Blanket ladders have kind of been all the rage for quite some time now – they’re a versatile, beautiful way to add a cute accent to your home, and they look beautiful anywhere. And the best part? DIY blanket ladders are super easy to build on your own, so there’s no need to splurge on anything fancy or expensive.
You can build a DIY blanket ladder with about $20 in wood and an hour or so of your time!
But, you know what’s even better? Blanket ladders can do a lot more than just holding blankets!
Today, we’re taking the blanket ladder outside and I’m going to show you three different ways to style a blanket ladder. They’re all super simple and creative, and soon you’ll find yourself using your blanket ladder for all sorts of things besides just blankets!
HOw to style a blanket ladder: three ideas
IDea 1: Make a serving station
Do you love that finish as much as I do? It’s Varathane’s Whitewash stain, and I love that it gives you the look of a true whitewash treatment without having to deal with mixing up the perfect ratio of paint and water!
I stained my ladder with the Whitewash stain and sealed it with Varathane’s Spar Urethane. Then, I was ready to fill it up. For this one, I grabbed some large S-hooks and wire baskets to turn the ladder into a great place for storage. NOTE: If you purchase your S-Hooks online, be sure to pay close attention to their sizing. I didn’t think about the fact that they’d all have different openings, and ordered ones that were way too small the first time around. Whoops!
I loved the idea of making this ladder a little serving and storage station for some outdoor dining supplies. This would be a fun solution for a small patio. It’s a great way to set things up if you have a group over for an al fresco dinner and want to make it easy for everyone to serve themselves. I simply loaded the baskets up with some plates, cups, and other necessities. Then, I placed it near our grill cart. It looks absolutely adorable and would be so functional for a dinner party!
When the ladder isn’t full for a party, you could use the baskets to hold just about anything! You can display plants (hint – see the next idea!), kid toys, gardening supplies, etc. Or, you could just pull the baskets off when they aren’t in use and leave the ladder out as a cute decor piece!
Idea 2: Fill it with plants
This one might be my favorite way to style a blanket ladder, simply because I’m a sucker for a corner filled with plants.
I started by staining the ladder with my ride or die favorite stain – Dark Walnut from Varathane. It’s a deep, rich brown tone with just the right undertones (it’s never too yellow or too red!), and it goes with anything. I went with just one coat for a slightly more rustic and weathered feel, but you can do two to get an even deeper color.
After my stain had dried, I sealed it with Varathane Ultimate Spar Urethane. After that had dried I was ready to fill it up with plants!
Obviously, I’ll note that this is purely decorative. If you really want to use this full-time to hold plants you’re going to want to make sure it’s in a spot where the wind (or wild children) can’t knock the plants off the rungs. I stuck to mostly smaller pots on the ladder, to ensure they were sturdy on the 3″ rungs. If you wanted to be able to place wider pots, or if you don’t have an area where it can be protected from wind, I’d simply use slightly wider boards for the rungs to provide a more stable shelf.
I love the look of the rustic terra cotta pots with the rich wood. This is such a fun and simple way to style a blanket ladder while displaying some plants! The best part is that since the ladder is already sealed with Spar Urethane, you can even keep the plants in place as you water them. I’d still make sure that there isn’t any water that just sits on the wood for a long time. But, it could easily handle day-to-day waterings!
Idea 3: Use as poolside storage
- FINISH: Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint in Linen White and Serenity Blue, sealed with Varathane Spar Urethane
- Extra large S-Hooks
For this final idea, I had to take a field trip to my sister’s backyard to show off how one of these ladders could be used as a functional piece of storage (and decor) poolside!
I wanted a beachy feel for the finish for this one. So, I taped off the ladder and painted the top half with Chalked Paint in Linen White, and used Chalked Paint in Serenity Blue for the bottom half. I love the matte finish that the Chalked paint provides, and the colors are just so beautiful too. Once I sealed the ladder with Varathane’s Spar Urethane, it was ready for a new life by the pool.
I took the same S-hooks and baskets from idea #1 and styled this ladder as storage for an outdoor shower area. Filling the basket with some soap and shampoo, along with sunscreen, towels, and a few other little supplies allows it to do double-duty as storage for both the pool and a poolside shower. And it is way cuter than basically any other storage option.
Side note – is my sister’s yard not the most beautiful backyard you’ve ever seen in your life?
I love that between the Spar Urethane and the wire baskets that allow for drainage, this option is totally water-safe and can just live outside all the time. It can be tricky to figure out how to store things in an accessible and beautiful way in the backyard, especially near the pool. So, I just love the idea of adding a ladder with some baskets and filling it up with everything you could possibly need!
And those, my friends, are three simple ideas for how to use that cute blanket ladder in your outdoor decor. I could keep going with ideas for days, because this is such a functional little project.