If you watch HGTV or have a Pinterest account, chances are you have heard of the current decorating obsession known as shiplap. By definition, shiplap is wood board that is used to construct the walls of barns, sheds, and outbuildings. They are overlapped to create channels and visible gaps. Shiplap can either be left unfinished for a rustic feel, stained to bring out the wood grain, or painted for a more uniform look. “Fixer Upper” co-host Joanna Gaines has arguably single-handedly resurrected the application of wood to interior walls. Before the popular TV show gained momentum, the only house on the block with wooden walls was your grandparents’ 1950s brick ranch (and it was probably faux wood to boot). While newly trendy in the home decor world, shiplap is by no means a new product. In fact, this type of wall cladding has been around for centuries. Due to the recent craze, many builders are opting to incorporate this material into their inventory and model homes to capture the attention of style-savvy buyers. Here are a few ideas on how to utilize shiplap in new construction:

Installing shiplap on the ceiling

Installing shiplap on the ceiling will draw your eye up and show off a vaulted ceiling or room with height. It will also add texture and visual interest to an otherwise plain space. Often shiplap is paired with beams or a coffered ceiling to create an architectural statement. For even more drama, consider painting the shiplap a different color than the expected white. If the walls are a light beige, try a faint blue on the ceiling. This is especially striking in a kitchen with white cabinetry or a coastal themed home. Try this look in an informal living room, master bedroom, or kitchen to create a cozy atmosphere.

Entire Room

Covering all of the walls with shiplap can be a real show-stopper and add a ton of texture to a room. The design possibilities are endless: paint the shiplap white for a clean and bright space or opt for a moody navy color for impact. If leaving the wood unfinished or stained, use caution when applying shiplap to all of the walls as this can look reminiscent of a log cabin or the dreaded seventies wood paneling. We love this application in a foyer, study, or kitchen (anywhere, really).

One wall

Sometimes less is more and this can be true with shiplap on the walls. If you are installing wood boards that will remain unfinished or stained, it can be overwhelming when applied to the entire room. Instead, create an accent wall: this will allow the wood to stand out without making the room too dark. On the other hand, if you have painted the drywall in a space a darker color, adding a single wall of shiplap in white can brighten up a room and break up the dark paint. An accent wall looks great in a bedroom, nursery, or media room.

Feature accent

Does the home you are building or renovating have an amazing fireplace? Or are you designing some really cool built-ins? Shiplap is a great way to flaunt fun architectural features. Install shiplap on the back of bookcases for depth or draw the eye upward by creating a column of shiplap above the fireplace mantle. Try incorporating shiplap into unexpected areas for interest and a custom feel; some of our favorites include pantry walls, mudroom built-ins, or wainscoting at the powder room.


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