Timeless Vertical Shiplap and Ceiling Shiplap

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Are your walls looking boring and need a little character? Learn how our contractor installed vertical shiplap walls and shiplap on the ceilings to create a beautiful and timeless design!

A shiplap wall and ceiling installed in our baby nursery; a flag hangs on the shiplap wall, and a white sailboat hangs from the ceiling. A baby's changing table with changing bed and books sits up against the vertical shiplap wall.

The lumber used in this post was gifted from Woodgrain. You can read more about my disclosures here.

This room has several angles and slanted walls and never felt complete. I have always thought of it as a cute little attic room but it was always missing something. Decor can only do so much, so I decided to install shiplap on the walls and ceiling, creating a quaint coastal cottage vibe.

Vertical Wall and Ceiling Shiplap Inspiration

Living in a coastal town, I have always associated planked walls with aging beach cottages. I do feel like vertical planks add a modern touch to classic shiplap design. For me, I associate horizontal shiplap with farmhouse style and vertical with coastal style. I went to Pinterest in search of inspiration and when I found the images below, I knew it was meant to be!

A gorgeous, bright coastal style living room with vertical shiplap walls, a white sectional couch, round rattan living room table, and coastal decor elements throughout.
via: Serena & Lily

I’ve shared several beautiful vertical shiplap projects in the past for inspiration and you will find those here.

Tips for Installing Vertical Wall and Ceiling Shiplap

We opted to hire professionals to install and paint our vertical shiplap and ceiling shiplap. This room belongs to my youngest son and he still naps during the day. You know how it goes, we’re only able to work on projects during his nap and there is no way we could have accomplished this project during his naps. Time is very limited around here so we decided to hire help. Also, it was complicated with various walls at angles and slanted walls. I’m so happy that we hired professionals because the end result is beautiful! I fear that our job would have screamed DIY and we would have worked on it for at least one year. That’s how long it takes to accomplish anything around here and they finished the job in three days!

The bare white walls of our baby's nursery before installing Vertical Wall and Ceiling Shiplap.

There are several different ways to install shiplap. You can use plywood and have it cut down into smaller strips of wood. Another option is using tongue and groove. For this project, we used primed pine boards supplied by Woodgrain. All of the boards arrived and were in excellent shape. Typically, it’s normal for some boards to arrive bowed but we didn’t experience this with Woodgrain. Each piece was high quality and well packaged.

First, Remove the Wall Trim

First, all of the trim was removed. We wanted an updated look so we opted to replace the trim with craftsman style trim. Regardless of keeping your existing trim or replacing it, it is a common mistake to not remove the baseboards before installing the shiplap (a mistake that we have made in the past). This is an important step and will often distinguish a DIY project from a professional job. You will either replace trim and baseboards in the end or reinstall your existing trim.

Professional contactors work in the nursery, removing the window shutters and trim before installing the Vertical Wall and Ceiling Shiplap.
The nursery bathroom door with surrounding trim and baseboards removed before installing Vertical Wall and Ceiling Shiplap.

Next, Secure Shiplap Boards to Wall Studs

Next, locate the studs on your accent wall and then secure a horizontal piece of wood into the studs. When you’re installing vertical boards, some of the boards will not secure into the studs and can rip out of the drywall with time. If you secure horizontal boards first, you can secure your vertical boards into those, and all of the boards will be secure. If you’re using tongue and groove shiplap, this step can be skipped.

Preparing the nursery walls to install vertical shiplap, starting with horizontal base boards that will act as anchors for the shiplap boards.
Prepping the nursery walls to hang vertical shiplap. The contractors used shims to make the base boards level with the wall.

Our contractor had a difficult time with our walls because they were not level. They used several shims (pictured above) to make the structure level. They were also very clever and set up a system to bring in all of the lumber through the window. We have a lot of stairs and I applaud them at this brilliant idea!

Our contractors in the process of installing the vertical shiplap walls in the nursery. The shiplap ceilings are already installed, as well as the trim, and horizontal anchoring boards on the walls.

For the ceiling, we were able to run the boards in the opposite direction of the studs so each board could be attached to a stud. All of the boards were secured using brad nails instead of liquid nails to avoid damage to the drywall.

Installing shiplap ceilings in the nursery - these shiplap ceiling boards run in the opposite direction of the studs to make installation easier.

Next, Prep and Paint the Vertical Shiplap Wall and Ceiling Boards

After installing the boards, it was time to prep for paint. The painters filled the holes and caulked around the edges. Then they painted the walls using Benjamin Moore Regal in Chantilly Lace, my favorite, in a flat finish. Typically, one coat of paint would have been sufficient but due to the abundance of natural light in the room, we needed two coats of paint.

Vertical Shiplap Walls and Ceiling installed in our nursery, with a nursery changing table set up against the shiplap wall, and a white sailboat hanging from the shiplap ceiling.
The Vertical Wall and Ceiling Shiplap finished and fully installed in the nursery! The nursery crib sits against the vertical shiplap wall, which rises up to meet a slanted shiplap ceiling.

If you install shiplap using this method, I do recommend a smaller spacing between the boards. Unfortunately, I was not home when they were installed and in a few spaces you can see the horizontal boards behind the vertical shiplap. I honestly do not mind and most people will not even notice. I do plan on hanging decor in a few places where it’s obvious, so it is not a big deal.

A corner of our nursery, with a rocking chair and side table next to the window, and vertical shiplap walls which rise up to meet a slanted shiplap ceiling.
The vertical wall and ceiling shiplap installed in our nursery, with the changing station up against one shiplap wall.

Working with Woodgrain to supply our lumber was a great experience. If you’re considering a new project and adding new millwork to your space, replacing doors, or simply working with lumber, I highly recommend their company!

I cannot get over how much I love this room. It is easily my favorite room in the house. Not only did the shiplap add character to the walls, it made the room so cozy. Once we start decorating, it will be unbelievable!

Looking for more shiplap wall ideas? Check these out!

I can’t wait to share what’s next for this room, it’s going to be so cute! Here is a sneak peek at inspiration that I have shared. Big news!! We hope to start building a bed soon. Theo is not ready to leave his crib yet and we don’t want to interrupt his sleep. We plan to go ahead and build the bed but also leave his crib in the room until he’s ready for the transition. I’m so excited to start that project and share it with you!

A page ripped out of Better Homes and Gardens magazing, showing a kids' bedroom with a hanging twin bed anchored to the wall.
Via: Better Homes and Gardens Magazine

What do you think? Isn’t it so beautiful!? I can’t wait to decorate the room for Theo’s big boy room! I’ve read that shiplap is trending out, but I personally feel like it’s here to stay. It is timeless and has been around far longer than the trends that come and go! This lumber was truly some of the best we’ve ever used! To find a Woodgrain dealer near you, click here.

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