DIY Shiplap Project

When Jeff and I moved into our home back in 2015, we knew there were some changes we wanted to make over time.  The trouble for me, is that it takes me a long time to commit to a design decision, because I find that I am attracted to so many different styles and aesthetics.  I have loved the bohemian trend, mid-mod inspired decor, high-contrast details, and of course, the ever-popular modern farmhouse look made so trendy by my fav TV couple – Chip & Joanna Gaines.

As a result, it has taken a while for me to settle on the cohesive look I want to achieve throughout my home, but little by little, decisions are being made and changes are taking place.  Changes that are leaving me so happy with the results that I’ve wondered why I didn’t make the decision years ago!

This summer, we plan to do a lot of updates throughout the house, as we have suddenly found ourselves with more down time than we know what to do with!  So, if you’re interested in following our process, and maybe learning a little from our triumphs – and mistakes – feel free to check out my series of home DIY’s over the next few months!

Today’s post is dedicated to our most recent project – installing DIY shiplap in our living room.  I have wanted to tackle DIY shiplap for about a year now, but just couldn’t decide where to start.  It wasn’t until a good friend of mine installed DIY shiplap in her master bedroom that I finally got up enough courage to really consider doing it ourselves. I was debating between our master bedroom and our living room, and finally settled on our living room, as I felt it would pack the most punch and be a relatively easy way to experiment with DIY shiplap.

The reason I felt our living room would be an easy place to start is because the main wall is actually broken into three sections, and I didn’t want the hassle of trying to line up board lengths along a continuous wall the first time we attempted shiplap. Our living room had been painted a medium-grey tone, and although I do love grey, I wanted to lighten up the space with white shiplap walls, and also add some character and dimension to the space.

Here is a snapshot of our living room before the renovation:

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

As you can see, there were also built-in-bookshelves in the one corner of the room, which – while functional – added to the overall dark feeling of the room.  So, our first step was to remove the bookshelves and see what we were dealing with behind.  I was so pleased to see how much space we gained by removing the built-ins.


The next step was to measure the walls that we wanted to shiplap, both the width and the height, so we knew how much material to purchase.  Once we had those measurements, we headed off to a Home Depot in Saskatoon to find what we needed.  We ended up purchasing five 8 ft x 4 ft sheets of 3/8 thick pre-sanded plywood.  It was a bit more expensive to purchase the sanded sheets ($44.20/sheet) compared to around $32 for un-sanded, however, for us the extra cost was worth avoiding the added time and labor to sand ourselves.


We then had Home Depot cut the plywood into 6 inch wide lengths for us.  We paid a total of $8 for all of the sheets to be cut, which again, was definitely worth the expense as opposed to having to cut the boards ourselves.  Because our walls were different lengths, we first had them cut the whole board down to the correct length, and then had the individual 6 inch wide boards cut.


Other materials we purchased included:

  • Nails for the air-nailer (we were able to borrow an air-nailer, but you could rent one as well)
  • Sherwin Williams Alabaster White Paint & Primer in One

I had been agonizing over which white to select- which I know my husband thought was ridiculous since to him, they are all just white.  But I’m so glad we ended up going with the Alabaster White!  It’s the perfect warm white, without looking yellow.  One gallon canister was enough for the shiplap portion of our project, but we did purchase a second canister to complete two additional walls in our living room for a more cohesive effect.


Once we had all of our supplies home, I really can’t express how easy this project was! Because all of the boards had been pre-cut to the exact measurements of the walls, all we really had to do was line the correct board lengths up with each wall and nail them in place.

In order to ensure that our nail holes lined up, we broke the wall down into equal parts, and drew vertical lines on the wall itself to serve as our guideline.  At this point I was still undecided about whether or not I wanted to fill the nail holes, or leave them for a more rustic look – so it was important to me that the nail holes were placed somewhat consistently.


We started at the top of the wall as opposed to the bottom, in case there were any issues that needed resolving; people are more likely to look up than down at the floor.  We also needed to figure out how to properly space the boards.  A friend recommended we use nickels (a Canadian 5cent coin) and it worked perfectly!


The only other factor to consider was that our walls were grey, not white, and we wanted to make sure the space between each board was white as well.  So, instead of painting the entire wall and then covering the majority of it with plywood, we just used a hand-held paintbrush to paint the spaces between each board as we went along.


The process of installing each board was really simple, and Jeff and I were able to do it ourselves in an evening.  We did need to trim down the odd board to account for imperfect walls, but the fixes were minor and easy to achieve with a basic jigsaw.

We also had the added challenge in our space of needing to trim the stones shown below, as they were pressed right up against the wall, and we needed to be able to slide our shiplap boards in behind.  Luckily it was a really quick and easy job using a reciprocating saw with a masonry blade.  It was a pretty messy job, but it worked really well!


Once all of the shiplap boards had been placed, our next task was to paint the boards using the Sherwin Williams Alabaster White Paint & Primer in One.  We chose to roll the first coat, and then for added texture, we hand-painted the second coat.  I also decided to leave the nail holes exposed.  I really like the more rustic look for now, and I figure if I get tired of the look, filling the holes for a more polished look will be an easy fix down the road.


The entire project cost us about $300 CND, which was excellent bang for our buck, as I’m so happy with how the room looks now.  As I mentioned earlier, we also ended up painting the two adjacent walls the same Alabaster White, and the whole space is so much more open and airy now.  It was a great first attempt at DIY shiplap, and I’m already excited about where we might try installing it next!


Diy Shiplap (1)


Please feel free to ask any questions regarding our process!  We gathered tips and advice from others and the internet before embarking on the project ourselves, and there are literally hundreds of step-by-step DIY’s you can follow if this isn’t quite the look you’re going for!  I’m also still working on all the finishing touches of this room – would love to hear your feedback!

August is here! Be part of (5)















6 thoughts on “DIY Shiplap Project

  1. What a great transformation! I love how one weekend can make such a huge difference in how the room looks.

  2. I have to say, I really like your shiplap and I’m not usually a fan. I love that it’s white so it’s still bright and welcoming. Beautiful!

  3. The space is quite lighter now. I love the wooden box in the middle! Though I would have kept the bookshelf, just because I love a good library

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