Upcycled Step Ladder Decorating Ideas

This DIY upcycled step ladder project is easy! A little bit of paint, scrap wood and some distressing and you have yourself an adorable plant stand for a front porch or even in your home!

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This post is sponsored by Dixie Belle Paint. All opinions are my own. Rest assured that I have used these products and would not share them with you if I wasn’t thrilled with the products!

Pinterest graphic with text overlay "diy upcycle ladder project ReinventedDelaware.com" and step ladder in the background.

what can you do with an old ladder?

We were at a yard sale meandering and searching for all of the treasures when I spotted this wooden step ladder off to the side.

It wasn’t even part of the yard sale, but it kept grabbing my attention as I looked at the yard sale tables.

I felt it calling my name! “Cindy…..Cindy…..Cindy”

Side note: does junk speak to you or am I just an absolute flake??

Old wooden green ladder in a garage ready for a makeover.

A question ran through my mind, “What can I do with an old ladder?”

I mean, if the people who were running the yard sale didn’t even think they could get anyone to buy it, who was I to think anything could be done with a dirty and broken wooden ladder?

So, I asked and then bought it for $1 with no idea what I would do with it. 🙂

The front of an old wooden green ladder with a broken step and various thrift store items in the background.

At the minimum, I knew I would paint it. The color was pretty but very worn out and it needed a fresh coat.

In fact, the more I looked at the color, the more I loved it.

I was on a mission to find that exact color and guess what…..I did!

We bought the ladder for a buck, brought it home and I scrubbed it with a hose and a solution of Dixie Belle White Lightning. This cleaner cuts through all of the grime, oils, and any other gunk that was on the step ladder.

list of supplies:

Use the links below to purchase some of the supplies for this project! You are helping to support this blog and all the free tutorials we offer here! Thanks so much!😊

Dixie Belle Products:

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painting an old wooden ladder

The painting process was finished in two steps. I wanted the time-worn look chippy paint.

The easiest way to create the contrast needed for a good chippy paint finish is to paint the first coat a dark color. Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint in Caviar was a perfect choice. One coat of any dark color will do.

Remember I loved the original color of the wooden step ladder? I found it!! It’s called Farmhouse Green and it is the perfect spring green I was looking for!

When the dark color was completely dry, I used a chunk of beeswax to act as a resist. You can see how easy this is to do in the video below?

how to create a chippy paint finish

The latest on Youtube:

After I applied the beeswax, I turned on a podcast and applied two coats of Dixie Belle paint in Farmhouse Green.

Be sure to watch the video above to see the next step in the chippy paint finish. It’s fun and scary all at the same time! 😊

fix a broken step on an old ladder

We always have scrap wood left over after building farmhouse tables. The wood we use for the farmhouse tables is reclaimed oak boards that are about 1 1/2″ thick and 6″ wide. It’s just too good to throw out and my hubby and I use the scraps for various projects.

I grabbed two sections of the reclaimed wood and cut them to the correct width for the steps. Only one step on this upcycled step ladder was broken, but I thought it would look better to have both of the steps match.

The very top ‘step’ was in perfect condition and someone had previously added a piece of wood to it so I didn’t need to do a thing to it!

I used screws long enough to go through the new step and into the original step. I put the screws in from the underside so they wouldn’t show. Three screws will hold it snug. This ladder isn’t intended to be used for its original purpose so I didn’t need to think about the ladder folding up.

upcycled step ladder

Cute isn’t she?? The color is perfect if this is used as a plant stand, don’t you think?

My pothos plants look amazing on the upcycled step ladder but I can also envision potted herbs for the kitchen! Place this near a brightly lit window and you could have fresh herbs all year!

Staged scene of an upcycled step ladder painted in a light green with potted plants on each step of the ladder. There is a small childs chair with a potted plant in a copper pot and wall decor hanging on the wall in the background.

step ladder decorating ideas

Here are just a few of the ideas that came to my mind for this adorable step ladder:


  • use this upcycled ladder in a bathroom to stack towels and bathroom necessities on.
  • place next to a bedside to stack your current nightly reads.
  • put the ladder in the corner of a front porch and add seasonal potted plants to brighten your porch and welcome your guests.
  • add baskets to the steps/shelves and use them to store small toys for the kids.
  • place between two outdoor chairs for a fun spot to hold your coffee cup for morning coffee.
  • add a thrift store cutting board to the top of a smaller step ladder and you have an instant side table!

ladder decorating ideas

Some of my friends have the greatest ideas for decorating with ladders! Be sure to click the links below for some ladder decorating inspiration!

Staged scene showing off an old ladder that was repurposed into a plant stand. Potted plants in terra cotta pots and coppy pots with wall decor help to decorate the scene.

upcycled ladder shelves

You can see that using the 6″ wide oak boards creates a nice surface for just about anything from plants to stacks of books.

BTW, I clear coated this whole piece with Dixie Belle Topcoat in Flat. If you use this type of project outdoors, I suggest you seal it with Gator Hide. It is water repellant and will make this finish last for years!

Close up of wood piece used to repair the broken step on a wooden step ladder with a plant on top.

chippy paint on an upcycled step ladder

Can you see how the dark paint shows through creating a chippy paint finish? This technique is fool-proof and so fun! Here is another video about creating the chippy paint finish with Dixie Belle. You won’t believe the crazy tool I use!

Just click the button below!

repurposed wooden ladder

Now that was a fun project, don’t you think? Start keeping your eye out at yard sales for ladders sitting off to the side. Always ask if something is for sale!

Side view of a repurposed step ladder made into a plant stand with various decor pieces.
Full front view of a staged scene showing the repurposed step ladder with plants in various containers including a copper pot and terra cotta pots with wall decor in the background.

more inspiring posts!

Here are some of the fun things we have reinvented and upcycled. Hope you enjoy the posts!

Just click the image to see the project!

Pin the image below to your home decor and furniture boards! Just click the pin button at the top left corner!

Pinterest graphic with text overlay "decorate withupcycled ladders ReinventedDelaware.com" with a repurposed wood step ladder and other home deocr pieces in the background.

This post is part of a blog hop I did with some of my thrifty blogging friends! Be sure to visit their posts to see the fun projects they have to share with us!

Links to the other projects are below the image collage!

Pinterest graphic with text overlay "Thrift Store Decor Team" and various upcycled projects in the background.

How To Spray Paint Wood Furniture

Upcycle Vintage Metal Library Stool

How to Upcycle a Floral Centerpiece

Shutter Mail Organizer

Upcycling Plates into a Snowman

Pine Tree Embroidery for Winter Decor

How to Easily Paint Wicker

Thrifted Wooden Box Boho Makeover

Upcycled Stepladder Decorating Ideas )You’re already there!)

Thanks for joining our journey!

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    1. Isn’t that Farmhouse Green so pretty?? I’m thinking spring too!

    2. Oh my this is a fantastic upcycle. I can see this filled with beautiful flowers.


      1. That’s the plan – fill it up with pretty plants this summer on our front porch. Unless someone wants to buy it 😉 Thanks for pinning Cindy!

  1. I love the end result of this project and can think of so many places that it could be used in a home.

    1. The front porch, the laundry room, the kitchen and even a bathroom with stacks of towels! So many ideas. Thanks for stopping by Paula! 😊

  2. Gimme all the ladders! Great links included to…so much inspiration! Cindy, your photography is incredible! Love this project.

    1. Yay for all the ladder projects! Thank you for your sweet words about my photography Suzanne! 😊

  3. I love ladders, and YES, junk speaks to me too! lol I have some that look great, and I feel like I should sell some of them at my booth, but I just can’t let go of them yet.
    I love all your junk! 🙂



    1. Thanks for pinning Gail! I totally get it – most of the projects we do live in our for only a little while until they go to our vendor spot. That’s the life of a vendor booth owner!😊

  4. Rebecca Payne says:

    Great job no your makeover. I love the green color.

    1. Thank you, Rebecca! Isn’t that green so pretty? It’s got me thinking about spring!

  5. So much fun! I would love to make a few of these for my home. That light, minty green color is so pretty.

    1. Doesn’t it remind you of spring?? Thanks for hanging out on my blog today my friend!

  6. Such a cute project! I have 2 in my home and use one as a sort of side table, and one has the sweetest hardware on it. Both were more than $1 though – but I love them. …and YES, junk does talk to me too lol. Too much at times.

    1. ‘Too much at times”. That made me chuckle! I bet your ladders are adorable!

  7. This couldn’t be more perfect! I love the color and how you added the wood planks, it’s just gorgeous! I had an old ladder and I used to use it around Christmas but threw it away, now I have regrets. Beautiful job!

    1. Oh no!! I think this ladder was headed for the trash heap too! You’ll find another one!

  8. I loved reading your decorating tips for old ladders. Now I’ll be on the lookout for one for my porch. Thanks for sharing. Pinned. 🙂 xo

    1. Thank you for pinning Do! Your front porch would be the perfect spot for a ladder plant stand😊

    1. Thank you, Michele! This project would look great in neutrals too!😊

  9. I love all of the chippy goodness on this ladder! The color is gorgeous and is perfect for spring! Pinned!

    1. Thanks for pinning Lynne!

  10. What a great idea Cindy. I love the color you chose to paint the ladder. Pinned multiple images!

    1. You’re the best!! Thanks Anna!

    1. It was a fun project too! Thanks for stopping by Renae!

  11. You got to love an old ladder. Love the color of it. Also, I really enjoyed the video with the flip ladder. Loved the custom color.

    1. Thanks for watching the video for the flip ladder my friend! 🥰

  12. So many tips to upcycle! I can’t believe you got it for a buck! I love the end project. Thanks for sharing!

    1. The projects that cost the least are always fun! Thanks for stopping by Kim 😊

  13. I absolutely love this cute plant stand!!! Old ladders are one of my favorite things, and you made this one so cute!

    1. Aren’t ladders great?? So glad you stopped by Danielle😊

  14. Makes me wish I had my mom’s old red one we used in the kitchen, for painting rooms, etc

    1. I bet that was an awesome ladder if it was red! It’s hard to think about all the treasures we have let get by us but at least we have the memories. Thanks for stopping by Linda! 😊

  15. I am glad you were able to find the color match! It is unique and so cheerful. You’re so creative 🙂

  16. Rachel - Tea and Forget-me-nots says:

    The green and plant combo is just perfect!

    1. Isn’t the green so pretty? Thanks for stopping by 😊

    1. Thanks Marieza! The green is becoming one of my faves!

  17. Great job Cindy. This turned out to be the perfect place for your plants.

    1. Isn’t it perfect for plants? Thanks for stopping by Janet!😊

  18. I absolutely love this upcycled step ladder, Cindy! I found a wooden step ladder a bit taller than yours on eBay a few years ago. When I asked the price, the owner said she would swap it for a bag of coffee – what a deal! I upcycled it and still use it as a clothes hanger in our guest room. I love the colour of yours and what a clever idea to make larger steps for plants and things – love it! Pinned!

    1. That’s a great deal for a bag of coffee! And I love your idea about using it in your laundry room! Thanks for pinning 🙂

  19. Wow … love the refresh and the ladders versatility in your home. The paint color is dreamy. I admire your ability to see the potential in these old pieces. xo

    1. Thanks, Juliet – it’s fun to see past the obvious and look for another use for old pieces! 🙂

    1. Thank you! I’m excited to put it on our front porch this spring 😊

  20. the ladder turned out so cute. I love the paint color and how you repurposed it as a plant stand. What a great idea!

    1. Thanks Jen! It’s going to look nice on my front porch when the temps warm up! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  21. Janet Lorusso says:

    This is adorable for a plant stand! And it’s not just you…stuff calls to me too, though in my case it’s usually vintage dishes and tableware 🙂

  22. This is such a beautiful upcycle project, Cindy! I adore how you styled the ladder as shelves with flower pots. The photos are so well done.