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Shiplap Kitchen Designs

The allure of shiplap has captured the hearts of homeowners and designers alike, transforming homes with its classic charm and rustic elegance. Originally used in the construction of ships, shiplap has made its way into interior design, becoming particularly popular in kitchens. In this blog post, we will explore the history of shiplap, discuss its widespread popularity, and delve into why shiplap is an excellent choice for kitchens. We will also touch on essential design considerations when incorporating shiplap into your homes kitchen.

Kitchen shiplap designs graphic

A Brief History of Shiplap

Shiplap dates back centuries and has its origins within the construction of wooden ships. Its design involves overlapping horizontal wooden boards, creating a tight and weatherproof seal that prevents water from entering the ship or vessel. The name “shiplap” derives from its usage in the shipbuilding industry, where planks were fitted together with a tongue-and-groove system, providing both strength and durability.

Over time, shiplap transitioned from boats to dry land, becoming a popular choice for both home exterior and home interior cladding. Its distinctive appearance and functional benefits have made it a favorite among architects, builders, and homeowners.

The Popularity of Shiplap

Shiplap has experienced a resurgence in recent years, gaining popularity through various design and home renovation television shows. This renewed interest stems from the desire for a timeless, farmhouse-inspired aesthetic that blends rustic charm with modern sensibilities. Shiplap’s versatility and ability to adapt to various design styles have contributed to its widespread appeal.

Why Shiplap is Perfect for Kitchens

Visual Appeal and Character

Shiplap brings a unique character and great warmth to spaces. Its horizontal lines create visual interest and texture, adding depth and dimension to walls. The natural wood grain and patina further enhance the aesthetic appeal, lending a sense of authenticity and heritage to the kitchen.

Light and Airy Feel

Shiplap’s light color and clean lines have a transformative effect on kitchens, making them feel brighter and more spacious. By reflecting light, shiplap helps to create an open and airy ambiance, particularly when paired with ample natural light sources. It can be especially beneficial for smaller or darker kitchens, infusing them with a fresh and rejuvenating atmosphere.

lots of windows in this kitchen with dark wood floors and shiplapped ceiling
Via Platt Builders

Easy Maintenance

Kitchens are high-traffic areas prone to spills, splatters, and general wear and tear. Shiplap’s smooth surface and sealed joints make it easier to clean and maintain compared to other wall finishes. A simple wipe-down with a damp cloth is often sufficient to keep shiplap walls looking pristine, making it a practical choice for busy kitchen environments.

Design Considerations for Shiplap Kitchens

Color and Finish

Consider the overall color scheme and desired aesthetic of your home when selecting the color and finish of your shiplap. Opting for a bright white shiplap can create a crisp, clean look, while a stained or painted shiplap can add depth and complement a variety of design styles. Explore different finishes and finishes to find the perfect balance between rustic charm and modern elegance.

Layout and Placement

Strategically plan the placement of shiplap in your home to achieve the desired effect. You can choose to cover an entire wall or create an accent wall to showcase a specific area or architectural feature. Consider the balance between shiplap and other materials, such as cabinets, countertops, and backsplashes, to ensure a harmonious design composition.

large planks shiplap accent wall in a kitchen with black windows and wood shelves
Via Davenport Designs

Texture and Pattern

Shiplap can be installed vertically, horizontally, or in various patterns to create unique visual effects. Vertical installation gives the illusion of higher ceilings, while horizontal installation emphasizes the width of the space. Experimenting with different patterns, such as diagonal or chevron, adds personality and individuality to your kitchen design.

Complementary Elements

When incorporating shiplap into your home, pay attention to complementary elements that will enhance the overall aesthetic. Consider pairing shiplap with natural materials like wood, stone, or metal accents to create a cohesive and inviting space. Additionally, choose fixtures, lighting, and furniture that align with your desired style, whether it’s farmhouse, coastal, industrial, or modern.

Shiplap as a Backsplash

In addition to using shiplap on the walls, another popular shiplap application in kitchens is using it as a backsplash. Shiplap backsplashes add a beautiful and unique touch to the kitchen, creating a focal point and serving as a protective barrier against splashes and spills. When using shiplap as a backsplash, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

Material Selection

While traditional shiplap is made of wood, using wood in a backsplash area may not be the most practical choice due to its susceptibility to moisture and staining. However, there are alternatives available that mimic the look of shiplap while offering better durability and resistance to water damage. Materials like PVC or ceramic tiles with a shiplap design can provide the desired aesthetic while being more suitable for the kitchen environment.


As with any kitchen wall material, maintenance is an important factor to take into consideration. Ensure that the chosen material is easy to clean and maintain, as kitchen walls are often exposed to grease, food splatters, and moisture. Choose materials that are resistant to staining and can be wiped down to keep your shiplap looking fresh and clean.

Integration with Countertops and Cabinets

Consider how shiplap will integrate with the countertops and cabinets. It is essential to create a harmonious design by selecting complementary colors and finishes. If you have lighter-colored cabinets or countertops, a white or light-colored shiplap can create a cohesive and visually pleasing look. Conversely, if your cabinets and countertops are darker, consider using a contrasting or coordinating color for your shiplap to create a beautiful and striking visual effect.

Kitchen Shiplap in Ceiling Details

While shiplap is typically associated with wall applications, it can also be used to add interest and texture to ceiling. Incorporating shiplap on the ceiling can create a sense of continuity and visual flow, especially if it is used on the walls as well. Here are some things to consider before using this design on your homes kitchen ceiling:

Height and Space

The use of shiplap on the ceiling can visually alter the perception of height in a room. If you have a kitchen with low ceilings, installing shiplap on the ceiling in a horizontal orientation can create the illusion of wider and higher space. Conversely, vertical installation can elongate the height of the room. Consider the proportions of your kitchen and how the shiplap pattern can enhance or balance the overall space.

Lighting Fixtures

When incorporating shiplap on the ceiling, take into account the placement of lighting fixtures. Recessed lights, pendant lights, or chandeliers can be strategically positioned to highlight the shiplap and create a warm, inviting ambiance. Ensure that the lighting complements the style and mood you want to achieve in your kitchen.

Paint and Finish

Choosing the right paint or finish for the shiplap on the ceiling is crucial. Lighter colors can make the ceiling appear higher, while darker colors can create a cozier and more intimate atmosphere. Make sure to think about the overall color scheme and desired mood of your home when selecting the paint or finish of your shiplap ceiling. Some paint colors that I think would look amazing over shiplap include Benjamin Moore Pale Oak, Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue and Sherwin Williams Naval.

Mixing Shiplap

While shiplap can be a stunning focal point in your home, it doesn’t have to be the only material used in your design. Combining shiplap with other materials can create an interesting and dynamic design. Here are a few ideas for incorporating shiplap alongside other materials:

Stone or Brick

Pairing shiplap with stone or brick accents can add depth and texture to your home. Consider using stone or brick as a backsplash, island facade, or fireplace surround, while using shiplap on the remaining walls. This combination of materials creates a balanced and visually appealing contrast between the rustic charm of shiplap and the timeless elegance of stone or brick.

Metal Accents

Integrating metal elements, such as stainless steel appliances or copper light fixtures, can provide a modern and industrial touch to your kitchen. The juxtaposition of the warmth and natural texture of shiplap with the sleekness of metal creates a captivating visual interplay.

Glass or Mirrors

To enhance the sense of space and reflect light in your kitchen, try incorporating glass or mirrors into your shiplap. Glass-fronted cabinets, mirrored backsplashes, or glass tiles create a lovely combination with shiplap, resulting in a home that feels open, bright, and inviting.

Shiplap Kitchen Ideas

Here are some of my favorite kitchen shiplap design ideas that will help you transform your home into a more inviting space. Whether you prefer a farmhouse, coastal, or modern theme, shiplap can enhance the aesthetics of your home. I will share examples of shiplap used as accent walls, on the ceiling, in backsplashes, and combined with other materials to showcase the versatility of this classic and timeless design element.

Shiplap Kitchen Backsplash

Shiplap can be used to elevate the look of your home by using it as your backsplash material. Whether you opt for traditional wood or the PVC version, this design adds an instantly rustic charm to any space. I absolutely love this design the glass cabinets truly set this all white kitchen apart.

Slanted Shiplap Kitchen Ceiling

slanted shiplap roof in a kitchen with blue  cabinets and light hardwood floors
Via StyleQ Construction

One of the most interesting ways to use shiplap is on your kitchen ceiling. Utilizing a slanted orientation, this stunning design creates a modern and sophisticated look while still retaining the classic charm of shiplap. This angled ceiling adds depth to your space and can really make your kitchen stand out from the rest of your home. I love how this home owner bucked the trend and did not paint their shiplap white and instead left the wood natural. The natural wood coordinates nicely with the other wood elements in this kitchen and the blue cabinets bring the overall design together nicely.

Chevron Patterned Kitchen Shiplap

If you’re looking for something a bit more unique and unexpected, then consider using shiplap in a chevron pattern. This eye-catching design adds an interesting twist to your kitchen island and can really make it pop. The contrast of the painted blue wood against the light cabinetry helps to create a fluid and unified look that will impress all who enter your kitchen. I love how this chevron pattern creates an illusion of texture on the walls without taking away from the overall visual appeal of the space.

Kitchen Ceiling Shiplap

Create a stunning statement piece in your home by using shiplap on your ceiling. This design element adds texture and visual interest to the room while still keeping it light and airy. 

Painted Ceiling Shiplap

Painted kitchen ceilings are a great way to inject personality into your kitchen. Painting the shiplap in an unexpected color can add contrast and drama to an otherwise neutral space. I love this blue ceiling which adds just the right amount of edge to this space without overpowering it. The white wood cabinets help to balance out the darker hue for a truly amazing kitchen design.

Shiplap Ceiling with Beams

If you’re looking to give your kitchen a more traditional and homey feel, then adding ceiling beams to the ceiling is a great way to do so. This design adds additional depth and character to the room while still keeping it warm and inviting. Combining the shiplap on the ceiling with wooden beams creates an interesting visual dynamic. I love how this home incorporated both natural wood elements as well as painted accents for an overall cohesive look.

Vaulted Ceiling

If you’re lucky enough to have a vaulted ceiling in your home, then incorporating shiplap is a great way to enhance the existing structure and make stand out even more then the vaulted ceiling do. By using shiplap combined with ceiling beams in a with a dark wood tone, this design adds an instant sense of comfort and coziness to the room. The wood beams help to break up the monotony of the natural wood for a balanced look.

High Ceiling Shiplap

If you have a higher kitchen ceiling, then creating an accent wall using shiplap is a great way to make your space stand out. This design adds visual interest and depth without taking away from the overall airy feel of the room. The white painted shiplap contrasts nicely against the cabinets for a unified look that won’t overwhelm the space. I love how this home included multiple windows for natural light which helps to brighten up the entire room.

Wood Stained Kitchen Shiplap

If you’re looking for a classic and timeless design, then consider using wood stained shiplap. This look adds a nice layer of warmth and character to your kitchen without being too loud. The natural grain of the wood along with the subtle texture wood naturally has creates an unmistakable aesthetic that will forever be in style.

Dark Wood Stain Shiplap

Take your homes design to the next level by incorporating a dark wood stained shiplap. This look adds an undeniable sense of sophistication and elegance your home. The contrast of the natural wood against the creamy white cabinets creates a stunning visual that will instantly elevate your kitchens overall design.

Medium Stained Shiplap

If you’re looking for a more subtle look, then consider incorporating medium stained shiplap into your kitchen. The natural grain of the wood along with the grey hue helps to create a cozy atmosphere that will make your kitchen feel like home.

Light Stained Shiplap

Light stained shiplap is a great way to brighten up your space without taking away from the overall design. This look adds texture and visual interest while still keeping it light and airy. Pairing this with white cabinetry helps to create a fresh and modern feel that will be timeless for years to come.

Gray Stained Shiplap

Gray wood stained shiplap is another great option if you’re looking to add a more modern touch to your kitchen. The cool hue helps to create a calming environment while still adding in tons of interest and texture to the space. I love how this home balances the gray shiplap with light gray shiplap for a cohesive design.

White Wood Stain

Probably my favorite shiplap design. White wood stained shiplap adds a sense of elegance and sophistication to any design. The crisp hue helps to draw attention to the texture of the wood for an overall unified look. This timeless design will never go out of style and is sure to be a classic piece in your home for years to come.

Shiplap Kitchen: Conclusion

No matter what kind of design aesthetic you’re going for, shiplap can be incorporated into it in a way that fits your style. Whether you choose to go with a natural wood tone, paint, or something entirely different, the possibilities are endless when it comes to incorporating shiplap into your home. With so many options available, you’re sure to find a look that will bring your kitchen design to life.

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