Climbing to the Top

Have I ever pontificated on how much I love built in bookcases with library ladders? If Ryan Gosling were a piece of furniture it would be this. Seriously. That’s how much I love them. Now, unfortunately I am not going to have any in my house as my ceilings are low. C’est la vie. But it doesn’t stop me for lusting after them!  We are pretty sure this is not our forever house so I can hold onto the hope that someday I will be swinging off the rungs of one of these babies while I browse for my next read!

Ok, this one kinda scares me. You’d have to rope it off in case visitors (or owners) imbibe too much and then want to read whats on the top shelf.

Of course, Diance Von Furstenberg in all her fabulousness has THREE in her home. THREE!

But they aren’t just for living spaces- they work great in kitchens with high ceilings too!

And how about this use in a bathroom/closet as seen on Design*Sponge? So genius!

But you don’t have to have (or install) built ins to get the look and function. There are plenty of freestanding options out there too. On the higher end of the scale are the modular units by Grange Furniture which I got to see at Maison & Objet last winter in Paris. They are GORGEOUS.

This unit from Old Plank Road is pretty darn awesome too:

A more industrial look Kathy Kuo Home:

Loving this set from Mallory Hall from reclaimed wood:

And you are gonna LOVE me for this affordable find from World Market!!!! How awesome is this? It’s veneers so I’m not sure about painting it, but if you could paint it white it would be perfection for under $650!

I began wondering how one would amass that many books in order to fill these things, but after just moving and packing and unpacking 8 zillions boxes of books I am not as concerned anymore!


  1. Our new house has 18ft ceilings in one room with a 2000 built in entertainment area. We pulled that out and had a custom “wine wall” made out of mohagany and one of those ladders. Holds 600 bottles!! LOVE IT!!

  2. The kitchen and bathroom (leather purses and shoes in a steamy bathroom?) look ridiculous. People would be tripping or knocking into the ladder. Not every idea works in every room.

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  4. great post! I am also OBSESSED with library ladders- and I’m convinced it has something to do with the love I had for Belle in Beauty and the Beast as a child.

  5. There is something so warm and wonderful about shelves packed with books. I collect them and just tell myself one day when I am older and can’t do as much as I do now, I will just pull one down and read it … no matter the subject! Just work through them one by one!! xo

  6. A teacher of mine handcrafted his home. He had a rather wide landing in his staircase and opted for a mini built-in bookcase…complete with a ladder! It was such a cute touch…I can imagine it is a favorite spot for his grandchildren =)

  7. I love the library ladders and wish I had the high ceilings too!! I don’t agree with having one in the kitchen though – seems like it would always be in the way.

  8. I have a little white, freestanding bookcase with ladder and I love it. It’s only just tall enough to justify having a ladder, but I invent reasons to climb it.

  9. So many great ideas here but I think I like a ladder in a loft or large kitchen space. Of course they work great in a library, but in today’s homes, most people don’t have a books up that high. If you need a ladder and want to have it made specifically for your space, please check this out for a craftsperson who would love to help you Thanks so much and love this blog!

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