A Versatile Investment
With some clever styling tricks, this storage piece can move from room to room. Our foundation item: Walnut five-tier ladder shelf, $91, overstock.com
In the Entryway
A leaning ladder shelf becomes a smart entry addition when set beside a bench for putting on shoes and a rack for hanging hats, scarves, and umbrellas. Screw cup hooks into the underside of a shelf to make a handy spot for house and car keys. Fill the lower shelves with bins and baskets to store pet toys and on-the-go sports gear. Our outgoing mail organizer is actually a toast rack!
In the Kitchen
Put the shelf against a kitchen wall and it becomes an extra pantry area. Vinyl shelf liners protect the wood from scratches and are easy to wipe down. Add a plate rack for storing cutting boards and a picnic basket to hold extra dish towels, napkins, and place mats. Hot-glue clothespins to the edge and clip recipes you want to try.
In the Living Room
Leaning beside a sofa, a ladder shelf makes a great stand-in for an end table. Rogue remotes have a place to live on a tray within arm’s reach, and a big basket stores throws. Fill the rest of the shelves with vases, frames, and your favorite knickknacks. Angle a lamp over the sofa. The Studio Designs retro lamp in brushed steel ($50, hayneedle.com) has a built-in clamp.
In the Bathroom
Pedestal sinks are pretty but lack precious storage space. Enter the ladder shelf to hold toiletries, a magnifying mirror, and stacks of towels. For a cute styling trick, fill a pail with rolled-up washcloths. Mount a hook on the side—it’s the perfect place for a hand towel.
In the Laundry Room
Set next to the washer and dryer, a leaning shelf keeps laundry supplies neat. Drop detergent pods in a clear jar, and keep sewing tools together in canvas pouches and cute mugs. Save the bottom shelves for an iron, spray bottle, and stain fighters you don’t need all the time. Attach an extendable garment rod to the bottom of a shelf to hang-dry clothes.