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What is Shiplap? Everything You Need to Know

Shiplap is the ultimate rustic charm that creates immediate visual interest. It adds a pop of appeal in your kitchen as a backsplash or accent wall.  It is a cost-effective design option, easy to install, and can be painted or stained to match your existing aesthetic.

As a long-standing popular design, many of our customers like to incorporate shiplap into their kitchens and throughout their homes. Here’s what you should know about shiplap, including its history and design tips.

What is Shiplap?

Originally used as layered planks of wood in ship construction, shiplap is known for its strength and durability. Using the rabbets, or grooves, the planks would interlock to create the weathertight design perfect for the nautical world.

Shiplap is made from a variety of wood, such as pine, poplar, cedar, and redwood. It dates back centuries as the go-to material for creating the best in ocean-faring transportation.

Since then, shiplap has evolved into a seamless material for constructing barns, sheds, and exteriors of homes because of its durability. It is also used as a smooth backing for wallpaper in homes.

Shiplap has had a resurgence thanks to the popular home renovation series, Fixer Upper, hosted by Chip and Joanna Gains. With Joanna’s propensity to use shiplap as a feature piece, the popularity of shiplap took off and has been widely used ever since.

Here’s Why You Should Use Shiplap

Shiplap is highly versatile

Shiplap can be installed in any room of your home. From the kitchen to the living room, bedroom, and even bathroom, it creates a mix of traditional and modern flair.

The boards can be placed either vertically or horizontally to build patterns and textures. It can be installed on the ceiling for another element of interest in the home. Shiplap is commonly installed as an accent wall, which further highlights its beautiful rusticity. It creates a focal point for the room while creating a unique backdrop for your décor.

It can stained or painted to fit your taste

Shiplap can be painted, stained, or left natural to further enhance its intrinsic rustic appeal. Painting your shiplap wall white is a classic choice for the farmhouse feel. Dark stain provides a contemporary appeal and leaving the planks natural lends room to a relaxed feel.

Keep in mind that shiplap must be painted a little differently than regular walls. Because of the signature gap between each plank, you will need to make sure you apply thinner coats of paint so those gaps don’t get filled.

Shiplap is easy to install

Shiplap paneling is an inexpensive DIY. The installation process involves only a few steps, with immaculate results. By creating an accent wall or covering the entire room in shiplap, you can get the classic look of historical, reclaimed wood.

 Install the shiplap on the bottom instead of the top, and consistently work from left to right or vice versa so planks will line up together nicely for a cohesive look.

Shiplap is budget friendly

When it comes to building materials and wall paneling, costs can pile up easily. If your goal is to create a charming look without breaking the bank, shiplap can be the best option. Ranging $1000 per entire room or $1-$7 per square foot, shiplap is an inexpensive investment.

The one downside to shiplap

Repairing any damaged planks can be difficult since the shiplap is so closely fitted together. You may have to remove entire panels and replace them if there is extreme damage.

Because of the signature design of gaps in between the boards, shiplap can also be a dust magnet and hard to clean. Using a microfiber cloth to clean regularly will help keep up its beautiful charm.

Shiplap Design Tips

 Designing with shiplap offers a blend of rustic charm and modern elegance. Its versatility complements a wide range of design styles while adding texture and depth to the space. Here are some ideas to inspire your shiplap design:  

Try it in the bathroom

If creating a major accent wall in your living room or kitchen is too much of a commitment for you, try it out in your bathroom instead. The small, separated space allows you to try out the trend without it being a part of the larger home design.

bathroom shiplap

Create an eye-catching fireplace

A fireplace is always a statement piece, and when covered in shiplap, it can be a great conversation starter for whoever steps into your home. It will add texture and a timeless appeal, lending a cozy feel to the space.

fireplace shiplap

Make your ceiling a statement piece with shiplap

This unconventional choice makes your ceiling the statement piece of the room, building ultimate character and eye-catching design.

ceiling statement piece with shiplap

Try a DIY accent wall

Using shiplap as an accent wall piece is one of the best ways to incorporate this design trend. Shiplap can be painted a complimentary color to the room, which will draw the eye instantly. Adding pops of color throughout the room in a matching shade will tie in the entire accent wall to your overall color story.

shiplap accent wall piece

Try it as a kitchen backsplash or range hood

You don’t have to only think of tile choices when it comes to your kitchen backsplash. Incorporating shiplap will lend the ultimate in rustic charm, especially to a farmhouse-style kitchen. Try thinking out of the box when it comes to paint choices to further enhance its simple beauty.

kitchen backsplash or range hood shiplap

Whether you choose to install your shiplap horizontally, or vertically, paint or stain, create an accent wall, or shiplap an entire room, shiplap has proven itself to be one of the most versatile and cost-friendly home décor accents with historical appeal.

With little expense and a lot of charm, shiplap’s versatility is a great option for whoever wants a burst of timeless design in their home. Reach out to your local dealer to find out more about incorporating this long-lasting design.

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