18 Ways to Decorate With Shiplap
You’ve probably heard the term a million times, but what exactly is shiplap, anyway? A growing trend in decor, shiplap is a wooden board that’s commonly used outdoors on sheds and barns, and as a form of siding. Each board is milled and connects snugly with the next, creating a distinctive line between each layer. Thanks to the rise in farmhouse-inspired style, more and more designers are bringing this rustic look inside.
It isn’t hard to understand why this trend has taken off. When paired with the right accessories and furniture, shiplap looks stunning as flooring, as wall paneling, and even on the ceiling.
Decorate With Shiplap
1-Thick and Thin Paneling
From wide to slim (and everything in between), shiplap can be cut to suit your own personal needs. This stairway uses very thin shiplap boards to add texture while maintaining a minimalist and modern look. Minimalism is a great way to make a statement without overpowering a space, and shiplap really helps make the look feel more polished.
2-Use It in Every Room
Though it takes a bit more thought and preparation to install shiplap in the bathroom than it does in other rooms; this stunning, airy bathroom is proof that it’s worth the extra steps. You’ll want to ensure the planks are treated against moisture before you attempt this look—but if you’re tired of tile, shiplap is a unique alternative.
3-Create a Shiplap Headboard
Your headboard is the focal point of your bedroom, and shiplap forms the basis of a rustic yet refined look that can be done on a weekend. This DIY headboard looks like it cost hundreds of dollars at a high-end store, and the built-in nightstands and ledge for knickknacks help create a cozy, snug space.
4-Open up Your Dining Room
This mid-century-style dining room is the perfect mix of vintage and modern. We love the arched doorways paired with a shiplap wall, which lends a lot of texture to space. The only thing left is to decide on the perfect dining room table.
5-Try Dark Shiplap
Though white shiplap tends to be the most popular choice, it’s not the only option. This moody, nautical bedroom is a wonderful example of how dark shiplap can create a focal point in a room and act as an anchor for the rest of the decor.
RELATED: 16 Living Rooms With Accent Walls
6-Wall to Ceiling Shiplap
This cozy farmhouse kitchen is giving us all the shiplap feels. Picking the same pattern for walls and ceilings can help define a space and point one’s focus toward the room’s furnishings. You can even switch up the colors on the shiplap to make a room feel bigger or smaller.
7-Outfit a Nursery
This adorable kids’ room is the perfect inspiration for your next nursery or children’s room update. Whether you want to give your kids’ room a modern nursery makeover or keep it traditional, shiplap is a neutral material that blends with any interior design style.
8-Open a Hallway
Vertical lines help draw the eye forward and make a room feel taller. This hallway look uses a shiplap ceiling to make a narrow hallway feel wider and more spacious. Copy this look in small dens, patios, or anywhere you want to add visual texture and create a more open look.
One of our favorite places to use shiplap is over the fireplace. As seen in this living room adding shiplap helps draw the eye forward and create a focal point for your living room. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper to use than a brick!
10-A Shiplapped Shower
Here’s another shiplap bathroom idea that utilizes the paneling—only in the shower. If you’re sick of standard bathroom tile, you can opt to try a shiplap material called AZEK. With a little patience and water-tight installation, she gave her space a unique and nautical feel we love. As with any white shower, you’ll want to take steps to keep it clean to maintain a fresh look.
11-A Stunning Entryway
Whether you have a small foyer or you have room to play with, shiplap can help create dedicated spaces and visual interest in your entryway. We love this super-organized shiplap entryway. Creating a welcoming space like this one in your mudroom or entryway always offers a warm welcome after a long day.
12-Create a Barn Door
As seen in this stunning hallway barn door even better when you add a little shiplap. It’s an incredibly easy DIY that costs under $100 but adds so much character to space.
13-The Perfect Reading Nook
There are few things in life we love more than a perfectly decorated reading nook. Line a nook with shiplap did here. It instantly feels segmented and special, a great way to add dedicated space for a reading nook or a corner “office” in a larger space.
14-A Hip Headboard
This friendly bedroom is another way to add a bit of shiplap without filling the entire space. You can even DIY this look by affixing thin strips of plywood to an old headboard.
15-A Rustic Bathroom
One of the best things about shiplap is that it doesn’t have to look polished to look good. This hunter-green bathroom is proof that a matte shiplap can give off a vintage feel without feeling too stuffy or overly polished. Plus, horizontal lines help this small bathroom feel even bigger.
16-Keep It Natural
This open concept living room uses just a sprinkling of rustic shiplap to help create a separate space and set a decor palate for the rest of the room. If whitewashed shiplap isn’t your thing, you can stain it with any natural wood color to add rustic charm.
17-Mix and Match Textures
This farmhouse-inspired kitchen utilizes both shiplap and white brick to pull the whole look together. We love that the horizontal lines are woven throughout the kitchen island and behind and above the stove. Keeping the same color palette is a great way to mix and match textures without the style feeling disjointed.
18-Try a Unique Pattern
Who says you need to be conventional? One look at this uniquely beautiful sitting room makes us want to lay chevron shiplap in every room. This pattern also works well above a fireplace or inlaid directly on stairs.
Shiplap Guide And Tips
From feature walls to furniture, shiplap has become the must-have decorating material for fans of modern farmhouse style (and beyond). But what exactly is this material? Below we answer that burning question and so much more.
“Genuine shiplap is a specific type of wood plank used to create exterior siding for barns, sheds, and historic houses,” says John Mochelle, a New York City architect. “What makes shiplap; shiplap is how each plank is prepped for installation. The cut pieces, which are typically installed horizontally, have grooves that allow each plank to overlap and neatly fit together. The overlapping effect creates an interlocking system called tongue and groove, which serves two purposes. First, it creates a seal that offers weather protection. Second, it allows the lumber to contract and expand throughout the seasons as humidity changes, so the wood is less prone to buckling and cracking.” “In fact,” adds Mochelle, “shiplap got its start as a shipbuilding material during the Viking age.”
The process is referred to as Clinker construction. It is a method of building boats where the overlapping wood boards covering the hull keep water. Unfortunately, any type of protective exterior made of natural wood requires lots of upkeep. Eventually, shiplap fell out of favor as siding made of more weather-resistant materials became available. But back in the day shiplap was not only used as an exterior material.
“Before Sheetrock was a thing, shiplap boards were also used to create a solid flat surface between a home’s frame and interior wall,” says Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza, the brand editor at House Method. “Chances are if you remove the plaster walls in any house built before the early 20th century, you will discover shiplap.”
The Best Wood for Shiplap
“It depends on use,” says interior designer Tara Polony, based in Dallas Texas. “When it comes to water resistance (think bathroom walls), cedar works best. But if moisture is not an issue, you can make shiplap planks out of cheap, pine wood.”
Decorating With Shiplap
What makes shiplap, so incredibly popular these days is the rise of modern farmhouse style, which is driving demand for reclaimed wood interiors. Walls like these add character to homes—particularly to newly constructed spaces that lack decorative flourishes like crown molding found in many older houses.
“Many homeowners are willing to spend a small fortune for a feature wall made of authentic, reclaimed shiplap. For some people, the more weathered, the better,” adds Mochelle.
“The thing is,” he continues, “many of the spanking new shiplap clad interiors you see on TV or Pinterest are shiplap inspired and not the real thing. Whether a wall is covered with new or old wood, if the boards do not have that groove for overlapping, it is technically not shiplap. But at the end of the day, who really cares if your walls look great?”
In addition to just looking good, shiplap can make up for a room’s shortcoming according to Calista Munnell from Calista Interiors based in Seattle, Washington.
“Shiplap is a beautiful material that has a variety of appealing uses in a home. In addition to general aesthetic applications, it can be used to counteract awkward spatial relationships. For example, in a space with low ceiling height, shiplap boards installed vertically on a wall will draw the eye upward, giving the illusion of a higher ceiling. Similarly, shiplap can be mounted horizontally to visually widen a space.”
“You do not need years of carpentry experience to panel a wall in shiplap,” says Polony. If you have basic do-it-yourself skills, it is a fairly doable project especially if you skip making the grooves and just line up straight planks together either horizontally or vertically.”
Even better, you can use any kind of lumber you wish. Nikki Stephens, the crafty blogger behind Mommy My Way reaches for run-of-the-mill-plywood from her local home improvement store. She offers the following advice.
“If you want to avoid removing baseboard to cover an entire wall, you can use 1/4″ inch plywood boards that you can cut into planks. It’s a great material to use that will keep costs down.”
But what about pre-cut shiplap or reclaimed wood options made for quick installation? Mochelle cautions that products like these can get really pricey. “You can find precut shiplap at big box stores like Home Depot but a package of six boards measuring eight feet wide costs more than $120. Also, boards like these do not offer much room for error because they can be difficult to trim.”
Peel and Stick Shiplap Products
However, if you are willing to pay more for a shiplap solution that is reasonably simple to self-install, there are plenty of peel and stick options available.
Stikwood, Vintawood, Timber Chic, and Wall Planks are companies that sell genuine lightweight wood panels that easily attach to any clean, flat surface. The best part? A few of these options are insanely easy to cut to size using a handsaw instead of a power tool because the planks are very thin—the average thickness is 3/16.
A representative from Vintawood says if you do not have a saw handy, a sharp box knife, and a straight edge will get the job done. To do this, you will need to score the plank by running the blade across the wood several times. Then you will be able to snap the board along the scored line.
How to Avoid a DIY Shiplap Fail
What’s the biggest rookie mistake you can make when building your own shiplap wall using real wood? Whether you use peel and stick panels, precut shiplap siding, or plan to cut planks from sheets of wood; do not forget to let the lumber rest.
“Wood needs time to acclimate to its new environment before installing. The process should last at the very least 48 to 72 hours,” Mochelle says. During the period of acclimation, lumber must be kept in a room with normal indoor living conditions relating to both temperature and humidity. For the best results, keep the lumber in the same place where you plan to install it.
“A common mistake many unseasoned DIYers make is to allow the wood to acclimate in the wrong space where temperatures are not regulated like an unfinished basement, garage, or porch,” adds Mochelle. Also, it is a good idea to check with the manufacturer’s recommendations for acclimation if you are working with precut planks. Lumber should be kept flat, not upright, on an even clean surface during the acclimation period. Some manufacturers may also suggest keeping the wood in its packaging.
Lastly, before installing your shiplap wall, prepare the surface you are covering with a good cleaning. In most cases, a damp rag will do the trick. After wiping away dust and debris allow the wall to completely dry.