Installing Shiplap in Our Dining Room

October 27, 2011   //  Posted in: Dining Room, DIY   //  By: Emily   //  25 responses

When I plotted to decorate a barren wall in the dining room as one of my October must-do’s, I want you to know, I had no plan in mind.

I thought about reinstating my stairwell gallery, considered adding a few new large IKEA RIBBA frames, and also considered adding a shelf to the brackets installed with the intention of holding enormous reclaimed wood frames, but because they were hung high, it felt wacky. I also played with the idea of layering a second shelf beneath it to even it out on the wall, but it just still felt too above-my-head, too weird an option. Welcome to the brain of the serially-indecisive.

Dining room wall. Blank, boring, before.

And then I figured out what I’d do: Because I’m still having a total lovefest over the stained shiplap that I installed in my bedroom, it occurred to me that I could duplicate that cozy, knotty pine look in my main living area (and enjoy it all the live-long day). After all, the wall I was eyeing to oomph-up (a technical design term) was very similar to the wall in my bedroom that I refinished: single window, no outlets to be jutting around, very simple window trim, and it otherwise unoccupied with curtain rods or weird angles. Best of all, it was a great excuse to carry that lovin’ feeling all throughout the house (you know how I’m always striving for a sense of cohesiveness in my palette).

I did things a little different this time based on what I experienced in the previous shiplap project. After having measured out the square-footage of the wall in the dining room, I bought 25 8-foot shiplap boards from Lowe’s (just about $200 when you consider taxes). I loaded them into the garage with a plan to do every minute of staining them out there.

Got shiplap? Got shiplap.

My outdoor staining plan was much easier for a number of reasons, and I’m surprised how much I enjoyed doing the project this time around. As my Mom reminded me on Monday, “Didn’t you say you wouldn’t stain again as long as you lived? Are you setting yourself up for dissapointment?”… I can be a bit dramatic when I’m covered in stain and sleeping on the couch, having been fumed out of my own bedroom.

But back to why the staining was a cinch this time:

1. I picked a new stain. I don’t think this gets all the credit, but Rust-Oleum stain in Kona caught my eye at Lowe’s because it was ULTIMATE and obviously I’d buy anything ULTIMATE because I’m succeptible to those kind of marketing tactics, despite my manipulative advertising-industry background. Plus, what can I say… Kona makes me want to do a little hula-hula while I’m drinking my morning coffee.

Rust-Oleum ULTIMATE. In Kona.

2. It was damn easy and fast to stain flat, instead of on a vertical wall. Also, because of the laps in the shiplap, I avoided the very long-and-trying process of painting inbetween those prehung boards with a micro artist’s brush. (I installed the boards unstained in my bedroom originally, because I was considering leaving the wood au natural.)

Staining flat. Happy staining camper.

3. ULTIMATE stain dries fast. As in, within an hour or two it was totally fine to carry from the garage sawhorses and into the yard to continue to dry in the sun. (The bedroom shiplap took a full week from application to non-sticky, presumably much because of lacking ventilation in my small bedroom, hence the reason I was angry at my DIY staining lifestyle, sleeping on the couch, and complaining to Mom.)

ULTIMATE was also fast-drying enough to help me realize that I’d want to do a second coat of Kona with minimal wiping down to ensure achieving that dark-dark brown that I was going for. (The 3 boards on the left have been doubly-stained, the one on the right only had a single coat and dried a little more light-brown-reddish than I was desiring. This also may be a factor in a poor stain-mixing job too. Mix your stain really, really well, people.)

Three, doubly-stained for a rich, dark appearance. The fourth, singly stained and a lighter shade than I wanted.

I left the boards out of the house for several days this time to let the fumes clear out before I began to hang the shiplap; no way did I want to make my house nearly uninhabitable again. But on Tuesday as I started to install, the simplicity of the project just took over, and the wall was completely up in a mere afternoon of chop sawing, jigsawing, drilling, and nail-gunning.

Just like with my first shiplapping experience, I started by installing two furring strips on either side of the wall to act as a frame so that the shiplap wasn’t butted up directly to the adjacent wall’s drywall; once the vertical sides were up, I filled in the shiplap from the bottom up, custom-cutting the boards with the chop saw in the basement as I went.

How about a little photo montage to tell the story? Make sure to click on the photos to see the captions and learn a little more about what I was doing.

Before. Moved table aside, and began to set up the the 4-foot level and air compressor.

Progress. That's shiplap progress. Started by installing two furring strips along the height of the wall at the edges, I installed the shiplap up from the trim.

Workin' around the window and up one wall. The right side fortunately measured just under 4' width, so I was able to put the full length of a single board to work and gain material efficiencies. I hate waste.

Aw, yeah. Rockin' the shiplap.

Perfectly aligned with the top of the window. Gone to celebrate with a Mocha.


That's me and the last piece of the shiplap puzzle. Notice that it isn't stained? I found it as a scrap from the bedroom project, and voila, it was the perfect fit. Making the most of what I have. Stained it in the garage, let it dry overnight, easy peasy.

Just a few details:

– I didn’t remove the baseboard trim, baseboard heater, or window trim to install this wall accent. The shiplap is actually much thinner than the original baseboard and window trim, so it sits nicely around it without looking out of place or diminishing the trim’s “pop”.

– There is a 1/4″ clearance around the baseboard heater just in case we need to get in there, and just in case having wood that close is a fire hazard of some kind (we doubt it though, considering the wood trim running beside the unit). I’d rather be 1/4″ safe than sorry.

– We’re officially champs at making the wood fit around the window trim like it’s a puzzle piece, which is why Pete was in that second photo. His technique (that I did almost entirely by myself this time) deserves a whole DIY post of it’s own. Soon, young grasshopper.

– Also worth pointing out: I abandoned the wood filler completely. If you read this post in my shiplap installation series, you’ll know that the wood filler was the real troublemaker, but without it, the nail holes are virtually invisible. Unless you get all up in their business like I am here (also exposing a few dried paint drips, what do you know):

Wee little nail hole. Much better than messing with sloppy, un-stainable wood filler.

In any case, the nails may have left a slight unstained indentation from the impact of the air compressor, but I was able to go over those places with a stain-soaked rag and match the colors back up really easily.

The finished wall looked fantastic.

Dining room shiplap paneled wall. Love it.

The view from the couch in the living room changed from this:

View from the couch: BEFORE.

To this:

View from the couch: AFTER.

The view from the kitchen changed too. From this:

View from the kitchen: BEFORE. To this:

View from the kitchen: AFTER.

And I love how the warm Kona brown anchors the dark brown furniture on the first floor. It’s a good thing, no, a great thing.

Has anyone else there tried shiplap as a basic wall paneling option? I’m always looking for more inspiration and seeing how others have put the lumber to use!

  • kate
    6 years ago - Reply

    It looks AWESOME!!

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Thanks Kate!! Glad you like!

  • Cait @ Hernando House
    6 years ago - Reply

    That looks awesome, Emily!

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Thank you! It’s making me seriously happy. Sitting at my dining room table soaking in the cozy.

  • Kirsti @ Lovely LaLaLand
    6 years ago - Reply

    I love it! You’re right, the warm wood looks fantastic with your furniture and floors. Sooo pretty!

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Thanks Kirsti! I’m glad I gave it a try!

  • Erin B. Inspired
    6 years ago - Reply

    Wow, that looks great Emily! I’ve never thought about doing something like this in my house but now I wonder where I can…

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Thanks Erin! One of my favorite all shiplap rooms was a bathroom. It was painted light gray and so subtle and pretty, but unique, I’d love to try it painted someday also!

  • blake marable
    6 years ago - Reply

    Quick random question- is that the 8″ shiplap or 10″?

    And- did you leave a little gap between the boards or does it do that? I like that look- boards i have seem like they are goign to fit tight not leaving much of a gap but i want to make sure there is a small space there.


    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Hi Blake! The shiplap I bought is 8″. To create the gap, I glued two quarters together. Just a little thicker than a nickel, it was enough to create enough visual distinction between boards. If you’re going to paint a light color, you’ll find that you don’t need as much of a gap to create the same effect. Good luck!!

  • Brenda
    5 years ago - Reply

    Nice job! I am contemplating putting shiplap in my kitchen (5/8 thickness on the horizontal) to add some detail and hide some rough spots and uneveness to the old walls. I may also use this as wainscot in an upstairs bathroom.

    I was wondering about your comments on creating a gap. It is my understanding that the V-joint variety of shiplap automatically produces a gap when two pieces are fitted together. Was your shiplap the kind that fits tight without a gap? Thanks.

    • Emily
      5 years ago -

      Hi Brenda! Yes, while the v-notched creates a space of some sort, mine would have fit together very tight without using quarters to space them apart. The boards I used were bought at Lowe’s (they don’t have them at our Home Depot) but could also be made by taking a 1/2″ rabbet bit to opposite edges of a 1×8 board so they stack together like a puzzle. Hope this helps!

  • Brenda
    5 years ago - Reply

    Gotcha, that makes sense. Thanks Emily., I am actually hoping to get some tight fitting shiplap to replace very old and and irregular spruce panelling that once was in vogue I suppose for its rusticity (sp?). We already have a lot of v-joint knotty pine in this room and other rooms in our home and so instead of putting in drywall for a contrasted smooth look, I am thinking on using the tight-fitting shiplap (that is if I can find some).

    Love your efforts here. DIY rocks!

  • Rhea
    4 years ago - Reply

    Hi there!!

    What a lovely room – you did a fantastic job!

    I am wondering how wide and thick the planks are? Also, did you consider T&G or does shiplap provide a different look??

    Thank you so much!


    • Emily
      4 years ago -

      Thanks for the note, Rhea! I chose shiplap because I was inspired by how it looked in a friend’s bathroom (see this post) but tongue and groove would easily look similar, if you take the same measures to space the boards vertically when you install. I like the Lowe’s shiplap that I used because the edges of the board were still square, not beveled like other types of shiplap I came across. The look, I believe, would have been slightly less clean with the bevels, a little more rustic.

    • Rhea
      4 years ago -

      Hi Emily!

      Thank you so much for your reply :)

      I think shiplap is so pretty, I really like it. So when you place the grooves together, it automatically leaves that thin spacing? You didn’t have to measure it out?

      Your friend’s home is so beautiful – or should I say breathtaking?! How about both :)

      Would the shiplap look the same put up vertically? Has your friend had any issues with putting wood panelling in her bathroom? This is where I would like to place mine.

      Last question…the shiplap with the straight edges…are the hard to find? I am from Toronto, Ontario and have not seen that selection in the bigbox stores around where I live.

      Thank you so much yet again,


    • Emily
      4 years ago -

      For the grooves I have, I used two quarters for spacers as I installed each course. The shiplap is holding up well in my friend’s bathroom, though it may not be the most used bath in the house. I think with a proper coat of semi-gloss paint it would hold up fine to moisture, especially if you have a fan in the bath already (the wood is traditionally used on barns and, well, boats).

      If you can’t find it with straight edges (and you may want to check with a lumberyard too) you could go through the job of making the boards yourself with a router and a rabbet bit, carving out the area for board overlap yourself so that it stacks vertically and locks together. I hope that makes sense, I’m having trouble trying to explain it – just buy 1×6 or 1×8 boards and notch out both long edges so that half of the width of the board is routed away.

      I hope this helps!

    • Rhea
      4 years ago -

      Hi Emily,

      Thank you again so much for your reply and input – it is all greatly appreciated!!

      Does it matter what type of wood you use? I have seen pine and cedar t&g planks.

      Do you have any experience in installing them vertically? My bathroom is at the studs right now, so I was going to install plywood first and then attach the boards to the plywood. Also, I am not sure if I have to put a moisture barrier on the plywood too.

      I have heard of nickel-gap before – so yours is 50 cent-gap…well it looks amazing! I will definitely be trying to get a similar look in my bathroom and bedroom :)

      Thank you again!


    • Rhea
      4 years ago -

      One more quick question…so if I used the nickel-gap method to space the boards – this would also work on t&g?

      What is the thinnest you can go on the boards? I would like to go thinner than 1″, but will it compromise the look/quality of the project?

      Thanks again!

      Rhea :)

    • Emily
      4 years ago -

      Hi Rhea!

      I used pine, but only because I hadn’t seen the product in cedar. Are you planning on leaving natural, staining, or painting? I would probably only do cedar if I was going to leave it natural, since the paint or stain would saturate or cover up the nice cedar. Just me though.

      I haven’t installed it vertically, but suspect the install would be the same. In a bathroom, I probably would do the moisture barrier. It couldn’t hurt to have it! And I think the gap method would work on T&G, but the space back to where you see the tongue will be more shallow, so there might not appear to be as much of a shadow… you’ll have to experiment and let me know (maybe laying it on a flat surface will give you a better idea of how it is going to look when installed).

      As for going thinner than 1″, I had never found boards thinner (well, the 1x board is technically 3/4″). Going thinner wouldn’t compromise anything, if you can find or make the right product.

      Hope this helps!

  • Kenny
    3 years ago - Reply

    The wall came out fantastic. My wife wants a feature fence in our backyard and we want to use shiplap. What did you use attach the planks to the wall?

    • Emily
      3 years ago -

      I used nails; for a fence I would recommend the same, long enough to go at least 1″ into your posts. Sounds like a nice addition to a yard!

  • Laural
    2 years ago - Reply

    Looks great. Planning my accent wall project and found your online. Thanks for all the hints.

  • Allison
    1 year ago - Reply

    This was an incredibly helpful post!! I’m trying to decide on what color to stain my farmhouse table and was looking for diy reviews, etc. on the stain color Kona. You are awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to to do this!

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