By: Julia Marchand
A shiplap obsession is currently sweeping through homes of all styles thanks to its charm and subtle texture. It can be finished to show character marks, like knots and nail holes, or to be sleek and unblemished. It can hang on walls and ceilings, be used as wainscoting, be featured outside or inside or become a design accent like a headboard or a floating entertainment center. With plenty of versatility, this charming material can accent any home style: It can meld with modern decor, complement a farmhouse feel or accent a breezy beach house.
If you’re looking to use shiplap to transform your home from basic to beautiful, the first consideration to find your perfect fit is to identify the mood already given off by the rest of your decor. Since shiplap could cover every inch of wall space in a room, it has great potential to shift the mood in a new direction or take your current style to the next level. Get some inspiration for personalizing your home, then look around and decide: Do your furnishings feel formal? Feminine? Are they quirky or even chaotic? Do you want to piggyback on that mood or play it down?
Here are some distinct shiplap flavors and the details that will allow you to pull them off.
Edgy Urban – Mixed with brick, cement or metal accents, the organic characteristics of shiplap will warm and soften an urban aesthetic. Stick with raw wood to embrace its rich tones or choose a weathered paint for a super-rustic look that blends well with that gritty New York loft feel. The seams of the boards chop up the lines to keep an edgy look, so try this style if you want to complement downtown decor.
Relaxed Cottage – Vary board widths with a greater reveal between the planks both on the horizontal and vertical ends, and skip the trim for a less formal look. Show knots, nail holes and character for a farmhouse feel, or magnify charm with the quaint quality of wainscoting. Keep in mind that while a natural patina exaggerates the rustic mood, it can sometimes feel masculine, so go with a whitewashed finish if you want it to feel soft and summery.
For a nautical twist, take these tips up a notch with inconsistent gap widths and different levels of distress. A variety of cool hues painted on shiplap within a coordinating color scheme—like cream, gray, white or pale blue—can give off a beachy feel and perfectly match a laid-back bungalow.
Moody Modern – Sleek, uniform chestnut planks embrace the warm tones that are a mainstay in wood for modern design. Of course, other hues, especially those that are brown or on the grayscale, would fit this mood, too, as long as the boards are evenly spaced and sized with a smooth finish. Fill the seams at the short end of each plank for a streamlined style that emphasizes length. Install flat shiplap with no rounded edge at the groove for a look that matches the polished precision of modern decor.
Blissfully Luxurious – Paired with marble, a chandelier, plush accents and reflective fixtures, shiplap can even appear lavish! Brush a fresh coat of glossy white paint on the smooth, straight planks of this airy accent for clean detail that brings interest. This approach to shiplap is positively dreamy in an upscale master bed or bath.
Formal Sophistication – With less reveal between boards and a fancy detailed trim, even shiplap can fit a stately setting. Try a mahogany tone as the backdrop for traditional decor to cash in on the shiplap trend without compromising your formal feel. Want something a little more contemporary? Go for a medium charcoal paint with even distribution or a dark, high gloss stain to give this often-casual wall-treatment a more serious tone.
Should you choose planks that appear to be well-worn with a rich patina? Or is your taste more suited toward a crisp, smooth finish? Taking your lifestyle and the rest of your design choices into consideration, what’s your perfect shiplap style?
Julia Marchand is a mom, blogger and avid DIYer who writes for The Home Depot. She loves to do projects that improve the aesthetic of her own and other people's homes. Visit The Home Depot for all of your decor needs.