14+ Tips For Incorporating Shiplap Into your Home

What Is Shiplap? Shiplap has become a very popular choice for both indoor and outdoor buildings and has been very popular for a long time in areas that suffer from harsh climates.

As of late, shiplap has been very popular for interior walls by using a high-quality wood although some people prefer the original pine for its very natural, rugged look.  It can be produced inexpensively and is relatively easy to install.

What Is Shiplap?

What Is Shiplap farmhouse entry
Houzz.com by: Alys Design

This paneling originally got its name from horizontal planks that were used on boats.  The grooves that were cut into the top and bottom of the boards produced a very tight fit to keep water out.

It was also commonly used in buildings such as barns and sheds to protect them from their harsh environments.  Shiplap is milled with a halved groove known as a rabbet.

The edges connect tightly together, one on top of the other, leaving a distinctive line between the boards for a really nice look.

Where Original Shiplap Might Be Found:

Shiplap farmhous dining room
Houzz.com by: Clayton & Little Architects

Some homeowners who live in historic homes have found shiplap siding underneath the walls of these homes. It has also been discovered under old wallpaper or drywall.

During renovation projects, if shiplap is uncovered, these planks can be carefully removed and used for interior walls.

Other prime places to possibly find shiplap is on the shutters and doors of older barns and sheds.

If renovating older buildings or homes, there is always a great possibility that these shiplap boards can be found and carefully removed from their original location and used elsewhere.

This material was very common in historic buildings because it was cheaper to install than plaster.  Many renovators have found shiplap during their projects under wallpaper and drywall.

Why Shiplap?

Shiplap contemporary exterior
Houzz.com by: Bennett Frank McCarthy Architects, Inc.

Shiplap is much easier to install than flat panels, offers a clean, nice appearance and is extremely durable.  It can be painted, stained, or left in its natural state.

It’s extremely flexible for those looking to incorporate and different look to someone’s home and can fit so many different interior themes.

Because shiplap is excellent for standing up to harsh environments and weather, it quickly became the chosen material for many exterior walls and doors of buildings.

Shiplap For Interior Walls:

Shiplap traditional staircase
Houzz.com by: Markalunas Architecture Group

Shiplap is not used in place of drywall anymore but is often installed over drywall because it’s so easy to install and provides a really warm, textured appearance that is becoming super popular. Many professional designers and those DIY projects are turning to shiplap.

While the material can be purchased in its rough form, it is also available in a very smooth surface that is perfect for painting or staining.

White shiplap has become very popular for designing projects that require a modern, minimalist look. White shiplap is very popular for those who want to create the ever so popular cottage white look.

If an illusion is more up your alley, they are many tiles and wood boards that will give you the appearance of shiplap.

There are even shiplap wallpapers available that look just like the genuine product if that’s a better alternative for you.

Say It With Paint:

Shiplap beach style powder room
Houzz.com by: Casey St. John Interiors

These panels are so flexible that whatever your do-it-yourself project might be, you will be able to easily incorporate shiplap wood into your chosen interior design.  Mix and Match and just have a great time!


Shiplap contemporary hall
Houzz.com by: Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects

Usually, the shiplap panels for staining are either pine or cedar.  Both of these woods are excellent when choosing stain vs paint.

Stained shiplap will give you a more natural, rustic appeal that can give your chosen design the exact final touch you are looking for around a fireplace, incorporated into bookshelves and the walls around them.

You can use a darker stain for a more dramatic look or a lighter stain for something brighter and softer.  Visit your local Home Depot or Lowes stores for a huge array of stains to choose from.

Shiplap Ceilings:

Shiplap beach style hall
Houzz.com by: Rethink Design Studio

For those who want their home to have a rustic, warm feeling, shiplap ceilings could be just what you are looking for!  Your ceilings will add a perfect touch to your home’s textures and works well with almost all features.

Let’s Look at Different Design Choices Using Shiplap:

Shiplap For A Country Cottage:

Shiplap traditional bedroom
houzz.com by: W Dylan Gilliam

We won’t tell. There are different methods to fake the shiplap look. One method is to mount non-shiplapped wood boards with 2-millimeter tile spacers (or even nickels), providing the illusion of shiplap exposes between the boards.

There are MDF panels, concrete boards as well as tile products that could be set up in a fashion reproducing the look of wood shiplap. There are also wallpapers marked in shiplap designs.

You can also make the shiplap one of the plans for your small bedroom ideas with a farmhouse or industrial theme.


Shiplap Modern And Sleek:

Shiplap traditional kitchen
Houzz.com by: Alair Homes Charlotte

Why not try installing shiplap in your newly designed kitchen and/or bathroom using your favorite color of paint or a soft, light stain.

Cabinets in your kitchen or bath, counters or an island, and for a bolder look on the walls of your kitchen.


Installing Shiplap:

Shiplap modern exterior
Houzz.com: Daniel Marshall Architect

Even if you are not a professional carpenter, you can install shiplap much more easily than using other types of paneling.  You should have some basic skills in carpentry such as measuring, nailing, and sawing.

Probably the cheapest avenue is using plywood but stay away from rough plywood.  Only use plywood that is sanded on one side.

You will have to saw the ends of the plywood to fit where you are installing it.  You will need a power sander, nail gun, spackle, a level, and some other materials.

It’s a good idea that you talk with someone at your local home improvement store such as Lowes or Home Depot. These places will also be able to cut the plywood to spec if you do not feel you can do it properly.

Your basic installation steps are:

  • Cutting the plywood
  • Sanding
  • Painting
  • Preparing the walls
  • Attach the bottom board first*
  • Use a spacer to space the boards
  • Attach the other boards
  • If using finish nails, be sure to fill the holes with spackle

* Some prefer to install shiplap from the bottom up while others start from the top.

Using shiplap siding to decorate your interior will give you a wide range of looks from rustic to a clean contemporary look.  Because shiplap is incredibly flexible you can achieve exactly the look you want.  Using stains or paint will tie everything together and give you a unique look to a room.


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