Shiplap accent wall: design ideas and styles

The accent wall is one of the most relevant design techniques today. The design of one of the walls uniquely allows you to successfully solve several tasks – from zoning to expanding the color palette and texture combinations.

The most common options for highlighting an accent wall are painting in a contrasting color or pasting with wallpaper of a different color or with a pattern if monochrome is chosen as the primary solution. Recently, however, an interesting trend has been observed – creating an accent wall with qualitatively different materials, including natural wood.

Environmental friendliness and the unique warm texture of wooden elements attract more and more fans. The wide range of solutions allows you to create accent walls for any palette and interior style. The types of materials are no less diverse, among which the shiplap deserves special attention. Practicality, ease of installation, and everyone’s favorite natural texture open up unlimited possibilities for new experiments. Are you intrigued? Then it’s worth talking about the shiplap accent wall in more detail.

What is shiplap and the pros of a shiplap accent wall?

The surface of shiplap wall panels is not distinct from an ordinary wooden plank – its main feature is its readiness for installation. On each side of each such element, a rabbet (groove)  is provided. Thanks to this, the boards are placed evenly, reliably, and with the smallest possible gap.

Shiplap-like structures appeared in the 18th century in Northern Europe, where shipbuilding was widely developed. It was necessary to find a solution for the tightest fit to avoid leaks, so a groove was made in the boards on one side. Later, the fastening method was improved to the known today shiplap, and the technology was adopted not only in shipyards but also for construction on the land.

The grooved board has shown itself to be an excellent material for practicality, safety, and aesthetics. Therefore, it has been widely used in the construction of houses and of various kinds of outbuildings. In residential buildings, the shiplap’s decorative function was not considered, in principle, until 2013, when designers Chip and Joanna Gaines decided not to cover the wall but simply paint it white. This solution quickly gained popularity, and gradually shiplap began to be used as an independent material for decoration.

Today, there are more and more options for using the shiplap, and the design of an accent wall is on the list of the most demanded. However, such popularity is quite natural, since, in terms of decoration, shiplap has a lot of advantages:

  • Cozy and up-to-date texture. Since the existence of interior trends as such, one can hardly remember the time when natural wood was out of fashion. Today, in an era of sensible consumption, a craving for nature, and eco-movements, wooden accents fill the interior with a special meaning.
  • Security. Raw materials for shiplap must meet fairly strict quality standards, and therefore when buying a shiplap from a trusted supplier, you can be sure of its harmlessness. As for paints and varnishes, you can purchase them yourself, giving preference to your trust’s compositions.
  • Diversity. The accent wall is appropriate in the bedroom, living room, bathroom, dining room, and even in the kitchen and nursery. If you don’t like the lack of space between the boards, and you want something more close to shabby, then, in this case, you will have plenty to choose from – some brands offer a trendy shiplap with nickel joints.
  • Easy installation. If you wish, you can build an accent wall yourself – although in some cases, contacting specialists becomes a much more reasonable decision.

Shiplap accent wall: interior styles

Before going to the store for tools and boards, you should finally make sure that such a solution is appropriate for your interior. Despite its impressive versatility, the shiplap accent wall will not fit into any design. However, the answers to the question of relevance, as a rule, lie on the surface: for classical, neoclassical, and art deco styles, the shiplap as a decor, of course, will not work, but in more modern interiors, it looks very organic. Let’s talk about them in more detail.


Modern is conciseness, elegance, muted noble shades, and an increasing attraction to natural textures. A shiplap accent wall will make the interior look more lively and relaxed and add warmth and naturalness. Simultaneously, designers suggest choosing neutral and dark shades for the shiplap – a combination of neat styling and a discreet palette will preserve harmony and add sophistication.


Most of the buyers of wooden boards as decor are fans of contemporary style. In such interiors, wood is always appropriate – the main thing is not to overdo it with quantity. The light, varnished shiplap will be the perfect addition to any interior. However, if you want to add brightness to your design, then you can easily paint the board in different colors.


A shiplap accent wall for an eco-style interior can be called a kind of must-have. Such a solution looks extremely sophisticated in the bathroom in combination with porcelain stoneware and stone. It opens up unlimited possibilities for decorating with natural materials in the living room – and first of all, with moss and climbing green plants.


The shiplap is widely used in interiors decorated in the Scandinavian style – at the same time, accent walls are often found in the living room’s design. Wood planks with a preserved and open texture or painted in pale pastel colors create a moderate contrast to such an interior’s characteristic light walls.

Industrial and loft

Wood remains the characteristic material for these styles, along with concrete, metal, and glass. The wall finished with shiplap allows you to bring visual warmth to the interior, make it more comfortable and inviting. As a rule, you have to create a shiplap accent wall opposite the door or window and place the decor on it – mainly photographs and posters. The main thing is not to subject the wood to meticulous processing: open and rough textures look much more advantageous and natural in industrial style.

French country and vintage

The shiplap wall creates a charming combination with the characteristic floral wallpaper. Moreover, thanks to it, you can create an extremely harmonious composition by decorating wooden furniture, shelves, and even doors in the room in the same color. As a rule, accent surfaces are almost entirely covered by exquisite antique décor – collages, posters, wall clocks and candlesticks, fabric and paper garlands – but their warm texture fills each piece with a unique aura.

Coastal and Nautical

The interior, typical of the sunny coast, can be made even cozier with an accent wall made of light wood, covered with clear varnish, or painted with white or light beige paint. You can choose any width of shiplap board, place stylish decor on it or leave it completely open – it’s all up to you. However, it is imperative to ensure high-quality installation and tight seal of the elements since coastal implies perfection in everything.

With the nautical style, the situation is somewhat different – it is merely necessary to recreate the spirit of distant wanderings. That is why, when preparing a shiplap board for an accent wall, you can afford a slight carelessness – cover it with stain, paint with wide, uneven strokes, or use a brushing technique.

A charming and fresh design inspired by American coastal homes decades ago is an incredibly harmonious base for shiplap fireplaces. Smooth surfaces, delicious whites and milky tones – and the fireplace already seems to be an integral part of your living room.


An interior that seems to have absorbed all the sun, warmth, and enjoyment of every moment of life, characteristic of Southern Europe, is tough to imagine without natural wood elements. In such interiors, designers prefer to use a combination of wooden accent walls with plastered and stone-finished surfaces – and the masonry characteristic of shiplap emphasizes the naturalness and ease of any combination.

Shiplap accent wall: ideas by room

As we said earlier, shiplap wall decoration offers an impressive array of options and allows you to play with decor placement and space. Any solution you choose can be played differently, depending on the room where you plan to decorate the accent wall. We bring to your attention the ways of embedding shiplap surfaces into the interior – in every living space, where it may be appropriate.

Living room

The room where we usually spend time with the whole family, meet guests, and celebrate important events is the most popular option for the accent wall location. In this case, the following solutions are possible:

  • An accent wall behind the shelving. Designing a shiplap accent wall where open shelving will be located is a rather ingenious undertaking. Thanks to the shiplap background, the structures will look more expensive and more spectacular, and all the furniture along the wall will make a harmonious ensemble.
  • Fireplace decoration. In this case, we are talking about decorating with shiplap the wall in which the fireplace structure is located. This allows not only to focus on the fireplace but also to add visual comfort to the atmosphere. Simultaneously, designers insist on the careful handling of this kind of material when it comes to fire hazards. If you are still adamant in your decision to decorate a shiplap accent wall, take care of special processing and try to find boards with the ability to expose gaps between the elements.
  • Accent wall with a TV. If you do not get tired of being inspired by wood texture, we recommend the simplest and, one might say, the only solution possible in such cases – an accent on the wall opposite the sofa, where the TV is usually placed. Precise transverse lines will distract your attention from time to time, which will allow your eyes to rest, and pleasant warm shades of wood will help create a unique hygge atmosphere – home comfort, relaxation, and serene happiness.

As in all other cases, you will undoubtedly appreciate another advantage of the shiplap – the ability to place wall decor on it easily. Fiddling with a concrete or stone wall can take a lot of time, but the wood will “accept” any fastener without problems.


Decorating the accent wall in the bedroom with shiplap allows you to add a little more variety to the calm surface textures without sacrificing either color balance or interior harmony. All that remains is to choose a wall to accentuate. A shiplap accent wall behind the bed will emphasize the elegance, ease, and beauty of the headboard. A shiplap on the opposite wall will inspire ideas and solutions that are extraordinary in terms of decor.

Another point that you have to decide is the layout of the wooden elements. A more traditional horizontal arrangement will help visually expand the room and create a cozy atmosphere; the vertical placement – visually stretches it up and create a wonderful accent.

Dining room

As for the dining room, here, the shiplap accent wall is a win-win option and a symbol of comfort and relaxation. It is the key to creating an environment that radiates naturalness and safety and at the same time looks especially relevant. At the same time, designers recommend choosing the colors for the shiplap more carefully, since each of them has its aura and meaning:

  • Subtle white – airy and inspiring, and is a good solution for dining rooms in different styles.
  • Beige and cream – warmer shades help you relax and feel warm and safe and improve your appetite.
  • Gray is sophisticated and austere; it perfectly suits interiors in such styles as modern and contemporary and serves as an excellent backdrop for fashionable wall decor.
  • Dark blue is one of the trendiest shades for painted shiplap planks, creating an elegant and mysterious atmosphere.


Previously, the bathroom and the wood did not seem very compatible, but with the advent of numerous water-repellent impregnations, this problem has ceased to be so acute. If the room’s size allows, you may well decorate one of the walls with shiplap. You can choose the location option yourself – in the washing area behind the mirrors or on the wall opposite to it, to be able to admire the well-placed decor.

Kitchen, children’s room, recreation area, spacious hall – you can create an accent wall with the help of shiplap almost everywhere. Competent selection, correct installation, precisely chosen color and surface finish – and you get a spectacular interior detail with an exclusive and expressive texture.

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