Julianne Hough's library-inspired kitchen cabinets are chic and practical thanks to this unexpected accessory

The Footloose actress utilizes a ladder to access her high cabinets, ensuring prime access to excess storage in a stylish and safe manner

(Image credit: Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

For some, when there are kitchen cabinets that are out of reach, their innards are typically items that don't often see the light of day due to restricted access. It's a shame, really, as having extra vertical storage is a hot commodity, particularly in small kitchens. A solution takes inspiration from a completely different public space: the library.

The ladders that are traditionally used to reach impossibly high shelves can actually be a practical (and, depending on the ladder's finish, chic) addition to a kitchen via high, vertical cabinets.

We're taking cues from Julianne Hough for kitchen ladders. In a recent Instagram post, the dancer and actor showed off her blue, glass-fronted kitchen cabinets, with a rail-secured ladder flanking the unit. Its safety features are just as admirable as its uniformity.

Here at H&G, we are big fans of maximizing storage space, and we are increasingly seeing more homeowners implementing creative solutions to take advantage of all storage options.

'I would highly encourage anyone with high ceilings in their kitchen to consider installing vertical cabinets,' Homes & Gardens' editor Jennifer Ebert states. 'The additional storage space reduces clutter, contributing to an overall tidier kitchen that will also be easier to maintain.'

With vertical cabinet storage comes some strategic planning. As much as cabinet design is considered, so too should we consider what exactly we are storing in the cabinets.

'Place items that you don't use every day in the higher shelves, and the ones you do use on the daily within easy reach,' Ebert suggests. 'While installing a ladder can make reaching high shelves more accessible, it's still not ideal to store highly-used items and appliances on the top shelf.'

Another consideration is the tool that is used to reach the high cabinets. While Hough's ladder is fantastic for her space (and any other particularly high cabinets), other ladders may be more suitable for different layouts.

'If your cabinets are just out of reach and not extremely high, like Hough's, you might want to consider purchasing a step stool rather than a ladder,' Ebert says. 'Ladders should really only be used for significantly high shelves where they are required; otherwise, they take up quite a bit of space and may not work in a smaller kitchen.'

Below, find a selection of both ladders and step stools to suit different kitchens.

Hough's space-saving idea draws influence from an unexpected space (the library), but there's lots more inspiration to be had from other spaces. Recently, we also love the idea of wall-mounted shelves, a versatile addition that serves as display areas for decor, books, and storage bins. We can choose floating shelves for a minimalist look or bracket shelves to make things even more practical.

Hannah Ziegler
News Editor

Hannah is Homes & Gardens’ News Editor, with a focus on celebrity style and entertainment content. She got her start in media as a digital editorial assistant at ELLE Canada, and has since written about lifestyle and culture for publications such as Nylon and i-D.

Her love of film is rivalled only by one with a great soundtrack, and she hopes to someday decorate a Nancy Meyers-worthy kitchen.