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Trend Alert: Shiplap Walls

Photo credit: Heidi Caillier

If you’ve been bitten by the shiplap bug, you’re not alone! One of the most frequent questions we receive at our Design Bar surrounds styling rooms with shiplap walls, as the material has become one of the biggest trends in interiors as of late. 

The term ‘shiplap’ describes a board with a groove at the bottom and a shaped top ending a tongue, which produces a slatted surface. Historically, shiplap was a construction method, where inexpensive boards—often pulled from buildings like barns, cabins, and cottages—were attached directly to the studs. Today, decorators and architects alike are using it as a decorative design element for visual interest. Instead of attaching it directly to the studs, experts recommend you adhere shiplap to drywall lined with insulation.

We love the look of shiplap, as it's clean and timeless, yet it has a cozy and nautical or cabin-like feel. Whether you're looking to revamp your walls, go all out with a shiplap basement, or install shiplap in new construction, there are myriad ways to work in the material. Read on to get inspired by some beautiful spaces with shiplap walls, and see how you can recreate the look in your home.


Just a Hint

Photo credit: Tria Giovan for Coastal Living, Design by Decorist Celebrity designer Betsy Burnham

Decorist Celebrity designer Betsy Burnham used just a hint of shiplap behind a headboard in the bedroom of the 2014 Coastal Living Showhouse. The minimal introduction of the material provides a subtle nautical nod that doesn't look cliché or trite.


Surround Sound

Photo credit: Francesco Lagnese for House Beautiful

Shiplap is a timeless material, so it plays well with classic design elements like black and white, brass, and marble. In this master bath, wide shiplap planks, sleek, rectangular dual sinks, and matte black hardware create a more contemporary look.


Warm Contrast

 Photo credit: Lincoln Barbour, Design by Jessica Helgerson

In the tiny home of designer Jessica Helgerson, original shiplap walls are beautifully balanced by one accent wall of salvaged wood. White shiplap is especially popular, but a room can begin to look cold if there's too much of it. Try painting one accent wall, or if you have shiplap on half of the way, paint either the bottom or top half to add a bit of contrast and color. 


Mix in Metals

 Photo credit: Hudson Interior Designs

Interiors with shiplap walls can feel decidedly pastoral without thoughtful styling. Freshen up the look by bringing in contemporary furniture and mixing metals. Here, a pair of chrome-and-leather cantilevered chairs and a set of brass sconces give the country-style space a little bit of edge.


Create a Cocoon

Photo credit: Studio McGee

Shiplap is a great way to add visual interest to a small space without painting or wallpapering. Small spaces like this kitchen nook can have a cocoon-like vibe when wrapped in shiplap, which has a "hugging" effect. To finish the look, buffalo check and stripes pair well with this graphic material.


Paint It Black

Photo credit: Alec Hemer for Country Living

We must say, black shiplap walls have inched their way into our hearts, and we may love them more than classic white. Black shiplap feels cozy and sheltering—it's the perfect choice for a quiet living room or another relaxation space where you want to disappear for the afternoon.


The Finishing Touch

Photo credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors

In this dynamic, expertly layered neutral living room, whites, warm tones, and geometric prints are beautifully balanced, but the sleek lines of the shiplap walls are what pull it all together. The simple addition of pattern truly elevates the space.


Feeling inspired for a home makeover? Start a Room Design Project today.

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