The Shiplap Wall Trend Continues


Shiplap Wall | Madison WI | Sims Exteriors & Remodeling
This is shiplap in a contemporary setting – making an impact in a modern home.

A popular TV show brought a decades-old design trend to the forefront – the shiplap wall. It’s a traditional look that has its roots in American interior design history. Some people say it was a fad that’s gone away. Not true. There’s still plenty of room for shiplap creations in your Madison WI home.

There are plenty of uses for a shiplap look in both traditional and contemporary plans. You don’t have to be recreating and early American farm style to make it work for you. Getting creative with shiplap allows for it to work with almost any décor.

Let’s clear up one misconception: not every use of boards on a wall is really shiplap. The term has been misapplied for years. True shiplap is a series of grooved wooden pieces joined horizontally. The grooves are the key. That said, boards not engineered to fit together in a “tongue and groove” pattern are certainly excellent for achieving great affects. Call them shiplap or not, if they work and look good that’s what matters, right?

While some high-end designers say shiplap is outdated the majority agree that’s not true. There will always be a place for creative uses of plain wooden boards. They are ideal for defining spaces and adding character to a cozy room.

Make The Most Of A Shiplap Wall

When you hear the term shiplap the word farmhouse usually comes to mind. Thank you HGTV. Honestly, using individual boards horizontally or vertically on a wall (or even a ceiling) adds visual interest to any space. It’s as useful in an ultra-modern home as it is in a country-style. It makes a statement anywhere in the house from the bedroom and living areas to the kitchen.

Shiplap Wall | Madison WI | Sims Exteriors & Remodeling
Combining elements of design in this dining rooms shows how boards on a wall blends in.

Top interior designers have embraced the versatility and creative simplicity of the idea. Among their top suggestions for adding the concept to your home remodel are:

  • Don’t get boxed in – using long, straight boards you’re creating a box-like effect. Think outside that box for extra impact. Use boards vertically to give a space added height, drawing the eye upward. Apply the boards at an angle for an artistic touch.
  • Keep it clean – while not true shiplap, wall boards evenly spaced with a gap between allows for an interesting pattern. A unique and popular approach is painting the wall behind the boards a dark color (sometimes even black) and allowing it to show between the boards like grout on tile.
  • Paint sets the mood – if you’re going for a rustic, cabin in the woods look you can leave the boards alone (or stain them a natural hue). Otherwise painting the boards is the way to go. White offers a fresh, clean look in the kitchen, laundry room of entry for instance. In smaller spaces like a mud room consider darker colors for added emphasis and dramatic effect. In the bedroom think restful colors.
  • Think ‘sizzle’ – just because you’re covering the walls in wood doesn’t mean you’re roughing it. Painting the boards with contemporary colors in a nice high-gloss adds to the impact and brings out the texture you can never get with drywall.

Fit Shiplap To Your Lifestyle

Installing horizontal boards on the wall can make a small space feel larger. And the shiplap design adds impact and interest. But you’re not sure the shiplap idea makes sense for your home, right? Before you make the final decision, consider additional options:

  • Give it a test – before making a huge commitment to wood on the walls, try it in a small space. When you redo a powder room or guest room use it on an accent wall. Paint it to match the other walls or add interest and contrast with a different color. If it works you can build it into other spaces.
  • Mix and match materials – you are not limited to all shiplap style or all drywall. The obvious choice is some of each. In addition you have many other materials that work well in both historic and contemporary urban design. Consider mixing wood on the walls along with brick, stone or tile. Wood adds warmth to elements like brick and stone that can be cold. In a contemporary kitchen a shiplap wall is an excellent partner for marble countertops and backsplash, for instance.
  • Change up the size – a 6-inch wide board is a standard size for a shiplap installation. Why not mix in other widths for added interest? There’s nothing that says each board has to be exactly like the one before or after it. Mixing widths on walls and wood floors provides a less formal, more relaxed feel.

If You Like A Shiplap Wall – Go For It!

In the final analysis not every home or lifestyle benefits from the use of shiplap on walls or ceilings. Popular TV and remodeling resources made it extremely popular and pushed it to the brink of extinction. Never has the saying “too much of a good thing” been better applied. The concept of shiplap became a “must have” element just because it was trending in the media. The rush is over. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of date or behind the times if you want it for your Madison area home. Interior design is about personality and personal style. If you like it and it works in your daily life, go for it. At the same time, consider how it may or may not impact the resale value of your home. Too much “country” might turn off a would-be buyer in the future. But, boards on the wall doesn’t have to mean cabin living. It can be as ultra-modern as you want. The bottom line: it’s your home, it’s your choice.

For additional advice and counsel on how best to bring new life to your home call Sims Exteriors & Remodeling at 608-825-4500 or email us to begin the process. The remodeling professionals at Sims has been serving the Madison area for decades. Take advantage of our years of experience, craftsmanship and attention to detail when it comes to creating a true shiplap wall in your Madison WI area home.

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