5 Ways to Update Your Home with Shiplap

Posted by Lee and Katherine Keadle on Friday, May 5th, 2017 at 2:46pm.

diy home projects with shiplap

Shiplap is one of the biggest new construction home trends we’re seeing right now. It’s become the modern day version of wainscoting or bead board, and we’re finding this finish on walls, ceilings, fireplaces, and cabinetry. In a coastal real estate market like Charleston, South Carolina, shiplap can brighten a home and make it feel more open and airy. Despite its bright, white color, shiplap is surprisingly easy to keep clean since the glossy finish makes it wipe-able with a mild cleaner.

Whether you’re looking to spruce up your home or update the home you’re planning to purchase, here are 5 popular trends we’ve seen with shiplap. Depending on the project you choose, this can be an affordable DIY improvement since it’s solely cosmetic. Tip: a popsicle stick or old fashioned wooden ruler make good tools for keeping the space between boards consistent. Or, you’ll find that many contractors (from flooring specialists to general handymen) can give you an estimate.

Upgrade Your Popcorn Ceiling to Shiplap

I don’t think I’ve ever met a buyer who says she wants a popcorn ceiling. However, this was a standard building finish from around the 1980’s to early 2000’s. Usually buyers compromise on a popcorn ceiling and then have it scraped to a smooth finish after they close on the home. Homeowners will pay around $1,800 to have this professionally done in a 2,000 square foot home, so why not upgrade some of your rooms to a shiplap ceiling? Especially in older homes that have standard 8 foot ceilings in the master bedroom (instead of 9+ foot or a tray ceiling that is typical with new construction), shiplap can be a great way to make your bedroom feel like a true master suite. I also see homeowners add shiplap ceilings to common areas like the den, dining room, and kitchen.

Give Your Fireplace a Coastal Feel

Unless you’re buying a brick ranch style home, you’ll find very few fireplace interiors or hearths that are brick. Most of the fireplaces in our market have a granite or marble surround with a wooden mantle that comes chest high. Any space above the fireplace is simply drywall. A simple way to dress up this space is to install shiplap. This helps to better define the fireplace and make it the focal point of your den. In dens that have high ceilings, this project helps accentuate the ceiling height and add make a statement in a space that can otherwise be architecturally bland.

For homeowners who like to have their flat screen tv above the mantle, shiplap won’t interfere at all. You can even nail the boards around the tv mount so that you don’t have to completely reinstall your mount/chords.

Create an Accent Wall in Your Bathroom

In a room that sees daily moisture, shiplap can be an aesthetic and practical solution because of that glossy paint finish I mentioned earlier. Although I’ve seen entire bathrooms refinished with the lap boards, that scale of project can be pricy (or time consuming, if you’re doing it yourself). Instead, you can create an accent wall where your sink vanity and mirror are located. This look is particularly trendy if you have a single, shaped mirror (such as a circle or oval mirror) hanging above each of the two sinks.

Brighten Bedrooms with Low or Odd Angled Ceilings

shiplap home renovation in the attic

If you have a converted attic or finished room over the garage, you probably have lower ceilings or nook-styled angles that make the room feel small or tight. I’ve seen shiplap totally transform these cramped rooms into bright spaces with architectural interest. Rooms with dormer windows also tend to make good candidates because of the added angles.

The downside to this project is that in order to pull it off, those angled cuts have to be very accurate. Otherwise, the project could go south quickly and end up looking like Ron Weasley’s hodge podge house in Harry Potter. This is usually a project for a professional rather than a DIY.

Refinish the Bar Top Side of a Kitchen Counter

When the back side of a kitchen counter is used as a bar top, it’s often finished with drywall. This means that when your kids accidentally spill their drinks or market it up with their shoes, you’ve got to pull out the Mr. Clean sponge (or do a semi-annual paint touch up). We finished our kitchen counter with shiplap, and not only does it look so much nicer, but we can easily clean up spills with a damp kitchen towel.

Do You Have More Ideas for Using Shiplap in a Home?

If so, we’d love to hear ideas in our comments section below!

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