7 Great Modern Shiplap Alternatives

Christine Steuber
May 12, 2022
146
Are you tired of your shiplap walls and would like to try something different? Check out my guide on shiplap alternatives for different rooms!

Updating or decorating your home requires great attention to detail, especially when it comes to walls. You have to make sure that the aesthetic you choose will go nicely with the home’s architecture and won’t take a toll on your budget. If you’re looking for something like this, I recommend considering shiplap walls.

But since shiplap is seen in almost every house, I think we should discuss modern alternatives to spruce it up. So, I will be sharing the most unique shiplap alternatives, along with visual inspo for all rooms. 

Which designs and materials will best fit in the kitchen, living room, or bathroom? How to create unique walls that will give a dose of uniqueness to your home?

I have prepared some amazing examples that will surely make it easier for you to update your interior – from a simple, plain design to one that exudes luxury.

Let’s get started!

What Is Shiplap?

Shiplap is basically a wooden board having a groove cut at both ends. This enables the planks to fit together perfectly, creating a tight seal. In short, each wooden plank is made ready for installation. 

Now, let’s touch on the pros and cons of shiplap material.

Pros

  • You can install it easily.
  • It comes in various colors.
  • Shiplap is affordable.

Now when we know the positive aspects, let’s move to some “negative” sides.

Cons

  • The wood attracts dust. 
  • If it isn’t installed correctly, shiplap will rot or warp, especially in rooms with moisture, like the bathroom.
  • Shiplap can make your home look cliche if it doesn’t match the overall decor. 

This shows that even with its affordability, shiplap isn’t suitable for all rooms, so first, be sure that it fits your home.

Popular wood types used for shiplap

Shiplap panels are available in many wood types so that homeowners can decide which goes best with their decor. I have listed the most common options utilized for shiplap.

1. Cedar

This wood will offer the best value for money as it is long-lasting and high-quality. In fact, cedar shiplap panels have a longer lifetime than vinyl siding. Take proper care of it, and it will delight you for years to come.

2. Reclaimed wood

This is another common shiplap siding option. Reclaimed wood is perfect for any room. It is also great for those looking to decorate their homes and preserve natural resources.

3. Pine

Pine is a suitable choice if your budget is tight. But don’t expect it to be as long-lasting as cedar – it dents and gets scratches faster.

4. Plywood

The most budget-friendly method to recreate a shiplap appearance from scratch is using plywood. Search for a ¾-inch AC plywood, which is pre-sanded on one side. However, I advise you not to go for the cheapest category of plywood as it is rough on both sides and will probably chip.

5. MDF

If you’re not in the mood for wood, perhaps MDF will become your preference. This material gives a smooth finish and is 5% cheaper than other woods. 

To cut a long story short, just remember that cedar is the most water-resistant material, which makes it perfect for a bathroom. But in the rooms where moisture is not a problem, just pick the affordable pine wood.

Modern Shiplap Design Ideas

Of course, shiplap is not for everyone, which is why many homeowners hunt for modern alternatives.

So, if you’re looking for something similar to shiplap but not in its traditional sense, I have visual ideas to update your walls. Let’s get inspired!

Bathroom and laundry room inspiration

I’m my list of shiplap alternatives starting with the bathroom and laundry room, as these are the most difficult to pull off in home improvement because of moisture. But no worries – there’s always a solution.

We’ll start this section with one super-cute bathroom whose owner is Lindsey Cheney, blogger and handcrafted accessories designer. Lindsey shows that you can combine beadboard and color for a lovely visual appeal. Look how great the light plays with the wall shade:

Turquoise shiplap bathroom walls by the Pleated Poppy
Credit: Pinterest

Keep in mind that beadboard only offers partial wall coverage in the lower half. But that’s understandable as the bottom area is highly exposed to moisture. For an easier installation of beadboard, you should buy 4-feet high and 8-feet long panels. To create a refined look, pick separate beadboard planks.

For our next laundry room inspiration, I suggest you choose ceramic tiles resembling backsplash as they are resistant to slipping, bacteria, water, stain, and fade. Ceramic tiles are easy to clean, too, and available in tons of shades and patterns.

Ceramic tiles shiplap alternative example
Credit: WhyTile.com

The visual inspiration for the laundry room above showcases subway tiles, a cult favorite among many homeowners. One extra tip – these tiles are also a perfect solution to use for installing kitchen backsplash.

Ideas for living room

Now, we’re moving to the room we spend so much time in, especially quality time with our loved ones. The architecture and design of the living room should pull the whole home together. So, my shiplap alternatives for the living room will boost comfort and profile.

Let me start with the one I am planning to install in my living room in a couple of weeks. If you want to add a dose of nature to your home, consider implementing laminate or parquet beams on your wall. I am in love with the design made by Holly from Our Faux Farmhouse, who created a gorgeous wall in her cabinets, take a look:

Next on our list of alternatives to shiplap, a fluted or reeded flexible panel is composed of wood, but it can also come in upholstery or metal. Tambour is a superior substitute to shiplap since it creates a visual dimension yet is more bespoke.

In the example below, you can see how fluted panels frame the furniture in the living room:

I suggest you pick neutral shades for the panels to make the room look more open and spacious.

Modern shiplap designs for dining room

Dining rooms should be made of sturdy materials and the most durable woods as that’s where we eat daily. Most dining rooms seem to have a recurring interior theme, which can get kind of boring. However, you can shake things up with some shiplap alternatives. 

“Applied molding” is the first artsy option. This wall treatment is both classic and decorative, as you can see in the pic below:

Just remember to make the scale and dimensions accurate for the wall width and ceiling height. In my opinion, these panels would also look amazing in the halls, especially if you add some interesting chandeliers like the one you can see in the pic above. Absolutely stunning!

The next option is an organic and geometric design that transports you to mid-century style. The leaf pattern is actually made of a stick-on panel and looks fantastic in any space, including dining rooms. Check it out:

Stick-on panel shiplap wall alternative example
Credit: Etsy

The white color of the panels, just like in the example above, is ideal for small dining rooms to visually make them bigger. And if you have a spacious dining room, dare to go with some more striking colors.

Shiplap wall inspiration for bedroom

I absolutely adore cane wall panels as they boast the greatest diversity and are insanely easy to install. So, they deserve their rightful place on my list of shiplap alternatives.

This is a popular trend that can literally transform any bedroom! Cane wall panels add texture, and you can paint them in any color you like. It’s a good option to use them on damaged walls because they can perfectly cover all imperfections. I really like this design by Vintage Revivals, check it out:

For a dramatic effect, this is another stick-on panel idea that’s bursting with artistic decoration. I bet you won’t get tired of looking at this mesmerizing pattern:

Stick-on panels shiplap wall alternative example
Credit: Etsy

In fact, the longer you stare at the upward wall panel, the more its design will seem to shift. If you’re sick of matte and white walls, this design is a winner. 

As for the bedroom wall tips, oak, maple, and walnut are the best woods. Avoid using lacquer as it’s toxic for these materials.

7 Shiplap Alternatives to Save Money

If you’re on a budget, don’t worry because I will show you how working with shiplap can be totally inexpensive. Here are seven cost-effective ideas below to get on board with shiplapping.

1) Paint your wall to look like shiplap

Surely, you can always go with wallpaper in shiplap style, as it will have the same visual appeal. But what if you can’t afford it right now? The answer is easy – you can use paint and a marker. I’m serious.

To make your wall look like shiplap, show your creativity with paint and a few common tools. You can draw a perfect design that will look like a shiplap on your wall. If you are not a creative type of person, you can hire a professional or an artist who will do it for you. Take a look at this example:

And here’s another paint-only upgrade, but this time in the laundry room. Sorting clothes becomes a pleasure in a room like this, right?

Instead of burdening yourself with taking on a new home improvement project, simply take some white paint and markers. Besides, it won’t take you more than a couple hours for this DIY project.

2) Wood planking

Wood shiplap alternatives arrive in a great diversity of textures, shades, and patterns.

This option is best suitable for kitchen islands, bathrooms, ceilings, and walls anywhere in the home. Take a look at the picture below, which shows stained wood in various shades used as a shiplap alternative:

Wood planking shiplap alternative example
Credit: Homedit

Speaking of shades, you don’t have to stick with the traditional brown wood color. If you love a colorful interior, you can paint the wooden walls. Inspire yourself with this example:

Painted wooden walls shiplap alternative example
Credit: Homedit

For the above look, just pick one durable wood and paint it with your favorite shades. The combo of blue, white, and gray in the example exudes a cool vibe. You can also use this idea for some other DIY projects like tiling an outdoor table, working desk, or bed. The possibilities are endless!

3) Chevron accent wall

If you want to achieve an accent wall that subtly stands out, Chevron is a good idea. It can turn your basic room into a textured masterpiece. 

Let’s take a look at our first example. Although only one color predominates, the texture of this design is interesting and embossed, thus giving the room an open and refined look. I am in love with this classic herringbone Chevron accent wall:

Let me show you another herringbone style but in a completely different space. In the following picture, the homeowner has installed the herringbone themselves to make the narrow gap between the two walls attractive:

Herringbone pattern chevron panel wall shiplap alternative example
Credit: Iron & Twine

You can paint this playful zigzag in your favorite shade. Another advantage? Chevron accent walls are less expensive than conventional shiplap.

4) Nickel gap board

Nickel gap boasts a sophisticated profile, and it looks like shiplap cladding. But there is a difference between classic shiplap and nickel gap. The classic shiplap is made of overlapping planks that lie on each other, while nickel gap boards have interspaces with a distance between them. This option is the best for mudrooms, soffits, ceilings, and exterior siding.

The interior below shows how crisp white panels perfectly display a refreshing mix of retro and modern styles:

In the next interior, you can see one wonderful coastal, cotton-fresh bedroom with nickel gaps on the walls. A designer placed horizontal white beams vertically, which made the whole room more attractive:

Nickel gap boards shiplap alternative example
Credit: BDG

Geometric patterns and nickel gaps are a fantastic choice for all rooms in your home, and you can’t go wrong choosing them. The example above inspired me, and now I am planning to redesign my bedroom.

5) Faux brick

Exposed bricks are a timeless favorite in room interiors if you want to add depth and character. 

The good news is that you can install faux brick walls without professional help, and the process is straightforward. You might fancy the following example:

Show your artistic side through this world map! The outline of the continents and the combo of dark and white tones create a striking bohemian space.

And if the actual brick isn’t your cup of tea, then consider the sheer faux option, just like you can see in this dining room:

This white beauty can uplift any room. And the best part? You don’t need real bricks to achieve this decor!

6) Textured wallpaper

If you prefer the subtle texture of a shiplap but don’t want the hassle of installing and cutting wood planks, consider a textured wallpaper for your wall interior. You will still achieve the same result but with less effort. 

Take a look at the following example proving how well wallpapers can look fantastic and make you feel like you have a real shiplap on your wall:

I love this simple but effective wallpaper by DMarieInteriors which is made of vinyl, and it’s super-easy to install. It will add a dose of warmth to your kitchen. 

Here’s one more texture wallpaper I just adore – it perfectly fits in any urban interior:

No matter where you install these wallpapers, your guests will be impressed. The interesting shades add a luxury factor, too, so you won’t need a lot of details for home decoration at all.

7) Patterned wood

Let’s continue with patterned wood, which guarantees a fresh and chic appearance that adds a light-hearted visual dimension, just like shiplap. Even if the wood is costly and has a tendency to catch fire, no one can deny its unmatched charm, especially in Scandinavian interiors. 

Just take a look at the following example. Light and bright is the concept of this patterned wood wall which forms mesmerizing waves on plywood:

I am also into an amazing wooden paneled design inspired by the earth before continents and countries were formed. What a brilliant idea, check it out:

And if you opt for LED lights in these panels, you’ll add a dose of luxury and romantic ambiance to your bedroom.

Over to You

This concludes my guide on how to incorporate shiplap on walls in alternative ways. I hope you have gained maximum inspiration from this article.

To sum up, cedar, plywood, MDF, pine, and reclaimed wood are the best materials to use for shiplap. Wood planking, wallpapers, painting your, wall or some other options are perfectly fine to replace a classic shiplap. So go through my article once again and find the alternative that suits you best. 

If you want to learn more about home improvement and how you can upgrade your rooms, check out my previous guides and enjoy reading!

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