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The History of Shiplap

Posted by Cassie Venable on

If you've been awake at any point in the past five years, you will immediately know what I'm talking about when I say this word. "Shiplap." Just the mere mention of this word conjures up images of farmhouses with cozy blankets, fresh flowers and the morning's egg collection on the counter ready to fry.

Farmhouse Shiplap KitchenPhoto credit: AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

These dreamy wood boards turn a blank wall into a wall with soul. Shiplap has become the Holy Grail of house flippers everywhere thanks to three names: Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines and HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Uncovering it is like a gold mine of style and character.  

So here’s a question I have, where does shiplap get its roots anyway? Today I’m going to answer that question for you.

As with most design trends, it’s often understanding the history behind them that gives me so much more appreciation for the craftsmanship and care it took to
create it.

Origin Story

Shiplap was originally used to refer to thin wood boards that have two opposing rabbet joints that overlap each other, giving the boards a tight seal to keep the wind and weather out.  This overlap creates a little shadow between the boards that make homeowners swoon.

Farmhouse White Shiplap KitchenPhoto credit: Painted by Kayla Payne

For interior walls, shiplap was the standard base behind a classic wallpaper install before drywall came on the home building scene.  A shiplap wall would be covered with cheesecloth or muslin to cover the seams and give the wallpaper enough grip to adhere correctly.  

Farmhouse Shiplap BathroomPhoto credit: Irwin Builds and Darby Kate Photographer


Shiplap Comeback

White Shiplap Living RoomPhoto credit: AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

Shiplap is a favorite of home decor icon, Joanna Gaines, who has highlighted the value of this beautiful old wood and taken it even further with different colors and patterns. We love you Joanna! 

Here are a few of my favorite renditions of shiplap...

Classic farmhouse

Farmhouse Shiplap KitchenPhoto credit: @blessedmommatobabygirls

Just imagine this space without this shiplap wall here. It would look so different wouldn’t it? This farmhouse-fresh look is every Fixer Upper fan’s true north when it comes to home style. 

Going Dark

Dark Shiplap Bedroom Photo credit: @restoring_home

When you need to add a little depth or drama to your space, think darker hues that will make your other decor elements pop. 

Floor to ceiling

White shiplap laundry room
Photo credit: Studio McGee

This floor to ceiling shiplap install makes this space perfectly proportional, light and airy. 

In a nook
White shiplap reading nook accent wall

Photo credit: AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

Nothing says “cozy” like snuggling up with a good book and wool blanket.  The shiplap wall inside this nook makes it look like it’s own piece of art. 

Today, recreating classic shiplap would cost time and money that most home stylists and DIY’ers wouldn’t want to spend. That’s why the internet is chock full of tutorials and inspirational photos of beautifully recreated shiplap walls.

Here at Plank and Mill, we’ve taken it a step further by creating a product that doesn’t need power tools to install. Our quick and easy install process only takes a few hours and might just make us your best friend. We’re all for it!

White shiplap kitchen

Hello WhitewashPlank & Mill whitewashed reclaimed barn wood plank

Say hello to our new 5” wide whitewash wood planks with our user-friendly peel-and-stick backing. 

These wider whitewash barnwood beauties instantly brighten any space and are available now on our website. 

Plank & Mill whitewashed reclaimed barn wood plank

Sample PacksPlank & Mill whitewashed reclaimed barn wood planks

If you’d like to see them in person before you order, snag one of our sample packs for free! We’ll send you two 3” raw reclaimed wood planks, two 3” whitewash wood planks, and we now include two of each of our 5” wide plank options as well so you can find the perfect spot in your space. Just click here to claim your free sample kit today!

Happy Planking!


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