10 Shiplap Wall Ideas to Elevate Your Space

If you’re attuned to the pulse of the interior design world, you know shiplap walls are everywhere. Traditionally associated with coastal aesthetics, this distinct wood paneling has recently transcended its maritime roots to become a staple of modern interior design. 


Today, homeowners and interior decorators alike marvel over the versatility of shiplap, and rightfully so, as shiplap offers a cost-effective way to refine the personality of a space by introducing clean lines, color, texture, and depth to walls. 


Whether you’re eager to infuse your home with sophisticated charm, evoke rustic vibes, or simply experiment with different hues and arrangements, this shiplap blog is for you. Keep reading to uncover 10 captivating shiplap wall ideas to elevate your space’s overall style and design. 


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What Is Shiplap?

Shiplap is a type of wood paneling that utilizes interlocking joints (called rabbets) to improve strength and stability. Historically, shiplap was first used (you guessed it) in ship construction, as the layered planks would provide a weathertight seal perfect for the sturdy hulls of nautical vessels. Ship designers traditionally cut shiplap boards from a variety of wood, including pine, cedar, and poplar, harnessing the unique properties of each to meet the demands of maritime transport. 


Since its prominence in naval yards worldwide, shiplap evolved into a popular tool in architecture and construction. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, shiplap emerged as a popular building material for barns, sheds, and homes, particularly in coastal towns and rural ports where materials were widely available. When wartime rationing caused lumber shortages in the mid-1900s, contractors replaced shiplap with sheetrock, which was more affordable and accessible.


The modern resurgence of shiplap as an interior design trend is widely thanks to the popular HGTV show Fixer Upper. Hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines regularly champion shiplap for its affordability, easy installation, and versatility, utilizing the material in just about every room. 


What Are Some Design Ideas For Shiplap Walls? 

As understated by its diverse and exciting history, shiplap is a versatile material perfect for stimulating creative expression across varying design styles. Shiplap is suitable for virtually any room or aesthetic preference, from farmhouse style to contemporary chic. 

Additionally, homeowners can install shiplap in varying applications, including accent walls, backsplashes, and wainscoting, to add texture and visual interest to their walls. 

Here are a few shiplap wall ideas you can incorporate into your home:

  • Use standard shiplap panels to design a timeless feature wall.
  • Create drama and depth with charcoal gray or navy blue shiplap.
  • Stain shiplap to resemble weathered wood and evoke countryside charm.
  • Spark sophisticated flair with a stylish herringbone shiplap arrangement.
  • Opt for vertically installed shiplap planks to give your space a modern look.
  • Enhance your dining room’s appeal and style with shiplap wainscoting.
  • Infuse your kitchen with character using shiplap backsplashes

Keep reading to learn more about these and other creative shiplap wall ideas!


10 Shiplap Wall Ideas For Your Home


1. Classic White Shiplap

Classic white shiplap panels brighten any room with their crisp and clean aesthetic. Consider using these standard panels to create a timeless feature wall in your living room, bedroom, or dining area. No matter where you install your shiplap accent wall, classic white shiplap will add depth, texture, and visual interest to your space, infusing the room with elevated charm and character. 


2. Dark Hues

In contrast to brightening a room with classic white shiplap, you can also paint shiplap a darker hue to create a dramatic atmosphere in your home. Charcoal gray and navy shiplap are becoming increasingly common as interior designers experiment with new ways to utilize shiplap across aesthetic preferences and styles. Pair this shiplap wall idea with light-colored furnishings to enhance contrast and elevate any room. 


shiplap wall ideas

3. Rustic Vibes

If you want to evoke the cozy ambiance of a countryside cabin, consider staining your shiplap to resemble weathered or reclaimed wood. Rustic shiplap will add character and subtle texture to your home’s interior and help create a welcoming atmosphere that invites guests to relax. Contemplate alternating panels stained in different hues to cultivate a modern vibe. 


4. Herringbone Pattern

Herringbone is a classic arrangement style that uses rectangles to create a repeating V-shaped pattern, resembling the bones of a fish. Arranging your shiplap panels into a herringbone pattern is a perfect idea if you’re looking to elevate your home’s sophistication and overall visual interest. This shiplap idea works best as a focal point in larger rooms with extensive walls, drawing the eye and adding depth to traditional spaces.


vertical shiplap wall ideas5. Vertical Installation

While designers typically arrange shiplap horizontally, you can install panels vertically to give any space a modern twist. Vertically installed shiplap is particularly useful in rooms with low ceilings and narrow dimensions, as vertical lines typically elongate walls, draw the eye upwards, and make small spaces appear larger. In addition, you can also paint or stain vertical shiplap in various colors to suit your style preferences.


shiplap wall ideas

6. Wainscoting Shiplap

If you’re looking for a simple way to add architectural details while decorating your new home, consider using shiplap for wainscoting. Wainscoting is a decorative design technique that uses wood paneling to line the lower half of an interior wall, and shiplap’s versatility allows homeowners to experiment with various patterns and designs. Try different arrangements, heights, and colors to find the perfect shiplap wainscoting for your home. 


7. Seaside Vibes

Given its maritime roots, shiplap is a great way to cultivate seaside vibes in any home, even miles from the coast. Whether you’re thinking sandy neutrals or soothing blues, painting shiplap beach-inspired hues is a great way to create a serene living space that reminds you of a day at the beach. Consider adding subtle nautical details and decoration to shiplap bathrooms and living spaces if you want to go all in on the coastal living theme. 


8. Shiplap Backsplash

Shiplap, like any interior design trend, can be overused. However, employing shiplap as a backsplash in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms is a tasteful way to use the material without abusing its versatility. By experimenting with horizontal and vertical arrangements, you can discern what pattern aligns best with your aesthetic vision. This shiplap wall idea will allow you to add visual interest to your space while avoiding the pitfalls of overuse. 


shiplap wall ideas

9. Shiplap Ceilings

Don’t forget the often-overlooked fifth wall, the ceiling! Incorporating shiplap on your ceilings is one of the most creative accent ceiling ideas you can use to add rustic charm to your space. Whether you paint the shiplap white for a classic look or leave it natural for an organic feel, shiplap boards will add dimension and atmosphere to your ceilings. 


10. Using Shiplap Outdoors

In covered outdoor areas, you can use shiplap to make a striking statement and create a relaxing ambiance that feels like an extension of your home. Paired with comfortable furnishings and soft outdoor lighting, shiplap walls can elevate the style of covered porches, sunrooms, outdoor kitchens, and other exterior spaces.


Cultivating Personality: Shiplap Ideas For Walls

By experimenting with different shiplap wall ideas, you can cultivate your home’s unique personality and refine its style. During your quest to find the perfect shiplap wall idea, remember to try different arrangements, colors, and patterns to help find a style that suits your aesthetic preferences.

Here at Century Communities, all of our properties include stylish interiors where you can put shiplap to use (some even include it!). If you’re searching for a new house, check out our new homes available in your area today! 


Shiplap Walls FAQ

What are other common types of wood paneling?

Shiplap, tongue and groove, and beadboard are the three most common types of wood paneling used in interior home design. Here’s how each type of wood paneling differs:

  • Shiplap: Flat, interlocking planks that connect using weathertight joints called rabbets
  • Tongue and groove: Flat, interlocking planks that connect using tongue and groove joints
  • Beadboard: Narrow wooden planks with a small ridge (called a bead) between each board

How can I determine what type of shiplap wall is right for my room?

The best way to determine what type of shiplap is best for your room is to research different patterns, arrangements, and applications. There are many ways to use shiplap on your walls, including wainscoting, backsplashes, or feature walls. You can also experiment with different paint colors to see what hues work best with your design style. Classic white walls and horizontal shiplap paneling are both popular choices.


Does shiplap look better vertical or horizontal?

Shiplap can look great installed vertically or horizontally. To choose the best arrangement for your walls, consider what you’re trying to achieve. Are you looking to make your room appear larger? If so, vertical shiplap might do the trick. However, if you’re looking to infuse your home with coastal vibes, you’ll be better off installing horizontal shiplap. Many home designers refer to horizontal shiplap as "real shiplap" or "true shiplap.”

The statements contained herein discuss general factors and do not constitute professional, investment and/or financial advice.


This is not an offering of property to residents in any jurisdiction that may have restrictions on interstate offerings of real estate, unless the property has been so registered, qualified or exemptions are available. It is the intent of Century to sell its residential homes pursuant to an exemption from the registration requirements the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act (15 U.S.C. 1701, et seq.).