Where to use shiplap

This is hot discussion! It seems I am talking more and more with new clients, both those remodeling as well as those in new construction, about where to use wood walls or “shiplap” as it is commonly called.  It seems everyone is hot for this look and I love it too!


Found on bystephanielynn.com

When remodeling older homes you often uncover great wood walls behind yucky old cheesecloth and wallpaper or under old sheetrock or popcorn ceiling. In our own home reno this was a recent discussion when we tore out some popcornish ceilings.  But often the wood can be too rough or damaged and decisions have to be made if it can be saved or used.
Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 6.04.07 PM
Our “new old house”
We actually went over our wood ceiling with new wood so we could have pot lights, another layer of sound barrier, less dust, and cover a very damaged area of wood in the corner of the room.
So remodeling you just have to go room by room and situation by situation to decide what will work and that often determines where the wood/shiplap appears in the final design.
We all love India Hick’s dining room with this picture ledge look shown below! This actually isn’t a great photo of the ceiling but it caught my eye!
and on Little Green Notebook below
LGN living room
What I have been noticing is where wood is used in conjunction with sheetrock and what I have determined is it really looks good anyway:  sheetrock on ceilings with shiplap wood walls OR sheetrock on walls with wood/shiplap ceilings.  Or everywhere..they I notice most people don’t want it everywhere unless they are at the beach or just really really in love with it.
Here it is over a fireplace. Def seems beachy here…trim out is so nice.
And here on Houzz used on ceiling and walls with coffered ceiling in next room…the flows of these treatements intrigue me.
And while I typically think of shiplap as being white it is of course done wonderful here by Phoebe Howard in gray.
phoebe howardshiplap
And this classic Southern home below in Southern Living is one of my faves and shows how shiplap isn’t just beachy or cottagey but can be quite traditional and classy! This photo is also a good example of shiplap painted something other than white white and i like it…looks so good with the transom.
And this decorpad post shows how shiplap can work in a kitchen though I typically see and like it on kitchen ceilings.
oh Yes another photo from Southern Living…i hate to sound Southern-centric (not really i really don’t mind;) but I do think Southerners do shiplap well…is it as common in all other regions of the country I wonder..it is very prevalent in the construction of old homes in Texas and other parts of the South is it like that everywhere, New England, midwest I wonder? Obviously we think of it as a beachy Nantucket thing. ..Main thing to remember is this was not something created by HGTV just recently, its not a trend really shiplap has been around a long time in vernacular homes and has made its way into American design forever from casual to high end.
Where do you like to see shiplap used?  On ceilings? On walls? Or both? Always painted white or a color??
I leave you with this final photo of my big shiplap project, my mom and I tackled nearly 15 years ago in our old house.  Lots of little cheesecloth strings to clip.  Ok i miss my office just a little!
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  1. I use it everywhere I can put it! It is on our 21 ft. wall in the family room, on one wall of daughter’s room, on one wall in our master bedroom, and entirely covers every wall in our playroom. We are looking at redoing another house, and the first thought I had for the redo (other than cladding the exterior in cedar shingles 🙂 ) was doing the interior walls in painted planks. Oh, and none of our walls are white…all are painted a khaki color.
    Yep, I love walls covered in it! (and I’m Southern. 🙂 )

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  3. What a timely post for us! We have just finished our great ship lap debate for the remodel and addition. Some walls are getting it and some aren’t. We also have bead board incorporated on the ceilings in some of the rooms. I love ship lap for our old house but for us it was a budget decision to have it only in the rooms that would get the wow factor. Great post!

  4. I too love the look of it! And am thinking I might incorporate it into my house in the bathroom behind the mirror (but it won’t be authentic, it will be a reproduction). I’m in Denver and this is not a construction technique found here. In really old homes it is primarily lath and plaster, and in semi-newer homes it is straight up drywall. I’ve also found our finishes are much different (and less appealing) than homes in other regions – orange peel or knock down texture on walls, instead of a slick finish (which I ADORE). Crown moldings are not standard they’re a hefty upgrade, though found in old homes. Regular base molding is really cheesy in homes here too. It’s sad, but it seems like homes are thrown up here as cheaply as possible, and without a ton of character – unless you want to live in a super old, super desirable (read: crazy expensive) neighborhood. If you can’t afford it you go with the base home and then upgrade it yourself. Thought I would chime in to share what I’ve found here 🙂

  5. I know for designers and decorators ship lap has been a common term used for ever. But for us regular folks, we just started hearing that term (instead of wall planks, etc) because Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper uses it in every episode! I guess it’s the age and location of the homes they makeover on their show. Personally, I like it most of the time, but like anything else, it will have its “moment” and can be over done. And I loved your old office, too 🙂

  6. I’m sad we actually removed a wholr wall of shiplap during our kitchen remodel about 5 years ago. We still have it stored in the garage, though for a special project. I’m thinking of adding it to Owen’s big boy room on a wall behind his bed.

  7. This is one of the best design blog posts I’ve seen/read in years! Thanks for inspiring me!

  8. Valerie Ohle says

    Is it inappropriate to use ship lap in a not old not new house? We have a rather characterless late 70s split level on a small acreage. We’re looking for ways to give it a farmhouse/cottage feel (no primitives and no shabby chic looks; not on my list of favorite things). I love ship lap, but I’m hesitant to add it. Right now, the exterior is a kind of reverse board and batten looking stuff. I’m not sure ship lap would make sense inside.

    • Absolutely use it omg! Beautiful use …what a way to bring ecletic into your home. …don’t paint it, please.. sand and stain or just coat. Beautiful wood.

  9. We are in the process of remodeling. We have shiplap that we have left exposed in several areas. I plan on painting it white…but is there a process for that?!?? And what is the best type of paint finish to use? I love the Gaines’ home and would love to achieve the finish she has on her shiplap. Any suggestions?

  10. Family found it in their old house in southern Missouri, south of Cape Girardeaux. So it is in the lower Midwest.

  11. why would use shiplap on the walls of a old home for sound proofing or something alse

  12. Can you put shiplap over plaster walls?


  1. 1953 Condo says:

    1953 Condo

    Where to use shiplap – Holly Mathis Interiors

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