What are Leaning Shelves?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mary Ellen Popolo
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Google recognizes a unit of measure called a smoot, which is equal to 5'7", the height of MIT alum Oliver Smoot.  more...

November 15 ,  1867 :  The world's first stock ticker debuted in New York City.  more...

Leaning shelves, which are also called ladder shelves, are free standing shelving units that lean against a wall. They usually have four or five shelves that are different sizes. The top shelf is the narrowest of the shelves, and the shelves become progressively wider as they descend to the bottom shelf, which is the widest. The overall appearance of leaning shelves is that of a ladder leaning against the wall.

Leaning shelves are both decorative and functional. They can be used as book shelves or for showing off figurines, photos, or CDs and DVDs. One leaning tower shelf can be used to accent a room or multiple shelves can be lined up side by side to create an entire wall of shelving to create a focal point for a room.

There are many different styles of leaning shelves, and they come in a variety of heights and widths. They can be made of solid wood or have wood veneers with wood look finishes, like walnut or oak, as well as painted finishes with colors such as chocolate brown, black and white. Some styles have only one rail that supports the shelves, and the entire unit is supported by the wall it leans against. Another type looks more like an A-frame ladder, having two side rails that hold the shelving. This type of ladder shelving can be free-standing.


Since they are so versatile, these shelves can be used in almost any room. In the kitchen they can keep cookbooks, canisters and mixing bowls handy, while providing additional storage for towels and other products in a bathroom. Family photos and knick knacks can be displayed on shelves in a bedroom, and in children's rooms, they can be used to house toys, stuffed animals, and books.

When choosing leaning shelves for a home, the room they will be displayed in should be considered. The finish and color should match or complement the existing furniture in the room. It is important to measure the space where the shelves will be displayed to ensure a proper fit.

Pricing for ladder shelves varies, depending upon several factors, including the size of the shelving unit and whether it is made of solid wood or a wood veneer. Leaning shelves can be found in department stores, furniture stores and stores that sell decorative furniture and accent pieces. Some assembly may be required, and in some instances, leaning shelves need to be anchored to the wall for support.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 4

My music and movie collection found a new home on a ladder shelf, and I was able to declutter my entertainment center. I had to buy three shelves and stack them side by side to accommodate my entire collection, and I might add more shelves in the future.

I have a lot of audio cassette tapes, and I put these on the smallest shelves on the top tiers. I put my CDs on the next level, and then I stored my DVDs beneath those.

I also have quite a few video cassette tapes. Since these are the largest items, I put them on the lowest, largest shelves. The design of the ladder shelf really worked perfectly for this storage project.

Post 3

@StarJo – I also have a leaning shelf with raised edges. I don't collect anything, but I do use all of the five tiers on the unit for storing my art supplies.

I started out just using plastic tubs and tackle boxes, but my supply inventory grew, and I needed a way to conveniently access my tools. Having all my brushes, paints, and other materials in such a handy location motivates me to do more painting.

The raised edges keep my brushes and pencils from falling off, and I can scoop them up easily by rolling them against the edges and putting my fingernails underneath them. This is much easier than lifting a brush off a flat shelf.

I have so many inks, knives, charcoals, pastels, and other items that were formerly sitting at the bottom of a tub. Now, I don't have to dig to find them. I can give each shelf a theme, so I know where each category of items is.

Post 2

My sister has the coolest leaning bookshelf in her living room. It has one row of ladder-style shelving down the center and two half-rows on either side.

The half-rows end just above shelves designed to be used as desks. She can plop her laptop right down and go to work, and she can easily reach up to the bookshelf to retrieve any reference material she needs while writing.

This leaning bookshelf didn't come cheap. It cost her around $400, but because of its unique and efficient design, I think it was worth it. She certainly uses it enough to justify what she paid for it.

Post 1

My friend's seashell collection had grown so large that she decided to get some extra shelving to display it. She bought a leaning shelf that looks like a ladder.

The sides and back are open, and just like a ladder, it has two rails up the sides. What makes this shelving unit good for storing seashells is the raised lip all around each shelf. The little shells cannot slide off, and even if she bumps into the shelf with a vacuum cleaner, her items should remain securely in place.

I think this type of shelf is so unique and visually interesting. It appeals to me a lot more than a typical straight-backed shelving unit made of solid pieces.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?