How to Build a Ladder Bookshelf
Assemble a custom tiered storage unit. Modify the height and width to vary your shelf space
A ladder bookshelf provides the perfect storage solution for an old home. Leaning against a wall, it conveniently sidesteps baseboard moldings and receptacles, and with just two feet to level, it's not so easily upset by those charming warped floors. Maybe best of all, unlike closed bookcases, the open, airy design helps the room feel more spacious—all for not much more than the cost of a few feet of floor space.
Delicate as it may appear, the notched hardwood frame at right is plenty sturdy, and with its balanced design, it won't topple. To mimic the look without having to cut notches, we sandwiched two layers of 1x3s together for the uprights.
There are plenty of some-assembly-required options out there if you'd prefer to buy a ladder bookshelf. Or you could follow our plans and knock one out in an afternoon, probably in less time than it would take to choose from the thousands of variations available online. Either way, you're sure to appreciate the unobtrusive new shelf space.
Shown: Leaning Bookcase in Java by The Container Store, about $140; containerstore.com.