6 genius ways to fake shiplap in your home

Create a farmhouse look with a DIY shiplap wall.

fake shiplap
(Image credit: DeVol Kitchens)

We can't get enough of modern farmhouse style, and of course, shiplap wall paneling. Thankfully, if you don't live in an antique home full of barn doors and white siding, it's pretty easy to fake the look. Creating a faux shiplap wall can be as easy as busting out a Sharpie marker and as involved as hanging plywood. 

Whatever your DIY ability levels, here are six straightforward ways to create a shiplap aesthetic. 

Peel-and-stick wallpaper

Shiplap Wall

(Image credit: Home Depot)

One of the easiest ways to create a shiplap look without picking up a paint brush or  nail gun is with removable wallpaper. This Magnolia Home design by Joanna Gaines has a beachy, aged feel for a dimensional aesthetic. If you prefer a more crisp white or distressed wood look, there are an array of peel-and-stick options to browse on Amazon

Simply hang the paper on a clean wall to create a chic accent, backsplash, or whole-room makeover. 

Paint existing wood paneling

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A photo posted by on on Jul 22, 2020 at 2:11pm PDT

If your home has outdated wood paneling, give it a crisp, farmhouse makeover with some bright white paint. For a graphic look, take a page from Martha Stewart's book and use painters tape to paint only the bottom two thirds of the room. The result has striking contrast as well as added warmth opposed to a monochromatic look. 

Use sharpie on a white wall

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Want to give a plain white wall some extra style? Believe it or not, you can create a shiplap look with a Sharpie marker and a little patience. 

Michelle at A Little House In Manchester cautions that you'll need an oil-based Sharpie (not a regular one). Before you start, test the flow of the marker on a piece of paper by giving it a shake and compressing the tip. From the top of the ceiling, measure every six inches and mark with a pencil. 

Be sure to use a level for your first line, since it's possible (and likely) your ceiling isn't perfectly straight. Use a ruler to make careful lines around the room. A thin artist's brush and white paint can easily touch up any mistakes. 

Hang plywood panels

Shiplap Wall

Realtor Andrea Viscuso created a shiplap accent wall using plywood sheets. 

(Image credit: Allegra Anderson Photography)

For an inexpensive but more permanent look, purchase large sheets of thin, 1/4-inch plywood. Then, cut the sheet(s) into six-inch strips. Ask at your local home improvement store if they can do this step for you. 

Once you have your wood panels, use a stud finder to mark the studs on the wall. Starting from the bottom and working your way up, nail the planks into the wall along the studs. Use a level as you go to ensure your planks stay straight. 

Cassity at Remodelaholic used pennies as spacers to ensure each plank was evenly spaced. For a finished look, secure MDF casing along the top plank with wood glue. 

Then, you can paint your boards white for a crisp finish. If you prefer a more rustic, farmhouse feel, stain the edges of each plank with a small brush. Cassity randomly added Vaseline before painting with white paint. When the paint was dry, she sanded the edges to reveal the stain, and the Vaseline spots sand off easily for a distressed look. 

Apply vinyl wall paneling

Shiplap Wall

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Peel-and-stick vinyl wall paneling is another great way to create a textural shiplap wall. Each roll from Wayfair comes in a 28-inch square panel. Use the website's calculator to determine how many rolls you need. Simply enter the square footage of your wall or room, and add 10-percent for extra waste and reserve. 

To hang, simply peel off the backing and stick to your wall in vertical panels. 

Recycle pallet wood

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For handy upcyclers, a DIY pallet wood wall is a great way to create inexpensive shiplap siding. First, you'll need to collect the pallets themselves. Ask around at some local small businesses to see if they have extra pallets they will be discarding. (Bigger chains are likely to have a disposal plan for their pallets already in place.)

Once you've collected enough, you'll want to deconstruct the pallets and choose the best boards. Make sure to clean each board before mounting to the wall.

Before hanging, Style By Sutherlands suggests painting your wall black. This will make for clean lines that may show through between the boards. On the ground, tape out an area that is the same size as your wall. 

Play around with arranging your boards, varying length and color. You'll want to keep working on this puzzle until you are completely satisfied with the look. Trim any ends, and then use a nail gun to attach the boards, using a nail in each of the panel's four corners. 

For a rustic, weathered look, you can keep the boards natural and unstained. For a white-washed finish, White Desert Farmhouse painted some slats black before adding white on top to create a distressed aesthetic. Or if you're going to traditional shiplap, you can paint the whole wall crisp white once you're finished. 

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