A leaning bookcase or “ladder shelf” is a great way to add height and interest to a living room. If you wish you had built-ins and are looking for a budget friendly alternative, a ladder shelf could be the solution! Today I’m sharing our white ladder shelf and several ways that I have decorated it. Shelf styling is a fun opportunity to shop your home and work with decor that you already have to achieve a different look. Keep reading for ladder shelf decor ideas that will work for boho, farmhouse, modern, or any decor style!

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Ladder Shelf Decor Ideas

ladder shelf decor ideas, boho farmhouse decor

Here are some pieces I like to use for ladder shelf decor that will work with any style:

  1. Greenery and flowers
  2. Planters or vases
  3. Woven baskets
  4. Bead garland
  5. Stacked books
  6. Framed art or book pages

Our exact leaning bookcase is no longer available but this one from Amazon is highly rated and affordable.

ladder shelf decor ideas, boho farmhouse decor

If I’m being honest, sometimes shelf styling can take me a week or more! I like to experiment with the placement, take a break, and see how I feel later. So much of decorating is trial and error, at least for me.

How to Decorate a Ladder Shelf

ladder shelf decor ideas, boho farmhouse decor

Here are some guidelines for how to decorate a ladder shelf!

  1. Start with framed art, book pages, and trays or cutting boards to lean against the wall. These add height so the decor isn’t all too short. Try to distribute them evenly.
  2. Next, stack books on a few shelves to add texture and height. These can be coffee table books or really any books you have sitting around! Turn them backwards if you want to hide the spine.
  3. Add vases and planters with greenery. Again, try to visually balance the look by making sure there aren’t two similar items right next to one another.
  4. Finally, finish off the look with small accents such as bead garland, candles, or treasures and trinkets. Don’t overdo it! Using too many small items will make the shelves appear busy. I would stick to just a few.
faceted vase and DIY wood bead garland, shelf styling

This DIY wood bead garland was one of my first blog posts last year. It was such a fun little project to do with Bug who was two at the time because he loved threading and counting the beads!

More Shelf Styling Inspiration

Check out these posts for more ladder shelf inspiration!

I would love to see your ladder shelf styling, so leave me a comment below!

caitlin calligraphy signature

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