Where to Add Shiplap to Your Home

shiplap over the fireplace

What are your thoughts on shiplap?  Love it or hate it?  Timeless or trendy?  We have some definite feelings about shiplap that we’ll be sharing with you, and we’d love to know if you agree.

Where Did Shiplap Come from?

First and foremost, shiplap has been around for a long time and has its origins, according to UFP Edge, as far back as the Vikings.  Shiplap began as “lapstrakes”, which were overlapping wooden boards used on ships to keep out water and moisture.  The boards had rabbeted edges, making them very watertight.  This ingenious technique was later applied to siding for barns and sheds, and later, homes.

Should you Decorate With Shiplap?  

That really depends on the style of your home, in our opinion.  If your home is cottage, country, Cape Cod, farmhouse, beach style, or french country, shiplap may be perfect for you.  If, however, your home is traditional, contemporary, southwest, or any number of other styles, you should do your research before installing shiplap, which may end up looking out-of-place or tacky.

Is Shiplap Trendy?  

Well…yes and no.  Shiplap is definitely not trendy when used in farmhouse or cottage style homes, and has been used for over a hundred years.  Shiplap quickly becomes dated and trendy when used in the wrong style home.  A good example is a wall of black shiplap in a modern home.  While this may look sleek and chic today, once the black trend passes, this wall might lose its luster quickly.  That is just our opinion, and if you don’t share it, we totally respect that.  At the end of the day, your home should be what you love.  

Where to Add Shiplap to Your Home

We’ve seen whole houses, mostly cottages, wrapped  in shiplap, and we love it.  More often though, we think shiplap looks best in specific areas repeated throughout the home.  So where are the best places to install shiplap?  

Foyer or Entry

Shiplap in the entryway adds interest and texture. Fresh and welcoming, we love a fresh white entry that sets the stage for the rest of your home.  

shiplap in a foyer or entryway

Powder Room

Consider using shiplap on the bottom half of the wall with a cap rail in the middle, and a lovely printed wallpaper above.

shiplap in powder room

Above the Fireplace

Shiplap makes a pretty backdrop for a TV or piece of artwork above the fireplace.  We have the Frame TV!

shiplap above the fireplace

Master Bedroom Bed Wall

If you don’t want to ensconce your entire master bedroom in shiplap, consider putting it on the bedwall only. 

Master Bath

Go ahead and wrap all the walls!  This works particularly well in a bathroom since bathrooms can easily be lackluster or ho-hum from lack of attention.

shiplap in master bathroom

Behind Built-Ins

Shiplap behind built-ins makes your accessories pop and coordinates nicely with shiplap above the fireplace.

shiplap behind the bookshelf

In the Kitchen

We used shiplap on our stove wall, blended with subway tile that is installed directly behind the stove.  We love the blend with subway tile because it is easy to keep clean from cooking splashes and grease.

shiplap in the kitchen


We actually used shiplap as a wainscoting going up the stairs.  We combined it with full shiplap walls in the foyer and in the stairwell.

On the Ceiling

Yes, shiplap can absolutely be used on the ceiling.  Shiplap on the ceiling adds texture and interest and plays nicely with ceiling beams.  Have popcorn ceilings?  Cover them with shiplap if you can’t remove them.

blue ceiling with white beams

Should You Paint Shiplap a Color?

We prefer our shiplap white for the most classic look, but by all means, paint it a color if you wish.  We’ve seen gorgeous shiplap painted in an array of colors ranging from soft blue, apple green, to navy and various shades of gray.  And hey, it’s just paint!  You can always repaint for a different look. 

What are the Best White Paints for Shiplap?

If you choose to stick with the traditional, here are some beautiful white and off-white shades from Benjamin Moore to paint your shiplap:

  • OC-65 Chantilly Lace
  • OC-117 Simply White
  • OC-17 White Dove
  • CC-30 Oxford White
  • 1513 Snow on the Mountain

For farmhouses and cabins, consider leaving your shiplap natural or staining it with a pale stain and sealing.

What Kind of Shiplap Should I Install?  

Shiplap comes in a variety of materials and widths.  The most popular widths are 5 ½” and 7 ¼”.  Look here for expert installation instructions and tips.  Shiplap comes primed or natural, and is available in different wood species.  Pine, fir, and oak are popular choices.  Shiplap can be installed vertically or horizontally.  A horizontal installation is most common, but vertical boards look great too.

Does Shiplap Go with Other Materials?

Shiplap can be used with other building materials for that extra-special look.  It’s all in the details!  We repeated shiplap in multiple areas of our home, but we also added tongue-and-groove ceilings and beadboard walls in the mudroom.  The varying widths add interest to different areas without being repetitive.

Will you Add Shiplap to your Home?

Done well, shiplap adds a cozy country feeling to a cottage or farmhouse, and has staying power.  Remember to do your own homework before committing to shiplap.  What are your thoughts?  We’d love to hear from you.

Until next time…

From the HartLand with Love,

Monica, Cheyenne, and Brittany

2 thoughts on “Where to Add Shiplap to Your Home

  1. I am a senior citizen who likes old pieces of furniture as well as some new. The town I live in is on the cape fear river and six miles from the beaches which can be seen from the river front. After my husband passed I moved into a patio home. I am now trying to decorate it. Some have commented on shiplap over fire place which is along with my cottage style but the entire dwelling has traditional molding. Molding, I have been told, has doubled in price. So I think shiplap maybe out after reading your article because it hits every issue I have had about it not looking right. If it were not for the molding I would probably go with it. Now don’t know what to do with my fireplace. Thanks for the article,

    1. Hello Cynthia!

      Thank you for reading our post and for your comment.

      Please send us some pictures of your fireplace and your moldings. We would be happy to take a look!

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