DIY Shiplap Accent Wall: An Easy and Cheap Way To Elevate Any Space

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I am a big fan of accent walls to transform a boring space into something with character! If you are looking to revamp a wall, a shiplap wall may just be for you. Check out my space before and after below. This was an easy DIY shiplap wall I did in my hallway in one day!

This trendy and versatile design element adds warmth, texture, and character to any space. Here, I will take you on a journey through the creation of a DIY shiplap wall, sharing tips, tricks, and all the steps needed to make your project a resounding success.

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My Hallway Views

Getting Started

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of creating a shiplap wall, let’s quickly define what shiplap actually is. Shiplap is a type of wooden board featuring a distinctive rabbet or groove along the edges. These grooves allow the boards to fit together snugly, creating a tight and visually appealing joint. Shiplap has a rich history, originating from shipbuilding techniques in the past, and has made a resounding comeback in interior design.

Supplies You’ll Need

To successfully complete your shiplap wall project, you’ll need a few key tools and materials. Here’s a rundown of the essential supplies you’ll want to have on hand:

  • Shiplap boards: I had some leftovers from a previous project, but purchased them from Lowes here.

  • Miter saw: This handy tool will be your best friend for cutting the shiplap wall boards to the desired length. This is the one I have here.

  • Hand saw: For the top piece that needed a vertical cut, a hand saw came in hand for me. This is the one I have here.

  • Nails and a nail gun: To securely attach the shiplap wall boards to the wall, a nail gun will save you time and effort. Don’t forget to choose nails that are long enough to penetrate both the shiplap and the wall, I used 2inch nails . My nail gun here.

  • Putty / Spackle: To achieve a polished finish, use putty to fill in any nail holes or gaps between the boards. Here is my favorite to use.

  • Caulk: Applying caulk along the edges of the shiplap will provide a seamless appearance, creating a professional finish. I personally like this caulk the best.

  • Paint and brushes: I chose a bold black for my accent wall, but use any color you desire.

  • Decorative elements: To add that extra touch of personality, consider incorporating decorative items like picture lights and oversized matted frames. I used a battery-powered picture light I found on Amazon here and paired it with these oversized picture frames found from the At Home Store here.

Gathering Shiplap wall boards:

Home improvement stores, such as Lowes or Home Depot, typically carry shiplap wall boards in various lengths and finishes. Additionally, online retailers and local lumberyards might offer a wider range of options, including reclaimed or specialty shiplap for a unique look. Remember to calculate the amount of shiplap you need based on your wall measurements, accounting for any cuts or waste.

Step-by-Step Installation Guide

Prepping the Wall

Measure Twice, Cut Once! Before you start cutting and nailing, it’s crucial to properly prepare the wall.

Remove any existing wall decorations, outlet covers, and switch plates.

Take accurate measurements of the wall’s height and width, and sketch out a plan to visualize the placement of your shiplap wall boards. This will help you determine how many boards you’ll need and where to make cuts for corners and openings.

Cutting Shiplap wall boards with Precision

Once you have your measurements and plan in hand, it’s time to cut the shiplap wall boards to the desired length. Utilizing a miter saw, carefully make your cuts, ensuring the ends fit together seamlessly.

Take your time, double-checking each cut, as precise measurements will result in a polished finished product.

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Cutting the shiplap wall boards
Assembling the Pieces

Nailing It! With your cut shiplap wall boards ready, it’s time to start installing them on the wall.

Use your stud finder to locate the studs first on the wall and mark where they are.

Begin at the bottom and work your way up, placing the boards snugly against each other, or against the wall if it was like mine and a wall meets each side.

Use your nail gun to attach the boards to the wall, aiming for the studs for added stability. I used 2 inch brad nails for this project.

fill nail holes with putty or spackle.  Secure with nail gun. Use stud finder to locate studs

Space your nails evenly along the length of each board, making sure to avoid splitting the wood.

Continue this process until the entire wall is covered, creating that beautiful shiplap pattern.

Filling Nail Holes

Fill in the nail holes with putty for a flawless finish. You can also use wood filler or spackle if you prefer. I used a bit of all the above. Since I had pieces that were not long enough from left over ship lap wall planks from a previous project, I used wood filler for any areas the planks met along the wall, and then spackle to fill the holes.

Using a putty knife, press the putty or spackle into each hole, smoothing it over until it’s level with the surface of the shiplap.

Allow the putty or spackle to dry, and then lightly sand the filled areas to create a seamless appearance.

Caulking for a Seamless Look

Perfection in detail to take your shiplap wall to the next level, apply a thin bead of caulk along the edges where the shiplap meets the wall. This step ensures a professional finish by hiding any gaps and giving the appearance of a solid, continuous surface.

Smooth the caulk with a caulk smoothing tool or your finger for a clean and polished look. I just used my finger as seen above.

Painting Your DIY Shiplap Walls

Now comes the fun part – adding color!

Whether you choose a bold hue like black or opt for a softer palette, painting your DIY shiplap wall will complete the transformation.

Using a high-quality paintbrush or roller, apply an even coat of paint to each board, working your way across the wall. Allow the paint to dry completely before applying a second coat, if needed, for a vibrant and consistent finish.

Tip when painting – Before installing, paint between the laps first. Once the boards are up, it can be hard to paint in between this area.

Adding Décor

To truly make your DIY shiplap wall pop, it’s time to incorporate some carefully chosen décor pieces. In my case, I opted for a battery-powered picture light and oversized matted frames. This combination adds a touch of elegance and personalization to my hallway.

Consider experimenting with different decorative elements such as mirrors, shelves, or even a gallery wall to further to enhance the visual appeal of your shiplap masterpiece.

Pros and Cons of Shiplap Accent Walls

Pros of Shiplap:

Shiplap accent walls come with a range of advantages that make them a popular choice among homeowners and interior designers alike. Some notable pros include:

Timeless appeal

Shiplap exudes a classic, rustic charm that can effortlessly blend with any interior style, from farmhouse to contemporary.

Textural depth

The horizontal lines and grooves of shiplap create an interesting and visually appealing texture, adding depth and dimension to your space.


Shiplap is not limited to accent walls; it can also be used on ceilings, backsplashes, or even as a full wall covering, allowing for endless creative possibilities.

Easy installation

With the right tools and a bit of patience, installing shiplap can be a manageable DIY project that adds significant value to your home.

Concealing imperfections

If your walls have minor blemishes or uneven surfaces, shiplap provides an excellent solution by covering up those flaws with its clean lines and uniformity.

Cons of Shiplap

While shiplap is undoubtedly a fantastic choice for many spaces, it’s important to be aware of potential drawbacks before diving into your project. Here are a few cons to keep in mind:


Depending on the type of shiplap you choose and the amount required for your project, costs can add up. Be sure to factor in the expense when planning your budget.

Limited sound insulation

Shiplap is primarily decorative and doesn’t provide significant soundproofing or insulation properties.


While shiplap is relatively easy to clean, dust and dirt can accumulate within the grooves. Regular dusting or wiping down with a damp cloth is necessary to keep it looking its best.

Removal challenges

If you decide to remove the shiplap in the future, it can be a labor-intensive process. The boards may be nailed or glued to the wall, requiring careful removal to avoid damage to the underlying structure.

To recap

By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you’ve embarked on a creative project that enhances the beauty and personality of your space. With its versatility, timeless appeal, and ability to add texture and depth, shiplap is a winning choice for any interior design enthusiast. I love shiplap because you can create anything from a farmhouse shiplap wall, to a modern shiplap look in a hallway like I did.

As you dive into your shiplap adventure, remember to measure carefully, make precise cuts, and take your time to ensure a professional finish. Don’t forget the finishing touches of putty, caulk, and paint, as they elevate the overall look and feel of your shiplap wall. And finally, enjoy the process and embrace the unique charm that a shiplap accent wall brings to your home.

So go ahead, let your creativity shine, and transform your walls into works of art with the delightful allure of shiplap. Happy DIY-ing!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I Install Shiplap by Myself?

Absolutely! With the right tools and a bit of patience, installing a shiplap wall can be a rewarding DIY project. Just make sure to follow the proper safety precautions and take accurate measurements to ensure a seamless installation.

What Type of Shiplap Material Should I Use?

Shiplap is available in various materials such as pine, cedar, and engineered wood. Pine is a popular choice due to its affordability and natural beauty. Cedar offers a more durable and rot-resistant option, making it suitable for areas with higher moisture levels. Engineered wood shiplap provides stability and consistency while mimicking the look of solid wood.

How Do I Ensure Proper Alignment?

To achieve proper alignment, it’s crucial to start with a level base. Use a level or a laser level to ensure your first row of shiplap is perfectly straight. This will set the foundation for the rest of the installation.

Can Shiplap Be Installed on Textured Walls?

Yes, shiplap can be installed on textured walls. However, it’s important to note that the texture may affect the overall appearance. You may need to add additional furring strips or apply a thin layer of drywall to create a smooth surface before installing the shiplap.

Is Shiplap Suitable for Bathrooms and Kitchens?

Shiplap can be a great choice for bathrooms and kitchens, adding a touch of elegance and character. However, it’s essential to properly seal and protect the shiplap in areas with high humidity or moisture. Consider using a waterproofing sealer or painting the shiplap with moisture-resistant paint to prevent any potential damage.

How Do I Clean and Maintain a Shiplap Wall?

Regular dusting with a soft cloth or a gentle vacuum attachment will help keep your shiplap wall clean. For deeper cleaning, you can use a mild soap and water solution, being careful not to oversaturate the wood. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that could damage the finish.

Can I Install Shiplap Over Existing Wallpaper?

While it’s technically possible to install shiplap over existing wallpaper, it’s generally not recommended. The wallpaper may create an uneven surface, and the adhesive may not hold the shiplap securely. It’s best to remove the wallpaper and prepare a smooth wall surface before installing the shiplap.

Can Shiplap Be Used as an Exterior Wall?

Shiplap is typically used for interior applications. While it can be used for exterior walls, it’s important to choose a weather-resistant material and ensure proper installation and sealing to protect against moisture and other external elements.

What’s the Difference Between Shiplap and Tongue and Groove?

Shiplap and tongue and groove are often used interchangeably, but they are slightly different. Shiplap boards have a groove on one edge and a corresponding rabbet or overlapping edge on the other. Tongue and groove boards, on the other hand, have a protruding tongue on one edge that fits into a groove on the opposite edge, creating a tight joint.

Can I Remove Shiplap without Damaging the Wall?

While it can be challenging to remove shiplap without damaging the wall, it is possible with proper care and technique. Start by removing any caulk along the edges of the boards using a putty knife or caulk removal tool. Then, carefully pry the boards away from the wall using a pry bar or a similar tool, working from the bottom up. Take your time and apply gentle pressure to avoid damaging the drywall or underlying structure. If the boards are glued, you may need to use a heat gun or adhesive remover to soften the glue before removal. Patch any holes or damage left behind with spackle or joint compound, sand it smooth, and repaint the wall as needed.

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