a white room with shiplap walls, a window, and a light hanging from the ceiling


Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 2/18/2021

Whether you’re decorating your bathroom in a nautical theme or you’re adding a rustic look to your taupe bedroom, a shiplap wall or ceiling might just be the sophisticated statement you’ve been looking for.


Today, the term shiplap often refers to an overlapping (or faux overlapping), almost always horizontal, board pattern found on both exterior and interior walls. Once a functional and structural design element, nowadays shiplap is commonly found in bedrooms and bathrooms as a style choice. Historically, shiplap would have been used in shipbuilding and residential construction and would have been held together with special interlocking watertight tongue and groove joints. Shiplap can now commonly be put together with simple overlapping assemblies, such as adhesives or finishing nails. Although, larger shiplap projects, such as exterior walls or ceilings, are still constructed with more traditional methods.

A Couple Of Questions About Shiplap

With shiplap being a popular design choice these days, it may be interesting to take a look at a couple of the most common questions around shiplap and its costs:

  • Q: Why is it called shiplap?
  • A: As its name suggests, shiplap was used in shipbuilding. With its watertight design, shiplap also became a popular choice for both exterior and interior walls, and finally, as a design choice.
  • Q: Is shiplap cheaper than drywall?
  • A: People seem to agree that shiplap ends up being cheaper over drywall in the end. When you consider the materials and time needed to install and finish drywall, the costs start adding up. Whereas, shiplap can sometimes be purchased on a budget and installed easily with low finishing costs.