A shiplap wall is a decor style that uses a specific type of interlocking board that is very similar to tongue-and-groove. However, it has an overlapping, tighter fit to it. The wooden panels are very easy to install, are very popular inside homes, and they can create a very effective seal. You can create anything from modern to rustic looks with shiplap walls, and people have gotten really creative with how they use this design style in recent years.
If you’re planning on adding a shiplap wall to your home, we’re going to outline 21 beautiful ideas to help inspire you. They’re the perfect thing to add to your kitchen remodel project to create a stunning final look, or you can add it in your kid’s rooms, bathrooms, laundry rooms, around the fireplace to highlight it, in the living room, and much more with little effort on your part.
1. Create the Perfect Farmhouse Kitchen
A charming, quaint farmhouse kitchen is very in style today, and your shiplap wall won’t be able to shine as well anywhere else in your home as it will in here. If you want to create a country-style kitchen that is timeless and a treat to use, install shiplap walls. You do want to keep room for your backsplashes, but you can seamlessly combine wood and tile to create a seamless look.
For example, maybe you want to capitalize on the farmhouse kitchens classic white color scheme. Installing shiplap and painting it while will allow you to easily cover the majority of the space. You can finish it off with a few butcher block counters or an island, exposed ceiling beams, and white tile with darker grout lines behind the sink for the backsplash. It’s easy to keep clean, you’ll get a tight seal that won’t develop moisture problems, and it’s easy to repaint as your decor tastes change.
Can you say….. By Kylie-Jaxxon / CC BY-SA 2.0
2. Showcase the Fireplace
Usually, a gas fireplace is already the focal point of the room, especially if it’s in your living room or study. However, shiplap walls can take this feature up to the next level. If you have a stone or brick fireplace, you can easily panel the interior of your chimney using a shiplap style with locking boards. Since they create such a tight seal, this can be great for making your fireplace more efficient.
However, you do want to be very careful that you follow proper fire safety regulations if you choose to do this. You want to ensure that the boards don’t heat up when you have the fireplace on. This is where asking a professional to come in can be a huge bonus. They’ll ensure you get the beautiful look you want with this decor style while keeping everything safe. You can paint your boards to match the fireplace or stand out too.
The Color of Spring by Kylie_Jaxxon / CC BY-SA 2.0
3. Add Rustic Wood Accents with Shiplap
There is a very big trend of using traditional painted shiplap walls and accenting it by leaving any nearby wood accents like flooring, rafters, or beams rustic and unpainted. This creates a stunning contrast that draws the eye around the room, and it can help pull your decor style together. The combination of traditional shiplap in white or off-white and the warm tones of the unpainted accent wood pieces is very inviting.
You could even get away with installing a shiplap ceiling and leaving the trim the natural wood color. This can be a more labor-intensive process, so you may want to consult a professional before you take on this project yourself. As a bonus, both dark and light-hued accent wood pieces look wonderful when you pair them with a white or off-white shiplap. Consider this if you have a wooden floor installed.
Shiplap by Frank Reid / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
4. Distressed or Stained Accent Wall
Although shiplap walls are traditionally painted a white or off-white color, there is a new trend of having them be distressed or stained. It’s a fantastic way to create a contrasting accent wall if you’re wondering how to decorate a large wall in your room. This works especially well if you have a very airy and light decor scheme in place already with a lot of light coloring. The darker distressed look of the shiplap will create a focal point without making the room too dark.
You can use stripped or stripped and then stained wooden boards to create this look. If you choose to stain them, try to balance the board’s coloring to ensure it doesn’t make your entire room look too dark. So, for rooms with less natural light and darker color schemes, go lighter with the stain. You can do darker with light rooms.
Hanging out in Houston this week by germanny / CC BY-SA 2.0
5. Versatile Entryways
If you plan on installing shelves, coat hooks, or storage in your entryway or mudroom consider adding shiplap walls. They’re an ideal thing to add to these spaces or areas that tend to get a lot of use because they’re very durable and have a tight seal so they won’t have problems with moisture buildup. They also come with the bonus of creating a welcome atmosphere in this part of the house, and that’s very important.
The sleek lines your shiplap walls create make it very easy for you to hang your coat hooks, shelving, or storage units straight too. You can have them running along the entryway right into your next room. They would look nice painted to match your shiplap with darker coat hooks, or you could turn your storage units and shelves into wood accents if you have a rustic design theme throughout the house to keep it cohesive.
Tile and Shiplap by Frank Reid / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
6. Sliding Shiplap Doors
You can create a gorgeously unique sliding barn door for your interior rooms using shiplap wall designs. To do so, you’ll use vertical shiplap. This looks especially unique if you install it against traditional horizontal shiplap walls. You can paint them all the same coloring and use darkly colored hardware for the handle and track to make it contrast and stand out. While this does work for different interior door styles, it works particularly well for larger barn doors.
For this type of door, you do want to be sure that you have enough room for it to slide open. So, it works well in hallways or if you have a more open floor plan without a lot of items sitting in the way. It’s also a much heavier door than traditional ones, but it should slide nicely on the track.
Installing the barn door by Ken Mayer / CC BY 2.0
7. Diagonal Shiplap Walls
When most people think of shiplap walls, they think of the traditional horizontal setup. However, did you know that it’s possible to install diagonal shiplap walls too? This is the perfect way to make a single wall in your room stand out. It works particularly well around fireplaces, stairways, or other high-profile areas in your home where you’ll get a lot of traffic. What’s even better, you can experiment with angles when you go to install it.
This is a slightly more labor-intensive project that requires more exact cuts to ensure all of your boards fit correctly at their angles. However, as long as you measure carefully and mark off your boards, you should have no problem cutting and installing this shiplap wall before painting it. You could easily fill a small space around the fireplace to practice before branching out to larger areas by the stairways or hallways.
Continuity by Mcx83 / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
8. Combine Stone and Shiplap
Stone veneer may be popular on the exterior of your home, but stone accents are also popular inside in more modern design styles. You can easily combine shiplap walls with faux stone, marble, brick, or concrete. They all look nice and work well alongside shiplap, especially if you’re trying to find a way to break up large expanses of the colder stone with warm paneling.
For example, maybe you have stone veneer as half of your wall. The top half can be a shiplap wall in a warmer and more rustic tone to help balance out the bottom half of the wall to create a nice look. You could also add faux stone flooring and use the walls to inject warmth into the room. This works very well if the shiplap is lighter and the faux stone has a darker hue to it. You could also go the opposite with darker shiplap and lighter stonework.
IMG_3042-1 by barry B / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
9. Texture Behind Shelving
Shelving units are necessary for storage in your home, and they look really nice flanking your fireplace or another tight area of the wall that would normally be dead space. However, shelving units can also easily blend into the walls and get lost, especially if you want them to match your wall colors rather than act like an accent and have them a different color. It can look flat with traditional backing on the shelves.
So, one way to make this area stand out is to add shiplap walls as the backing for your shelves. Putting them in vertically can add height to the shelves and make them look bigger than they actually are, and it can trick the eyes into thinking the room is larger. Horizontal shiplap works well too because it adds nice texture to the wall to create a point of interest to draw the eyes to the shelves.
Beautiful Library by Primary Alliance / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
10. Shiplap Headboards
The headboard is an important part of your bed frame, especially if you’re going to DIY. It may surprise you to know that you can create a shiplap headboard. You could even have it attached directly to the wall instead of the bed frame since it can be much heavier. You can make it as large or small as you want, and you can have it match your bed frame’s coloring. This works very well if you have lighter walls and use distressed shiplap.
This is a relatively small project that’s great for beginners to help give you an idea of how working with shiplap would be on a bigger project. It can bring a lot of rustic warmth to the bedroom to make it much more inviting and cozy. Horizontal, vertical, and diagonal shiplap walls all work for this project, and you can frame it neatly to give it a finished look.
Natural Reclaimed Wood Headboard on Bed by Jaclyn Miller / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
11. Frame in Your Bathroom Vanity
Shiplap walls work particularly well in the bathroom where there is a lot of moisture because it has such a tight seal when you get it on the wall. It can provide a beautiful backsplash for your bathroom vanity if you have a modern farmhouse design. You’ll get a very crisp and clean feel to the space, and it’s the perfect area to offset it with a distressed wood vanity with a butcher block-style counter.
If you have a smaller bathroom, try applying your shiplap walls in a horizontal pattern. Doing this will give the illusion that your space is much larger than it is. This is a good place to use lighter coloring and warm accents with bright lighting. Dark coloring in smaller spaces can make the room feel much smaller and closed off. Warm gold or bronze accents can work nicely here too.
Guest Bathroom by maggie.5150 / CC BY-NC 2.0
12. Two Tone Walls
When most people think of shiplap walls, they think of the full wall covered in the shiplap-style boards. However, many interior design styles are moving away from this and using it in two-tone walls instead. They split their walls and half one part of it shiplap and one part paint or wallpaper. So, if you have darker furniture and wooden accent pieces, you could get away with a slightly lighter horizontal shiplap on half or 3/4s of the walls and light paint on the ceiling and the top quarter of the walls.
You can tie the shiplap walls in by painting the trim the same color as your accent pieces or even the flooring. This works very well in rooms that have slightly larger windows that let in a lot of light. You’ll get a cohesive and sleek look if you get it right. Both horizontal and vertical shiplap walls work well with this idea.
Tile and Shiplap by Frank Reid / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
13. Surrounding Bunk Beds
Shiplap walls are an excellent way to fill dead space that would ordinarily not work well with other types of walls. If you have custom built-in bunk beds, adding white shiplap can easily help fill the space while creating a nautical feel to the room. This is especially true if your bunkbeds are white with blue accents. You can carry this color scheme further by adding blue curtains.
The smooth texture of the shiplap walls will carry to your wood flooring to create a sense of symmetry. It has an aura of comfort and fun. Having lighter colored hardwood flooring allows the room to keep a very open and airy feel to it, and the texture on the wall will naturally draw your eye. Bonus points if you can extend the shiplap into the walls on the built-in bunk beds to create a seamless transition from one place to another.
Beds, Artisans’ Quarters, Port-Royal Habitation, Nova Scotia by CP Hoffman / CC BY-SA 2.0
14. As a Backsplash
When you picture shiplap walls, you most likely don’t think that it would work well as a backsplash do you? After all, this area in your home can have a lot of exposure to moisture and water, and this isn’t usually good for wooden textiles. However, shiplap is the exception, especially if you install it correctly. It’s a nice beginner project if you’ve never installed it before because it’s much smaller scale.
It can add depth to the area while brightening it, and this is helpful in smaller or darker spaces in your home. You should take steps to protect the shiplap walls with a coat of primer to seal them from the moisture or humidity they’ll encounter in this location. If you get pre-painted shiplap walls, touch it up regularly to keep moisture out. It works well in a vertical design as a backsplash behind a larger farmhouse sink.
Shiplap and gas cooktop! By John Coley / CC BY 2.0
15. Homey Dining Rooms
Adding vertical shiplap walls to your dining room is a great addition if you’re trying to create a homey but modern space. Your bigger vertical lines will create a sharp contrast with any horizontal open shelving your install, and this can bring texture to your dining space that would normally fall flat. You can make your beautiful wooden or metal dining room table stand out by having white walls, trim, window dressings, cabinets, and baseboards.
Also, this will also give your dining room a very cohesive look and feel when you see it. A light wood flooring will give you a beautiful accent color so the whole room doesn’t look too matchy-matchy. Bonus points if you can get the shelving to match or be very close to your floor coloring. The dining room table will look nice as the same color or slightly darker too. The chairs should have wood accents with white if possible.
Hus til leie: Stensåsen – Løten Foto: Thomas Xavier Floyd by Statskog SF / CC BY-NC 2.0
16. Open up a Narrow Living Room
Are you looking for home decor ideas to help open up a narrow living room? If so, shiplap walls are one way to trick the mind into thinking that your living room is much wider and larger than it actually is. You can create an accent wall using light-colored horizontal shiplap to achieve this look. It adds depth and texture to the space, too, and you could even continue to down the hallway to the next room.
Applying your horizontal shiplap perpendicular to your accent wall in your living room, like running it down the hallway right next to the room itself, can help to lengthen your room’s look too. Having a lighter colored ceiling with darker wood floors can help to complete the look. However, you’re free to mix and match it to fit your personal design style and the current pieces in your room.
Living Room 2 by Junction Image / CC BY-NC 2.0
17. Shiplap Ceilings
Although this is a more complex job, you can transfer your shiplap walls onto the ceiling, and it works very well in a modern, sleek decor style. If the room already has clean lines due to your decor style, applying white shiplap to your ceiling will give you a sense of continuity while producing a sense of overall harmony for the space. If you have black light fixtures, the bright white paint on the shiplap ceiling will create a sharp contrast.
If you install this in the kitchen, you could easily create further contrast by having darker countertops. For the best results, run your shiplap design parallel to your room’s longest width. This will make the room look much more prominent. If you have windows, it’ll naturally draw the eye and the attention to this focal point. You can add this type of ceiling to virtually any room in your home to upgrade the look.
Living Room & Kitchen by Junction Image / CC BY-NC 2.0
18. Vertical Shiplap Walls
Instead of the traditional horizontal shiplap walls, make them vertical. This design style already brings a host of clean lines to your small bedrooms or basements, but it also creates a nice illusion. The vertical lines will work to naturally draw your eyes upwards when you look at it. In turn, this can make your interior seem much more spacious and taller than it actually is. This is why it works well for basements or small rooms where space is at a premium.
You can paint them whatever color you like, but white is a favorite because it can help open up the space and make it seem more airy and welcoming. To bring a little color into the space, add trim, window accents, baseboards, and warm flooring. The flooring can be wood or stone, but the hues should match your trim to help pull the room together with a cohesive design.
Living Room 2 by Junction Image / CC BY-NC 2.0
19. Showcase the Staircase
Any staircase in your home will automatically introduce diagonal lines. Using shiplap walls in this area makes excellent use of form and lines because your eyes will naturally flow down the staircase. You’ll introduce vertical elements with the stair’s railing, and you want to install horizontal shiplap on the walls behind the stairs and under the stairs if it’s a solid structure. You will get an unexpected but surprisingly harmonious result when you finish.
It offers a welcoming feel to the area. Using solid white walls, risers, baniers, and moldings will draw your eyes up the darker wooden steps, and this prompts you to go down or up the stairs. The horizontal walls also give you the illusion of a much more expanded space, and this is particularly nice in more narrow stairways or hallways. You could also bring wood accents into the top of the railing to help break up the complete white color scheme.
Staircase by eltpics / CC BY-NC 2.0
20. Deep Colors
If you’re looking to create a statement piece with your shiplap wall, create an accent wall with a deep coloring to it. Blues or reds do very well, especially when you offset them with white walls, trim, and furniture pieces. The flooring should be light too to really let the wall shine and add depth and texture to your room. It also works in small and larger rooms without a problem.
If you can, you should continue the deep coloring of the wall in your accent pieces in the room. Curtains, pillows, or blankets should match your shiplap wall. You can bring more warmth to the space by adding wooden shelving or built-in bookcases. However, you don’t want to have dark colors on them to avoid darkening the room too much.
Country View Apartments by Milestone Management / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
21. Sleek Laundry Room
Finally, you can upgrade your laundry room by installing sleek shiplap on the walls. You can continue this look by adding shiplap-style folding tables or counters. You want to open up this space by using bright white or other light colors with plenty of natural light if you can help it. This room works particularly well with two-tone walls.
Half of the walls will be shiplap and the other half will be painted. Adding shiplap walls to the bottom layer will make it more durable and resistant to damage. You can use light tone wood with accents that match your laundry rooms’ door and window frames. Keeping the upper portion of the wall white can help create an illusion that the space is larger than it is.
Laundry room – in progress by Elisha Psospisil / CC BY-NC 2.0
These 21 beautiful shiplap wall ideas can easily inspire you to create your own shiplap walls in your home. They’re easy to install, easy to paint or stain, and they help create an instantly eye-catching look in any room you install them in. As a bonus, they work well in virtually any space in your home. Use this guide for inspiration and have fun improving your space!
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.