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Create an Accent Wall with Shiplap

Get the classic look of reclaimed wood with easy-to-install shiplap wall planks. Cover an accent wall—or an entire room—to give your home that rustic, historical touch.

Shiplap walls in living room.

What Is Shiplap?

Detail of installed shiplap wall with pendant light.

Shiplap paneling can add instant age, texture, rusticity and a focal point to any room in your house. It is affordable and easy to install yourself with just a few basic tools—a saw, level, stud finder and hammer and nails. What is it exactly, though? It’s simply the term for boards that have grooves cut into their edges for a tight, overlapping fit. Shiplap walls shown in the entry above make a lovely backdrop for accessories on a console table topped with chalky finish paint in Theater Wrap. A globe pendant light and a chevron-pattern floor runner finish out the space.

Measure and Buy Shiplap Materials

Shiplap planks with overlapping edges.

Measure your space to determine how many planks you’ll need. Purchase and then store the planks inside your house for at least 10 days to let the material acclimate to your indoor humidity level.

Shop for Shiplap Wall Panels and Planks

Good to Know

For a more historical appearance, purchase and use square black masonry nails to get the look of antique cut nails. Shop Masonry Nails

How to Install Shiplap

Shiplap planks showing a miter, bevel and butt joint.

Shiplap planks can be fastened to walls either vertically or horizontally. Simply nail through drywall directly into wall studs. You can use construction adhesive if installing on ceilings or over other surfaces in good condition—just finish-nail in place to hold the pieces while the adhesive dries.

Trim corners, ceilings and floors with smaller 1-inch x 4-inch boards. Options depend on your style preference and skill level. A compound miter saw will help you piece together planks and trim using a mix of butt joints, miter joints and bevel joints. For more tips, see our DIY video on installing shiplap.

How to Use a Miter Saw

Good to Know

If running your planks vertically, you may need to install furring strips on a minimum of 24-inch centers. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Coordinating Shiplap With Your Decor

Accent wall with white shiplap.

Shiplap walls create a focal point in an entry or living space. Play up the rustic look with simple accessories such as a chalky-painted table or repurposed dresser.

Learn to apply a DIY Chalk Finish Paint