Making the most of limited bathroom storage space can be a challenge. Install a DIY ladder shelf on the wall to add functional and decorative storage with just a few basic supplies. Here’s how to create extra storage and style with this simple weekend project.

What You’ll Need

To make your own ladder shelf, you’ll need:

  • 1×4 boards cut to desired shelf lengths
  • Wood glue
  • Finish nails or wood screws
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood stain, paint, or polyurethane (optional)
  • Stud finder
  • Level
  • Drill

Make sure to use moisture-resistant wood if installing in the bathroom. Cedar and redwood are great options that will resist warping from humidity.

Planning Your Design

First, decide where you want to install your ladder shelf. Wall space next to the toilet or above the towel bar are great spots. Use a stud finder to mark the wood stud locations so you can secure the shelf properly.

Next, determine the width and length you want for your shelf. Common lengths range from 3 to 5 feet. Make the shelf wider for more storage – 10 to 12 inches wide is ideal. Cut your 1×4 boards to the desired lengths.

You’ll need two side pieces (cut to the height you want), and several shelves (cut to the width you want). One extra board cut the full width can be used as a decorative ladder-like backboard.

Assembling the Shelf

Sand the boards smooth and apply your desired stain, paint, or sealer if you don’t want a natural wood look.

Lay the side boards on a flat surface spaced the desired width apart. Use wood glue and nails or screws to attach the backboard across the two side pieces. This will hold the sides together.

Next, attach the shelves one at a time using glue and fasteners. Space the shelves 6 to 12 inches apart. Make sure the shelves are level and aligned.

Let the glue fully dry before hanging your ladder shelf.

Installing Your Shelf

Determine the exact mounting location using your stud finder. Hold the shelf in place and mark where the side boards line up with the studs.

Use a drill to pre-drill holes in the shelf sides at the stud marks. Then use wood screws to securely fasten the shelf sides into the wall studs. Make sure the shelf is centered and level.

Load up your new ladder shelf with bathroom essentials! It’s perfect for extra towels, toiletries, and decorative items. Just don’t overload it – distribute weight evenly for best support.

Style Your Ladder Shelf

Personalize your bathroom ladder shelf with these fun ideas:

  • Paint or stain it a bold color to make a statement.
  • Alternate board direction for visual interest.
  • Add molding trim along the edges of the shelf.
  • Display pretty bottles, soaps, and accessories.
  • Roll up washcloths or towels and place in baskets.
  • Use rope baskets for a breezy, spa-like vibe.
  • Incorporate live plants, vines, or flowers.
  • Attach sconce lighting for ambiance.
  • Add a curtain to conceal items.
  • Use it in the shower to hold products.

Get creative with your materials and styling to design a ladder shelf that fits your space and personality!

FAQs About DIY Ladder Shelves

How much weight can a ladder shelf hold?

With proper installation into wall studs and using thick, quality wood, a ladder shelf can hold 20-30 pounds per linear foot. Don’t overload it or allow weight to become unbalanced.

What’s the best wood to use for a bathroom shelf?

Moisture-resistant woods like cedar and redwood are ideal. Avoid using particle board or MDF, which can warp.

How deep should the shelves be?

For most bathrooms, 10-12 inches deep provides ample storage. Make shelves deeper if you need to fit larger items.

What’s the best way to hang and secure it?

Use wood screws drilled into wall studs for the strongest support. Hanging on drywall alone risks the shelf pulling off.

Should I finish or seal the wood?

Yes, apply water-resistant polyurethane or lacquer for protection. Painted finishes also work well.

How close together should I space shelves?

Space shelves 6-12 inches apart depending on your storage needs. Leave a larger bottom shelf for taller items.

Get Creative with DIY Ladder Shelves!

Installing a ladder shelf is a great DIY project for both form and function. Make use of wasted wall space for towel bars, toiletries, décor and more. With a minimal investment of time and money, you can create custom storage that makes your bathroom feel organized and put-together.

Let your personal style shine by choosing a shelf length, width, wood type, and finish that fits your space. Top it off by styling your new ladder shelf with pretty accessories or lush greenery and flowers. It makes an ordinary bathroom feel spa-like!

With this simple tutorial, you can transform any blank bathroom wall into an eye-catching storage display. So grab your wood, screws, and drill and start crafting your own beautiful ladder shelf this weekend!