroom Storage

A mahogany bath ladder adds storage without taking up a lot of space.

How to Build an Outdoor Bench With Storage

Add extra seating to your patio or deck with this DIY outdoor bench featuring beautiful fretwork panels and hidden storage under the seat. Using minimal tools and a few supplies from the home improvement store, you can build this stunning storage bench in one weekend.

How to Build a Rolling Ladder

Expand your storage by building a movable ladder to reach tall shelves and high places.

How to Build a Closet Storage Unit

Add built-in shelving to your existing closet, or transform an unused space into a place for storage.

How to Build Floating Storage Shelves

Carter Oosterhouse uses extra wall space to add more storage to an entertainment center.

Cottage Bathroom Storage Cabinet

Create stylish storage for your bathroom: This build-it-yourself shelving unit is a perfect way to make unused wall space functional.

6 Storage Secrets From Tiny House Dwellers

We asked tiny home residents and designers how they squeezed as much storage as possible out of their ultra-petite pads. Steal their ideas to maximize your own space.

Laundry Room Organization and Storage Ideas

Keep clutter at bay with the right storage plan and containers.

How to Build a Storage Shed for Garden Tools

Create extra storage for outdoor gear with this simple shed design.
More from:

Fast Fix: Bathrooms

On TV

Income Property

6:30am | 5:30c

House Hunters

8:30am | 7:30c

House Hunters

9:30am | 8:30c

House Hunters

10am | 9c

House Hunters

10:30am | 9:30c

House Hunters

11am | 10c

House Hunters

11:30am | 10:30c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Fixer Upper

8pm | 7c

Fixer Upper

9pm | 8c

Good Bones

10pm | 9c

Fixer Upper

11pm | 10c

Fixer Upper

12am | 11c

Good Bones

1am | 12c

Fixer Upper

2am | 1c

Fixer Upper

3am | 2c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.