Number of products we looked into
Number of experts we consulted
Number of picks we made
What you’ll see
This guide on blanket ladders is envisioned to be a one-stop-shop for all information you’ll ever need to get top value for your money.
It took about 10 months & 4,000 work hours to complete. Writing a general guide with shopping tips is not a big deal, but the specific recommendations you’ll see called for outside help.
Why we had to talk to experts
It’s because some quality aspects were out to our area of expertise. So, we talked to 8 experts. Most of them specialize in quality of materials used – from wood to metal.
In terms of design, we relied on the knowledge of one of our own – Katia Dadzis. Before joining us full-time, Katia was an award-winning interior decorator.
So, when two products of similar type (typically wooden rustic), it was her opinion that was the deciding factor.
Results you’ll ee below are a combination of a few factors: the expertise of our woodworking consultants, statistical modeling of user satisfaction with the products and a touch of our experience in the industry.
Blanket ladder – our top 5 picks
The Original Sula – top-rated overall
If you’re into interior design, you might already know that the Sula Stand was featured in one of the issues on the Architectural Digest Magazine.
When choosing a blanket ladder there’s a few quality aspects to think of. We’d group them into 2 main categories: style and practicality.
The Sula is at the sweet spot
Stylish enough to work well with the range of space styles – from antique to modern and yet practical enough to eliminate any concerns that come with daily use.
It’s easy to see stylish pictures from a photo shoot and think,”I want that.”
But daily use is a different story altogether, especially if you go with wood.
So, if you’re looking for a piece to use for years to come without sacrificing style and appearance the Original Sula Stand is, in our opinion, the obvious choice.
The Sula stand does cost more compared to any other item on this list, but it doesn’t cost as much in some of the ladders you might see in a Pottery Barn catalogue.
Our analysis here might read “teleshopy,” so, in case you’re wondering (which you probably are) let us just stress that we received no free products when compiling this guide.
We seem to find the Sula to be the best-rounded stand/ladder.
You can do your own reading and see some more first-hand experiences from the owners by following the two links below.
White rustic blanket ladder by BarnwoodUSA – top decorative choice
BarnwoodUSA was not in the top three when it comes to user satisfaction statistics, but it’s still our top pick in three consecutive updates.
We gave this fact some thought over the past few months and analyzed the feedback.
The conclusion we reached is that most people who weren’t satisfied after spending money in this product talked about the craftsmanship and the fact that it is a peg more expensive than other similar products.
What this means for you
It means that you should be aware of what you’re buying if you do go with this piece. It’s right there in the name – this is a rustic blanket ladder and the wood does look distressed and unfinished.
Why we chose it as the top rustic piece
Because it does exactly what it’s meant to do and does it well.
The part that was especially important here is the fact that it comes in three sizes in six colors, which means there’s little chance of ending up with a piece that doesn’t work with your space.
To be subjective for a second, our favorites (color-wise) are the white, black and turquoise.
These three alone cover any “feel” you’re going for – the rustic white and black will complement pretty much any room style, while the turquoise makes for a great accent piece.
What this means for you
It means that if you’re looking for a product to be used daily, you’re probably better off with some of the products further down this list.
To be precise – if you own a wool blanket and you’re using it daily, you’ll want a smoother finish with zero splinters. On the other hand, if you are primarily looking for a decorative piece, you’ll love this Barnwood.
Is there are still questions in your mind about the kind product this is, you can see them all answered by following one of the two links below.
When all said and done, there’s no better source of answers than those coming from owners.
Yamazaki Tower metal ladder – most practical
Among metal blanket ladders, our choice is the Yamazaki home Tower.
We wouldn’t expect anything less from a piece designed in Japan.
In the category of daily use we looked at 14 products and 3 of them stood out – this Yamazaki, the Umbra Freestanding Adjustable & Master Garden Bamboo.
Metal vs. wood
The smooth finish of the Yamazaki eliminates any issues regarding blanket wear and tear; the minimalist retro design is still stylish. It comes with six thin steps (one more than any of the products we listed here).
If you combine the thin six-step design with the generous width (close to 18 inches) you get what’s probably the highest capacity and versatility item here, comparable only to the Umbra Freestanding.
Who will choose it?
The Yamazaki Tower is an obvious choice if longevity is any kind of a factor for you. It’s only natural because it’s the only ladder here that’s top-to-bottom steel.
With user satisfaction of over 90% (people who gave it either four or five stars) put it in the top 3% off ladders we looked at.
You can see what people like or dislike about the Yamazaki by following the links below.
Umbra Freestanding – most versatile
The umbra is a whole different “beast” compared to any of the products on the list. We found it to be most versatile for two reasons:
- The width is adjustable (in the range between 16-24 “)
- The protruding steps on one side of the ladder offer some extra space for hanging towels or throws.
Along with the Yamazaki Tower, the Umbra is one of the two pieces on the list with the modern design (versus the rustics).
Our rating: 88/100
Our top pick among Bamboo ladders
If you like bamboo look, there is one piece we found that meets the quality standards.
It comes from Master Garden and stands at 60 inches high and it’s primarily designed for towels.
However, it’s wider than most solid wood or metal blanket ladders – 16 inches wide.
In our research, we found that four out of five people were satisfied with the product they received and those who weren’t primarily talked about the imperfections in the making.
So, be aware that the bamboo doesn’t look as confectionery, run-of-the-mill perfectly finished ladders you might find in your local IKEA.
It’s not meant to be perfect
Those who know bamboo will know that this type (Calcutta or Tam Wong) is used when you want a piece that looks like it’s a present from your friend who just came back from traveling the Orient.
Our rating: 88/100
Rustic Decor – runner-up in the “decorative” category
If you’re aiming for a minimal Barnwood or antique look, this might be your choice. Rustic Decor makes these from reclaimed wood and they look and feel primitive – that’s why we’re labeling them as “decorative.”
It’s rugged, unfinished with all the knots and splinters still there. This means it’s not the best idea to use it as storage ladders for your expenses blankets.
Value for money
With that said, dollar for dollar, this is probably top value for money. Further down in this guide we explored the options you have if you want to make the ladders on your own.
Unless you have all the materials at hand, looking at the price of this slice of style will probably get you to think twice about whether it’s worth making one of your own.
Our top “primitive” pick – authentic weathered display by Barnwood Decor
If you’re looking for a piece that looks like it’s been washed ashore, this 4-inch high weathered wood ladder might be your choice.
It’s right there in the name, this is primarily a decorative display piece and it’s too distressed and unfinished to be used daily. You can see the knots and nail holes even in the image.
They do look rustically charming but, make no mistake; daily use would take a toll on your blankets or throws.
The good part is that, for a decorative piece, it’s surprisingly sturdy and well made.
Reference info, DIY and more
DIY blanket ladder
Although getting a nice set of blanket ladders at IKEA, on Amazon, Walmart or Target is fairly cheap, you can always go down the DIY route just because it’s fun.
On the other hand, you might have taken a look at the latest Pottery Barn catalog or a handmade piece on Etsy and your heart skipped a beat…they can be quite pricey.
The prices range anywhere from a few dozen dollars (all the leaders we listed are available on Amazon and belong to the lower price range) up to a few hundreds (we’ve seen some expense pieces in the Pottery Barn catalogs).
Whether you can relate to the former or a latter scenario, the DIY version is probably going to save you some money and cost you some time.
They do look simple enough to make, deceivingly simple even, but weight making one yourself does require a bit of experience in woodworking… especially to make a piece that will last.
How to make a blanket ladder
As we said, for a person experienced in woodworking, the project can be very simple and cheap. We looked at what’s available out there, compared DIY sources and prices of the supplies and reached a conclusion that you can make on the cheap. The advantage here is that you can customize the end result to fit your needs. The important part here is the width and depth of the steps – choose one that will be just right for the blankets you have. On the other hand, if you’re making a decorative piece, you can plant whole thing ahead and choose the decorative throws or blankets just for this purpose.
How to make it – the supplies
Here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- 17-18 ft. of wood – we’d go with two 2x2 ” boards – each of them 8-9 ft. long. Thicker wood pieces like this would be easier to work with (in terms of the assembly)
- Wood screws – the number here will be and how many steps you want. For the purposes of this guide, let’s say that you’re making a 4-step ladder – this would require eight screws. In terms of size, ½ “screws will do just fine.
- Wood finish for staining – you can always go with a completely unfinished look; this is an option for decorative ladders that want be used on daily basis. But if you want to make ladders that you’ll actually use or you want to specific color (rustic wood or white will work well with most spaces) we would advise using some type of wood finish.
- Clear coating for the finish – this will prevent any color from getting on your blankets or splits damaging them.
The first step would be to cut the boards – 5 feet for each of them is a good size
- If you do go with 5 feet, after step one will be left with two 3 feet boards (36 inches) – this allows you to choose the width of 4 steps to be between 14 and 16 inches.
- Before you use the screws, measure the boards again by laying them on the floor. Make sure that everything fits precisely.
- Distance between the steps – measuring from the top, place the first step at about 5 to 6 inches. A good rule of thumb some for the distance between the steps is 11-13 inches. This will leave some more space between the bottom step and the floor and that’s what we’re aiming for. Otherwise, the bottom step would be unusable for most standard sizes of blankets and throws- precision when measuring and getting the wholes is crucial – we don’t want crooked ladders now, do we?
- Use the screws to put it all together
- Apply the wood finish and coating that you chose
Voila, after a day of drying the finish, you’ll have a modern or antique-style storage piece, the pride making it yourself and the few extra dollars in your wallet. We found some more precise tutorials and DIY plans on Shanty 2 Shic and Ana White.
The caveats of choosing
Ultimately, your choice should depend on the type of blanket you want to hang on the ladder.
In practical terms, it comes down to the friction between the two surfaces. Distressed, rustic wood with no finish might prove to be too much for sensitive materials like wool. Simply put, and fibers will catch the splinters and even if you don’t pull out a thread, you’ll probably soon see some wear.
If this is your scenario, you’re better off with a fine finish.
Flat steps vs. round dowels
The first step should probably be the deciding on the shape of the steps (no pun intended).
You can go with a wide and flat wooden steps or rounded dowels which typically see in bamboo, metal and iron.
The right way to look at things here would be a combination between the material, finish and shape of the steps.
If it’s fancy DIY project, it can be as simple as nailing peaces of pallet together.
If there’s one take away here it would be not falling into the trap of saving money on the front-end (by making it cheap) and losing it on the back-end (by damaging your blanket).
Where to buy a blanket ladder?
Most major retailers and store chains (like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Farmhouse, Pottery Barn, Wayfair, Magnolia etc.) carry a wide range of choices – from white and to black and from wood to metal.
Choosing where to buy the ladder comes down to two things – your budget and how well you can research before buying one. Get it online will give you the advantage of reading experiences of other owners.
If you want a handmade one but would like to skip the trouble of making it yourself, you can always a blanket ladder for sale on Etsy.
From what we’ve seen, 5ft and 6ft are the sweet spot when it comes to height. This size range allows for proper distancing of the steps or dowels.
For specific purposes (like baby nursery), we’d say that 5ft or smaller would be a better fit.
Ask us anything or work with us
Typically, we update this every four months to reflect any changes on the market.
As we said in the beginning, a year ago, this topic was new to us but we learned a lot since. We also have a panel of good people with expertise in the field, so we’re confident we can answer any question that pops to mind.
If we don’t know, we’ll find out. So, feel free to reach out or share your comments about our picks.
If you already own one and have thoughts to share, do come back and contact us – we can always use the contribution and firsthand experiences and we are running a yearly 1K of sleep products giveaway for all our contributors.
Don’t be a stranger,
The Sleep Studies team