Happy Tuesday!

Whew, the last few weeks have been a doozy!

… an emergency trip out of town to see my Dad, a 93-year old WWII veteran, who fell ill (and much to our amazement, rallied back! 🙏).

… my husband’s total hip replacement surgery – with complications, of course. 😬

The Ugly Home Office Makeover took the backseat until a couple of Sundays ago, when I found a few hours to build this simple (and ridiculously inexpensive!) blanket ladder.

Blanket Ladder

This was a super simple and inexpensive project and I’m pleased as punch with the results! 💕

DIY Blanket Ladder – The Inspiration

I’ve been admiring all of the cute Pinterest-y blanket ladders out there for a while, and had decided some time ago that a ladder would be a perfect accessory for my made-over office.

Decorative ladders are incredibly versatile.

They’re are a great way to…

  • 🌿 Add texture to your space with blankets and throws
  • 🌿 Bring the outdoors in with live plants (faux plants work too! ) 
  • 🌿 Display your favorite books and trinkets.  

They can be leaned against a wall OR hung horizontally.  So many possibilities!

The Project

Of course, the blanket ladder project started with a trip to – where else? – The Home Depot.

For the sides of the ladder, I needed two 1″ x 4″ x 8′ boards, cut down to 7 feet (you see 4 here because I bought extras to make a ladder for my daughter’s room 😊).

Each board was $4.58, for a total of $9.16 for the sides.

For the rungs, I used the same 74¢ balusters that I used for the legs of my DIY File Cabinet Desk.

I wanted five 18″ rungs on the ladder.  So in theory, that meant that I just needed to have the 36″ balusters cut in half.

Except 36″ doesn’t necessarily mean exactly 36″. 😛  As you can see here.  All different lengths.

Since it really didn’t matter to me if the rungs were exactly 18″ – the important thing is that they are equal in length – I lined up a bunch of balusters until I found 5 of the same length, then had them cut in half.

I originally purchased 5 balusters, cut into 10 pieces, because I was planning to make 2 ladders, but later found out that the extras would come in handy in assembling the ladder.  More to come on that… 

Back in my workshop garage, I laid out all the cut boards to make sure everything lined up properly.

I spaced the rungs every 14″.

After making sure everything looked good, it was time to distress, sand and stain.

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’re probably familiar with my distressing tools of choice.  Some favorite techniques are…

.. creating gouges by pressing a screwdriver into the wood and dragging it.

… drilling holes in the wood with drill bits of different sizes.

… holding the drill at an angle and letting it “skip” across the wood, creating a “zipper” effect.

Basically, I just try different stuff to see what’ll happen! 😋

From my previous posts, you’re probably familiar with Sandy, my “handy” DeWalt Palm Sander (yes, she now has a name 😝).

After distressing, I put Sandy to work with 220-grit paper, sanding the wood to a fine finish.

I always round off the edges – nothing screams “New!!” like straight edges.

After sanding, I like to use a paintbrush to brush off the excess sawdust, then follow up with a tack cloth or damp cloth to wipe off any remaining residue.

Once everything was distressed and sanded, it was time to stain – always my favorite part!

I pulled out the can of Special Walnut that I used for the DIY Industrial Shelving in Part 7.

BTW, If you don’t save old yogurt and sour cream tubs, START!!  They’re perfect for these types of projects.  And be sure to save the lids!

Tip: when pouring stain (or paint), place everything inside a box to do the pouring.  It keeps your mess contained and when you’re done, just put all your trash in the box and toss it.  👏🏻

Here’s the first board after applying the stain.  I just did one coat since that’s really all it needed to achieve the look I wanted.

See how the stain highlights the distress marks???

Pretty, pretty!! 🌷

Remember how I said the extra balusters came in handy?

Well, I ended up using the extras to position the rungs vertically and keep them in place while I drilled the screws through the sides and into the ends of the rungs.

The beauty of doing it this way is that there’s no measuring required!!  🙌

Before attaching the rungs to the sides of the ladder with wood screws, I drilled pilot holes in the side pieces using a 1/8″ drill bit.

Pilot holes are just small holes that you drill into the wood before inserting a screw.  They make it easier to drill the screw into the wood AND reduce the chance that your wood will split.  BoltDepot.com has a handy guide on wood screw pilot hole sizes.  

After drilling the pilot holes, I inserted the wood screws (#10, 1 3/4″).

See these little fallen soldiers???  😕  I usually run in to at least one or two obstacles with every project – this one was no different!

When I drilled the pilot holes, I only drilled them in to the sides of the ladder, but didn’t go all the way through into the ends of the rungs.

So the screwheads kept stripping when the screws hit the rungs.  ARGH!!  😣

Clearly, I was a bit of a slow study, because I destroyed 5 of these guys before I realized what I was doing wrong.  Sorry fellas!!

But once I drilled the pilot holes through the sides AND as far into the rungs as I could go – voila!  The screws went in like a knife through butter! 🙌

Here’s the ladder with the rungs attached to one side.

To finish assembling the ladder, I placed the finished side against the wall and attached the other side to the rungs, again using the extra balusters to hold the rungs in place while I drilled.

Since I didn’t paint the screw heads before drilling them into the sides of the ladder, I just sprayed some of this Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint onto a paper plate…

… and using a small paint brush, painted the screws.

Much better! 💕

And that’s it!  A super easy Sunday afternoon DIY project.

Don’t you love that old milk can?  That’s a find from my mom and dad’s barn in Tennessee! 🙌

The Budget

After spending a whopping $195 😳 on the DIY Industrial Shelving from Part 7 of the makeover, this week was a drop in the bucket.

Not counting stain, paint and screws that I had on hand, the total cost of materials for this week was $11.01!

At this point, I’m basically at the $500 mark – my entire budget –  and that doesn’t include what I’ve spent on accessories.

I’ll tally everything up in my final post of the series, but suffice it to say – it will be slightly above $500!

Materials Used

  • (2) 1″ x 4″ x 8′ boards, cut to 7′
  • (3) 2″ x 2″ x 36″ balusters, cut in half (make sure your balusters are equal lengths)
  • Minwax Special Walnut Stain
  • (10) 1 3/4″ #10 Wood Screws
  • Rust-Oleum Universal Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint
  • Small Paint Brush (for painting screw heads)
  • Lint-free rags (for staining)
  • Yogurt container (for staining)

Tools Required

  • Drill/Screwdriver (for attaching rungs to sides of ladder)
  • Various distressing tools (hammer, saw, screwdriver)

What’s Next

As the Ugly Home Office Makeover winds down, I’m planning to do a few other small projects for Part 8, so there may be a Part 8 (b) and (c) before The Big Reveal.

I have a few ideas in the hopper – either a refinished bench for the bay window area OR I may end up building a bench if I can’t find one to refinish.

And the final touch –  some DIY Wall Decor for the wall where the ladder now lives.  Suggestions welcome!

  • PART 1: Intro
  • PART 2: Design Layout and Select Color Palette for Walls, Furniture and Accessories
  • PART 3: Paint Walls
  • PART 4: Install and Paint Shiplap Accent Wall
  • PART 5: Build and Install Desk
  • PART 6: Refinish “Printer Stand” Dresser
  • PART 7: Build and Hang Industrial Shelving
  • PART 8: Add Accessories and Wall Decor – Blanket Ladder
  • PART 8(b): Add Accessories and Wall Decor – Bench
  • PART 8(c): Add Accessories and Wall Decor – Wall Decor
  • PART 9: Wrap-up and Big Reveal

I’m excited to announce that we do have a HOMPOW (Home Office Makeover Prize of the Week) winner this week!! 🙌

This week’s winner is…

Congratulations Jim, and thanks for your comment on the Part 7 post!!!

For the upcoming week’s contest, just leave a comment below on anything in this post and YOU will qualify to win a…

$25 Home Depot Gift Card

(Winner announced next week in the Part 8(b) post)

And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to receive blog updates and notifications about our One Day Flash Sales, as well as a 15% off coupon code for our beautiful cup drawer pulls, sold exclusively on Amazon and Prime Eligible!



5 thoughts on “Ugly Home Office Makeover – Part 8(a): The Simple DIY Blanket Ladder”

  1. I almost bought one of these ladders this weekend and let’s just say they were way more than $11. Thanks for the great pics and steps! (I already one a gcard (thank you) so please let someone else win but wanted to let you know how much I appreciated this post).

    1. Aww, thanks for the kind words Katie! This is such a simple project – definitely worth $11 and a little time!

  2. It turned out great Julie and so inexpensive!
    My family back in NJ seem to love the old milk containers too; but they’re in the habit of painting them. I like the texture of the “real” thing better.

    1. Thank you Judi 🙂 My first thought was to paint the milk can too – but then I decided I liked it “as is”!

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