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What Is Shiplap And How Can I Use It In My Home?

Learn How Shiplap Brings Back The Comfort of Home

What Is Shiplap? - We're glad you asked. Here is our definition of Shiplap:

Before drywall made its debut, home builders used plaster to cover ceilings and walls. Since plaster could be expensive then, some builders used wooden slats instead. These slats were made from cheaper woods like pine that were still durable. Shiplap was made anywhere between 3-10 inches wide. They were called shiplap because builders originally designed them to handcraft boats. 

Shiplap was also an inexpensive exterior siding. It was often used for barns, sheds, and garages. Homeowners just painted or stained it the colour they wanted. Some people even used shiplap to side their homes. It was mainly used for classic farmhouses. You can still see some older homesteads and outbuildings with their original shiplap siding.

Shiplap Walls
Carpenters would mill these boards with rabbets, which is a special halved groove. When the boards were put together, the rabbets made the edges fit tightly together. Each connection had a distinctive reveal line. Shiplap is different from tongue and groove paneling. This type of paneling fits inside the edges of each board and makes a tighter fit. There is less space revealed between them like there is for shiplap. 

When people remodel older homes, they often find vintage shiplap underneath the drywall and wallpaper. These exposed walls are one of the biggest trends in decorating. Decorating magazines, television shows, and social media have created a devoted following to shiplap design. What was once covered by wallpaper is now a decorating staple. 

If you find some shiplap hiding under your walls when remodeling you will be one lucky and truly happy home designer. Once the outer covering has been removed, you may just need to clean the shiplap really well with a good wood cleaner. Then, you can stain or paint it however you wish. If your house does not have original shiplap, you can find reclaimed boards on the market. It can also be purchased new at many home improvement stores that specialize in lumber. Shiplap for bathrooms as well as using shiplap in a bedroom is an amazing interior design choice and can really give a home some rustic charm.

Shiplap Walls
If you have decided to use shiplap in your home, you can paint or stain it to create the desired look. There are endless colour choices that you can use. One of the most popular colours is variants of white and cream. Painting shiplap white makes a room look fresh and airy. It can be matched with formal or rustic style. Although white is often used in kitchen and bathrooms, it can be used in any room that you want to look brighter.

Instead of using white, you may consider painting your shiplap gray. It gives the room a touch of distinction and makes the room pop. You can choose from a light charcoal to a deeper hue. Since gray is neutral, it pairs well with bright colours in the room, such as yellow and orange. 
shiplap walls
Caption: When painting shiplap you can think outside the box
For generations, white has been the go-to colour for trim. Today, home decorators are reaching for black. If you are doing a shiplap wall, you can get the same effect by painting the bottom boards black. This interesting detail frames the room and draws attention to your walls.

Do you like the beauty of woodgrain? A lot of homeowners use wood stain on their shiplap instead of paint. This would be a great choice for a den or family room. Just use your favorite colour of stain to bring out the rich texture of the wood. Lighter stain colours for shiplap make it look like knotty pine in a cabin. Darker colors, such as cherry and walnut, also look wonderful and inviting.

shiplap walls

When you are deciding on colours for shiplap, you are only limited by your imagination. One unique way of finishing shiplap walls is to stain each board a different color. All of the light and dark shades give the look of multiple kinds of wood. It is a requires a little more work than having a single stain; however, you will be pleased with the results. 

The multi-colored design can also be fun with paints. Choose your favorite shade and add one or two complementary colors. This is a good choice for remodeling a child’s room. Imagine how much your little princess would love a shiplap wall done in white and subtle shades of pink. The shiplap could bring a nautical theme for your boy’s room. You could choose whites, blues, yellows, and reds. Black and white would make a bold statement for any room—especially a dining room. 

Beige and tans are classic neutrals that you could use for any room’s shiplap. These shades provide the ideal backdrop for unexpected splashes of brightly-colored accessories. If you want to make a room feel brighter and do not want white, try cooler shades of sage or blue. These colour schemes in a bathroom would create a refreshing spa atmosphere.

shiplap walls

What could make your home feel more rustic than shiplap? Since it was the usual choice for barns and farmhouses, adding a shiplap wall or ceiling can give the primitive elegance you want. It provides natural texture and interest to your rooms. Shiplap offers simplicity that is at once comfortable and familiar. You can have all of the amenities of a modern home with the look of a vintage farmhouse.

There are many reasons why shiplap has such a popular appeal. It is cheap to make and easy to install right over existing drywall. You can install it horizontally or do it in vertically, like wainscoting. Whether you decide to paint, stain, or leave it all natural, shiplap will give your home a rustic charm that you and your family will love.

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