Shiplap dresses up a contemporary bathroom. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

We love the look of shiplap decorating in modern farmhouse style homes. What if you love shiplap but prefer a different decorating style, though? We have you covered with these four shiplap decorating ideas for your home.

What is shiplap and how did it get so popular?

The name shiplap originally referred to wood planks with notches (called rabbets) cut on each side of the board. These notches allowed builders of ships, barns and homes to provide some protection from seawater and rain. Early homes used shiplap on interior walls to provide a surface for wallpaper before drywall was introduced.

Shiplap as a design feature was made popular by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Their modern farmhouse decorating with shiplap rocketed a simple plank wall to star status — but any home can benefit from this clean design element. Here’s how:

You can use shiplap in any decorating style. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

1. Shiplap is stunning in your foyer & living room

The key to decorating with shiplap in any style is to look for places in your home that need more definition. Accent walls have been popular for decades because they create a focal point for any room and can hide the lack of architectural details. The lines that shiplap creates can do both for your foyer and living room. Here’s how to use it:

  • Accentuate Your Fireplace: Installing shiplap on your fireplace wall or on the fireplace surround wall is a simple way to add an architectural element. Be sure to check local fire codes for the right clearance distances before you start your project.
  • Dress up a Pony Wall: Half walls, or “pony walls,” are used to separate rooms in your home while keeping things light and open. Installing shiplap on a pony wall transforms it from drab to fab.
  • Disguise an Awkward Staircase: The angled walls of staircases can be a design frustration. The size and shape can defy attempts to decorate them. Installing shiplap may be the perfect solution to that awkward staircase in your living room or foyer.

2. Shiplap can transform your contemporary kitchen

Shiplap is hot right now in every kitchen decorating style. But there’s more to installing shiplap in your kitchen than just slapping it on the wall. Here are inspired ideas for your contemporary kitchen:

  • More Than Just a Wall: Installing shiplap on a wall or two in your kitchen is a stylish start. Take your new look even further with open wall shelving. The linear design of shiplap with the horizontal lines of floating shelves can make your kitchen look bigger.
  • Shiplap Your Island: Give your kitchen island a custom look with shiplap. Installing your planks on the seating area and sides sets your island apart from your cabinetry for a luxury kitchen vibe.
  • Look for Alternative Materials: Creating a shiplap backsplash wall isn’t always practical, but you can still get the look with water-friendly materials. Plank-style tiles in wood patterns are popular for kitchen backsplashes and walls because of their waterproof qualities. Tile planks offer a range of colors and styles — perfect for a contemporary kitchen.

A pretty master bath gets a style boost from shiplap. Image: LugoStock/Shutterstock

3. Your bedroom and bathroom are the perfect spots for shiplap

Whether you prefer a contemporary home or are more of a boho fan, shiplap can be the design element that pulls your bathroom and bedroom design together. Get started with these tips:

  • Behind Your Bed: Shiplap is the perfect behind-the-headboard accent wall for any decorating style. Paint your headboard wall in any color, just as you would an accent wall.
  • Use Shiplap to Add Charm: Give your cottage-style bedroom a finishing touch with shiplap on the ceiling. Shiplap can add dimension and warmth to a vaulted ceiling.
  • DIY Shiplap Furniture: If you’re a DIYer, a shiplap-inspired headboard offers the clean style you love without installing an entire wall or ceiling of planks.
  • Powder Room Shiplap is Hot Right Now: The horizontal lines of shiplap can make any room look larger, which is perfect for a tiny powder room.

4. Totally unexpected shiplap decorating ideas

The beauty of shiplap is in its simplicity. You can customize it for your own decorating style. Here’s how to get creative with shiplap:

  • Colorful Shiplap: You may have seen white shiplap everywhere, but that doesn’t mean you can’t paint it whatever color you like. A shiplap accent wall in navy blue, gray or even black can look sophisticated in a contemporary home.
  • Try a New Perspective: Love shiplap but want a new look? Explore ways to use the planks vertically, diagonally or as wainscoting.
  • Shiplap Outside: The outdoor ceiling of your porch is not only a great place for installing shiplap, but it’s also perfect for adding an accent color. This look is especially stunning with a stylish light fixture.
  • Shiplap Stripes: Add drama to a room or wall with striped shiplap. This looks best with simple combinations like white and navy blue or a monochrome palette.