» DIY: Shiplap built-in: The look without the commitment

We are all tuned in to Joanna and her shiplap ways. But honestly, I’m a bit daunted by the idea of doing an entire room in shiplap. We all remember what happened with paneling right? It was cool… until it wasn’t and that stuff isn’t fun or cheap to pull out and replace. So despite Joanna and her charming renovations I’m not convinced we should all shiplap with abandon. That said… I did really want a bit in my house. It fits the style of my home and the decor… which my good friend has described as coastal farmhouse with an international flair. That was really kind of her. Mostly, I have a mix of old things I’ve painted with treasures from my travels to other countries. I’m eclectic at best.

Any-way, as I pondered where to add this bit of shiplap my eyes landed on the built-in section of our current dining area. I say current, because I’ve moved our dining space a few times since owning this house. When we moved in the built-in was a poop-ish colored mustard brown. I painted it a creamy white. A few months later I added chalkboard paint on the back of it. It’s kind of been a disastrous work in progress. Here is a before shot after all the creamy white and chalkboard paint attempts. Mostly, I was just trying to get by with it while I dealt with bigger projects like bathrooms that were pea-green and carpeted. This seemed like the perfect solution for a shiplap nod without a huge commitment.

To save money I went to Lowe’s and had them rip a sheet of plywood underlayment into 5.5 in strips. If I were doing shiplap on walls I would go a bit wider but I based this on the measurements I took between the shelves. I spend just $17 on the wood for this project so it was a very low-cost high reward situation. The installation itself was very easy. I simply used a level to check each board, nailed them in, using nickels as spacers between the boards and continued until the space was filled in. I really wanted the shiplap to look rustic on the back of the shelving so I left twice as much space at the end of each board. Most shiplap seamlessly flows into the next board, adding more space before placing the adjacent board gave this a heftier feel, in my opinion. Once all the boards were nailed in I painted the creases and then followed up with a roller to give the boards a smooth coat of paint. It took 3 coats of paint to cover everything well. One last tip, I used a zip zag of liquid nails on the backs of the boards to prevent any bowing.

If you are looking for a one day project to add just a hint of shiplap to your home look around… you may find inspiration in the corners and shelving of your home. Just a little goes a long way! Here is the finished project! Well, mostly finished. The angled section at the bottom will soon be cut and refashioned to make a hinged door that will provide enclosed storage space. Right now it’s a magazine display area… no time for that. Stay tuned for a little update once the hinged section is added.

P.S. Don’t judge me if I lose my mind and commit to shiplap in an entire room. Because once you have a little shiplap you forget about your reasons for not shiplapping every darned thing in your house. The charm of shiplap might just be too hard to resist!

About the author

Erica

Erica is an advocate for simplicity, family time, making a cozy home and loving others well. She is the community coordinator for One Orphan, the orphan care ministry of America World Adoption Association. Erica and Calvin have four young children; Elliott, Charlotte, Lola and Liam. They currently reside in Nashville, TN.

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