12 of the Best Ladder Bookshelves Perfect for Small Spaces - Editor-Approved Styles And Materials

Ladder bookshelves are a quintessential and enduring bookshelf style for a reason — shop some of the best options on the market from our handy edit below

an illustrated collage of ladder bookshelves
(Image credit: Illustrated | Pottery Barn, Homary, West Elm, Bed Bath & Beyond)

If you know any alternative style of bookshelf, chances are it's the ladder. Aside from the traditional five-shelf silhouette, which stretches up and down in a taught straight line, the ladder is very likely the next best thing, characterized by its rung-like shelves and leaning posture. 

In the interest of continuing my round-up of the best bookshelves to buy right now, I've compiled yet another installment — the best ladder bookshelves — for you to shop and enjoy. So sit back, relax, and get ready to buy; these pieces are stylish, affordable, unique, and oh-so on-trend. You just can't go wrong!

12 of the best ladder bookshelves

Livingetc knows design. We spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, bringing only our edit of the very best to you. Find out more about how we review.

How should I style a bookshelf?

When styling her bookshelves, Stephanie Purzycki, creative director and founder at The Finish, likes to ensure all decor pieces — things like sculptures, frames, jars, candles, etc. — compliment one another with varying heights and depths. Then, "when I start to style, I take the larger items and lay them out in a triangular or diagonal pattern throughout the shelves, so your eye bounces throughout the whole thing," she told me. Afterward, "fill in with medium and smaller accessories, then add in books, both vertically and horizontally."

When it comes to accessories, always add those in odd numbers and always include greenery. And if you're debating whether or not to include something, try to focus on pieces that are "meaningful and tell a story," she went on. "Look for items at antique shops or thrift stores, shop online auctions, or look around your home. Then it becomes a conversation starter."

Style Editor

Brigid Kennedy is a Style Editor at Livingetc.com, where she is responsible for obsessively combing the internet for the best and most stylish deals on home decor and more. She was previously a story editor at TheWeek.com, where she covered both U.S. politics and culture. She describes her design style as colorful and clean, and in her free time enjoys reading, watching movies, and curating impossibly niche playlists on Spotify. She lives in New York.