31/08/2010 09:59 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Bright Idea: New Uses For An Old Ladder

uses for old ladders as decor Photos: Charles Walton IV for Southern Living/Deborah Ory for Woman's Day

Take an old ladder to new heights with these clever DIY ideas

It's a fairly safe bet that you have an old ladder in your garage or loft. You know the one, covered in old paint with the wobbly leg. Destined for the dump, right? Wrong! You can reuse that old ladder in many different ways that won't put your safety at risk. Here are a few fun ways to recycle your old ladders and put them to good use around the house, without breaking the bank.

First, clean the dirt off your ladder and scrape or sand off the old paint unless you're going for that shabby chic look. Tighten up that wobbly leg and you're ready to transform it into one of the inspiring ideas below:

1. Bookshelf
You've seen ladder-shaped bookshelves, right? Well, obviously, they were inspired by the real thing. You can use an old ladder as a bookshelf and save yourself a lot of cash while still getting the same look.

2. Pot rack
How fun is this idea? Just take an old ladder and place it on its side, fix it to the ceiling and use it to hang your pots and pans!

old ladder as a towel rack Do these photos inspire you to dig up your old ladder? Photos: This Old House/Living, Etc

3. Towel rack
You know those ladder towel racks that cost upwards of £50? Why not use your old ladder instead and save that money for some new bath salts or a towel upgrade?

reuse an old ladder An instant purse rack! Photo: Holly Becker, decor8

4. Plant stand
You can actually buy ladder plant stands, but why spend your hard earned money when you have a free one collecting dust?

5. Closet organizer
Ladies, do you want somewhere to hang or rest your purse collection? What about sweaters, or maybe you need somewhere to hang your pants or rest your shoes? An old ladder in the closet is a great place to organize your clothing and accessories.

6. Bed-side table
If your ladder has flat rungs that are like small shelves, like a step ladder, you can use it as a bedside table. Simply place the ladder next to the bed and use the rungs to keep your alarm clock, books or magazines and phone close to hand.

7. Instant art
Hang an old ladder on the wall as art! Paint it a fun color to match or clash with your room, or cover it with family memorabilia such as old photos or children's toys and use it as a wall display.