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Why Is Shiplap So Popular?

Shiplap is still popular, but if you’re not sure why, read this post. You’ll learn about what it looks like, what it costs, different ways to use it, and more.

White shiplap wall, wooden bench with decorative pillows, two white doors on either side, hardwood flooring, throw rug in front of bench, plant in white pot

Shiplap seems to be everywhere in home design magazines and on renovation shows. It’s one of those things you either love or hate, but this is a design staple that’s clearly loved by many. If you’re not sure which side you’re on, you probably want to know one thing; why is shiplap so popular?

As a whole, shiplap is popular for its history, versatility, and durability. It can be used on the exterior or interior of a house for both practical and design purposes.  

Even if you’re not a fan of the farmhouse style, shiplap can still be a great way to upgrade your home. It can be used in any home decor style and is very versatile. If you’re curious about what makes shiplap so popular, keep reading this post.

What Shiplap Looks Like

Close up of white shiplap wall, white flowers in front

Shiplap is simply long planks of wood that lay on top of each other. Authentic shiplap will have rabbets where each plank overlaps the other, which gives it a watertight seal. 

In faux shiplap, there is often a nickel gap between each plank which creates a shadow (often called a valley) that’s become trendy. 

The shiplap look can even be recreated using wood planks and nailing them to the wall with small spaces between each one. 

Shiplap can be made to look distressed and weathered for a rustic touch or painted any color for a more refined and modern look.

Other Ways to Decorate with Shiplap 

If you like the idea of using shiplap but don’t want to use it as a feature wall (or on the wall at all) there are many other ways you can decorate with it. 

Shiplap Ceilings

Living room, white shiplap ceiling with dark exposed wooden beams, light gray walls, white window and door trim, blue couch, cream chair, lots of windows letting in sunlight, tv mounted above fireplace

Another popular way to use shiplap is as a ceiling. Shiplap ceilings can make a room feel larger, taller, and brighter – or even more cozy and intimate, depending on the colors and layout. 

Shiplap Headboards

Shiplap headboards are simple ways to make a room feel more fresh and updated without having to actually renovate the room itself. There are many shiplap headboards (and entire bed frames) on the market, or you can make one yourself.

Shiplap Vanities

Whether the sink vanity itself is made with shiplap or the wall above it is, the finished look can easily transform a space. Just keep in mind to use properly sealed shiplap (real or faux) whenever it’s around an area that’s exposed to water or moisture.

Shiplap Fireplaces

Open living room, hardwood flooring, shiplap fireplace, white walls, black window and door trim, stairs to the left

Shiplap fireplaces are another common way to decorate with shiplap that can instantly make a room feel more updated. You can surround the fireplace itself with shiplap or just the wall above and around it, but it’s a gorgeous feature either way. 

Shiplap Shower Surrounds

Many people are surprised to learn that you can actually use shiplap in a shower surround, as long as sealed correctly or a shiplap alternative (like PVC faux shiplap) is used. You can use it on the interior of the shower surround or the exterior wall if the shower is encased. Either way can achieve a beautiful result.

Shiplap Backsplashes

Another surprising way to decorate with shiplap is using it as a backsplash, either in the kitchen or bathroom. You’ll definitely want to use a waterproof shiplap and keep the backsplash dry, just like with a shiplap shower surround.

Shiplap Entryways and Hallways

Updating your entryway or hallway with shiplap is a great way to instantly upgrade your home. There are endless ways to create a shiplap entryway, from using it on the entire wall to using it in a wainscotting fashion.

Shiplap Closets and Pantries

Closets and pantries can be rather boring areas, but you can give them an instant wow-factor with shiplap. This is also a good way to make them feel brighter, taller, and larger all around. 

Shiplap Doors

You’ve heard of barn doors, but have you heard of shiplap doors? Using shiplap doors is an easy way to transform what is normally thought of as a boring feature. This is especially helpful if your space is smaller and there’s not a lot to show off. 

Shiplap Seating Areas and Benches

Seating areas and benches make the perfect hosts for showing off some shiplap. Whether you surround the seating area with shiplap and make it a feature wall, or you encase the actual bench with shiplap, it’s a gorgeous way to add some flare to any space. 

Shiplap Tables

Less popular but just as beautiful as any other shiplap decor idea is a shiplap table. This puts a fun twist on the typical farmhouse table, and like any other idea on the list, it can be as rustic or modern as you’d like it to be.

Are Shiplap Walls Cheaper Than Sheetrock?

Many people who are looking to renovate their home wonder if shiplap walls end up being cheaper than sheetrock or drywall. One of the reasons the shiplap look is so popular is because it’s an inexpensive way to upgrade a room, so it makes sense to consider other affordable options as well.

Genuine shiplap made of wood is more expensive than sheetrock, and according to Home Advisor, a square foot generally costs $2.50 to even $7.00. Sheetrock on the other hand tends to cost $0.40 to $0.65 per square foot, according to Home Advisor.

There are also cheaper options for getting the same look at shiplap without the same price tag. You can buy inexpensive pine boards and cut into planks before installing them on a wall. This gives the same appearance as shiplap at a much lower cost, and could even end up being cheaper than sheetrock depending on the materials used. 

Why Is Shiplap So Expensive?

One of the deciding factors of using shiplap is its cost. Many people want to know one thing before even thinking of using shiplap; are shiplap walls expensive? The answer is yes…and no.

Real shiplap is expensive, but faux or DIY shiplap is often very budget-friendly. 

Authentic shiplap requires a durable high quality wood and each plank is prepared for installation, making it one of the more costly options. There’s a lot involved in making shiplap, from the milling, sanding, and so forth. As with anything, the more resources involved, the more expensive it is.

The specific material used also contributes to the cost. Specialty woods drive the price higher, while more common wood will result in a lower price tag. 

Can Shiplap Look Modern?

Shiplap can take on any style, including modern. The versatility of shiplap is one of the reasons why it has become so popular and is still making its rounds in home design circles.

To achieve a modern look with shiplap, you’ll want to make sure its lines are straight and clean. This is easy to do with genuine shiplap or faux shiplap that’s ready to be installed when purchased, but can be difficult if you’re DIYing it. It’s also helpful to line the planks up in a straight line as opposed to the usual staggered way that you’ll find in more farmhouse-style designs.

You’ll also want to take away its rustic touches by opting for smooth wood without natural elements such as knots and holes. If you’re going the DIY route and making the planks yourself, be sure to sand the boards and fill holes as necessary. 

Another way to make shiplap look modern is by painting it. Dark colors are great for giving any space a modern edge, and even lighter colors can make the room look updated. Crisp white, gray, black, and navy colors are usually safe choices for modern styles.

Will Shiplap Go Out of Style?

Shiplap is incredibly versatile and can be tailored to any home design style, whether it’s country farmhouse or modern minimalist. The uses of shiplap are endless, as well. It can be used on walls, ceilings, benches, and so much more – not to mention the more practical uses like exterior siding. 

The fact is that shiplap has been used for centuries, and that’s one of the many reasons it’s so popular. People love the historic charm and craftsmanship appearance, which easily adds to a home’s aesthetics. 

Considering the versatility, history, and various price points of shiplap, there’s really no reason to believe that it’s going out of style. Like any other trend, it will take on different looks and purposes throughout the years, but shiplap is here to stay.