Budget-Friendly Modern Shiplap DIY

by Diana
12 Materials
2 Days
Shiplap is incredibly popular right now all thanks to Joanna Gaines. She has transformed the “feature wall” and has given “texture” a whole new look and feel. I wanted to emulate the popular farmhouse shiplap but with a modern twist.
We had Home Depot rip 3 – 4’x8′ sheets of floor underlayment into 8″ planks. Though this is a great service, the boards are not all identical or completely even. Luckily, it’s not noticeable once your wall is complete.

Measure the height of your wall and divide it so that you'll have the same size board for your entire wall.

Once you get the boards home, you’ll want to sand all sides of the board with a fine grit sand paper. I used my handy Mouse sander, which made the process go by much quicker.
You’ll then want to prime the boards before placing them on your wall. This includes not just the front but all sides as well. This just makes the whole painting process go by much quicker. I used my trusty Zinsser to prime the boards. Allow them to dry for a few hours or overnight before assembling your wall.
Before attaching your first board, find your studs using a stud finder and mark them with small X’s down your wall.

Starting from the top, place your first board flush with the ceiling or molding. Use your level to make sure your first board is straight before attaching it to the wall. If your first board is off, then the whole wall will be crooked. Apply a thin layer of liquid nails or wood glue on the back of the board and nail 1-1/4″ finish nails into the corners and/or studs. A brad nailer would make this project go much quicker, but we’ve yet to make the splurge.

You can use either pennies or nickels as your spacers. We chose nickels because I wanted the gap to be slightly larger. Place a few of them along the board as a gracious assistant helps you hold up the board below. Continue gluing and nailing down your wall.
We used a circular saw to cut the boards to length because they were a bit too wide to use our miter saw. Either tool would work depending on your plank size. Measure precisely, but don’t fret. The edges will be covered with quarter round trim and caulk for a clean look.

For the longer portions of the wall, we butted two boards against each other and used wood filler in the seam to make the boards appear as one long board. This is totally preference. You can space them just like the horizontal gaps as well.
We used quarter round trim on either side of the wall for a finished look and caulked around the window and moldings to hide any unfinished or rough edges. Apply caulk wherever the planks come in contact with moldings or trim. This step is one of the ways to make the shiplap wall appear more clean-lined and modern instead of farmhouse rustic.

As for the switch plate, we used switch and receptacle spacers to bring the outlet out so that we could place the switch plate back on the wall.
After the caulk is dry and the spackling has been sanded, you’re ready to paint. I used Ultra Behr White in eggshell. Ultra Behr White is what’s on the shelf on Home Depot. Just have them shake it for you so that it’s ready to use when you get home. This bright white really brightened up the room and visually raised the ceiling another foot. It also added just the right amount of contrast to the wall color, which is Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore.

When rolling on your paint, take an old credit card or gift card to wipe off the excess paint in the gaps. Paint a few boards then clean out the gaps. This process will assure that you’re getting to the excess paint before it dries.
The Result

Out of all of the projects we’ve tackled in this room, this one has truly transformed the space the most. I didn’t realize what a little ripped plywood could do to a space until it was all said and done.
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 22 questions
  • Joseph Girard Joseph Girard on Apr 17, 2019

    Home Depot charges for making cuts. Is there a reason you didn't do it yourself with either a table saw or a circular saw?

  • Millies_mom47 Millies_mom47 on Apr 18, 2019

    We rent but have permission from our landlord to paint and he's paying for the paint we use and because our big living/diningroom wall has damaged painted wall paper on it, we don't want the damage to show with a lighter paint color. So we're going to do shiplap as well. We have an issue, our wall is a vaulted ceiling with a beam at the top of the vault, so when planning on how much shiplap we'll need how do we measure the vaulted part of the wall with the beam cut in? I hope that makes sense.

  • Vern Vern on Apr 24, 2019

    Where/whenwasthe spackling used?

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  • Theresa Predmore Theresa Predmore on May 21, 2019

    Thank you very helpful

  • Meem Kaplan Meem Kaplan on May 27, 2019

    Love your plank walls! Very well done! (BTW, "shiplap" is an exterior siding with one side narrower and the other side quite a bit wider. I don't know why plank walls are confused with the shiplap siding but it seems to be a common trend now....) I think you did a fabulous job!