How to DIY a Shiplap Accent Wall for Cheap

Colby and I have talked about doing some sort of DIY accent wall in our bedroom for over a year. We’ve already done two other shiplap walls in our house but weren’t sure what to do in here.

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master bedroom with high headboard and gray walls

DIY Shiplap Wall

We knew we wanted something to change it up and add some “pizazz” to the room. To truly make it our own and put our own spin on it.

master bedroom before faux shiplap wall

The wooden shiplap barn door we made years ago has been our only DIY bedroom project until this point. And it’s absolutely one of my favorite home projects yet.

black accent wall and white barn door bedroom

If we’re being honest though, there have been a few (sort of legit) reasons we’ve stalled in our plans:

  1. This headboard. I still love it. It’s from the Magnolia collection and we’ve had it since before we moved here 5 years ago. It was a sacrificial gift to ourselves when we bought it because it was a bit pricey.

    I just couldn’t let it go. I like to get my money’s worth, and, well, it holds some sentimental value. But, I also didn’t like any of the decorating ideas I had for working around it.
  2. We’ve had our oldest granddaughter for most of the last year while Avery was in treatment. I mean, we’re not “old,” but we’re also not young, and she requires a lot of our energy⁠—and time.

    Now that Avery is out of the hospital and their family is back at home, Colby and I needed a project. We miss having her sister here every day and this keeps my mind busy so I don’t miss her so much. 
  3. Lastly, cost. The past 2 years haven’t been the easiest to work through. Our industry took a huge hit with the pandemic, and then needing to be available to help with Avery became a top priority.

    Fortunately, we found a more affordable option to do what we wanted here and worked to make that happen.

And it turned out beautifully if we must say so ourselves.

wood shelf with plumbing pipes

And the black shiplap?

It was an absolutely last-minute audible because I couldn’t find a dark gray I liked. Everything I could find had a color undertone that I just hated.

Well, not to mention the small detail that the faux shiplap wall was originally supposed to be board and batten. I completely changed everything last minute.

Oh, how my husband loves me!

Especially when I also had us doing a “side project” at the same time we worked on this one. 

Sitting around (literally) waiting for the paint to dry doesn’t sit well with me. I had to do something in the waiting. So, I’ll share the other project later.

But, they both turned out great! Now to decorate that shelf above the bed.

The things pictured there, for now, are items I took from other parts of the house. Because it was a last-minute change, the black items I bought for the gray wall no longer work. Guess I “have to” grab some new things!

Shiplap bedroom wall DIY

How to plank a wall for under $100

Doing our research on what to use instead of shiplap, we discovered MDF. Well, not for the first time, but for this shiplap project.

On the other two shiplap wall DIY projects in our house, we used tongue and groove shiplap.

It was already painted white, heavier, and made to fit together. Not to mention, it was already cut into 6″ planks.

In our master bedroom, I wanted to go with a wide shiplap wall, so we went with 8″ planks.

use tile spacers for diy shiplap wall

What can I use instead of shiplap?

With the rising cost of wood, MDF became a viable option.

Unfortunately, our The Home Depot would only cut the MDF sheets into 12″ or 16″ pieces, so we had them cut the 16″ planks and then we had to rip those in half ourselves.

It doubled our cut time but wasn’t a huge deal.

DIY shiplap wall materials

DIY shiplap wall materials:

The accent wall we were adding shiplap to is 17′ long and 12′ tall. That’s a lot of money when we’re talking about using actual shiplap wood planks.

So, MDF it was. We used 4 (four) 4’x8′ sheets at $14 each.

We also bought 9 (nine) 8′ 1’x2′ boards for the trim around the accent wall, as well as the window trim.

The shelf used an 8′ 1’x3′ and a 1’x2′ piece of wood to make the shelf.

Finally, we went with BEHR ULTRA® SCUFF DEFENSE™ Stain-Blocking Paint & Primer paint because it’s our favorite brand from our RV trailer renovation.

using nail gun to add trim around windows

How to install shiplap accent wall

The hardest part is cutting each of the planks to fit around the windows and outlets.

The easiest portion of the wall to plank was the straight, wide main area.

We trimmed out the windows and side of the walls of the first. We wanted to butt the shiplap planks up against the trim, rather than covering it with the trim, so it was measured, cut, and hung first.

Then, each plank had to be individually measured and cut before hanging. (We learned with our very first home project that, even though our house was a new construction, it was anything but square).

We would measure, cut, fit, and then use Liquid Nail to adhere the shiplap planks before nailing.

Oh, we also used tile spacers to ensure the gaps stayed consistent. (We used quarters with our other shiplap wall projects).

diy farmhouse trim around windows

Shiplap bedroom wall DIY

To cut around the windows, we used a Contour Gauge. It was especially helpful around the bottom of the windows where we left the original window sill intact.

As well as the top of the windows that we boxed trim in a farmhouse style.

Again, because our house isn’t square, the cutting and fitting was the longest, most involved part of the project.

How to install shiplap accent wall

Black shiplap wall

Finally, it was time to paint.

This is where Colby and I had differing opinions on how things should go. Probably because he doesn’t do the painting. I do.

I would have preferred painting everything first. The black under the planks, as well as the planks themselves.

As well as all of the trim. I’ll post about all of this later.

For now, know we rolled the black paint (we used BEHR Ultra Carbon). I wanted black, but not a bold, dark black; if that even makes sense.

The MDF didn’t seem to soak up a ton of paint and it rolled on nicely. (For reference, we glued the white side of the MDF to the wall and painted the brown backside.)

shiplap wall materials

What sheen of paint do you use on shiplap?

When choosing a sheen of paint for our bedroom wall, we decided on Eggshell. Colby wanted something between matte and shiny.

Eggshell leaves a “soft, velvety appearance” which we felt was ideal for our bedroom aesthetic.

Plus, because we weren’t going to use a headboard, we chose the BEHR ULTRA SCUFF DEFENSE™ Stain-Blocking Paint & Primer. It provides “advanced scuff & mar resistance” so we thought it would be perfect for protecting the wall.

Black shiplap wall

Faux Shiplap

The finished result was stunning. At least in our eyes.

Our youngest daughter was absolutely not feeling the black at all as we worked. “It’s just not my style,” she said.

But, by the final reveal, all of the kids loved it! And it makes such a huge difference in our bedroom.

master bedroom as seen from living room stairs

Even looking in from the living room, it grabs your attention and simply demands to be seen.

Minwax Early American Stain for wood shelves

Now, about our master bathroom...

black shiplap wall with shelf master bedroom

DIY Shiplap Accent Wall

With the rising cost of wood, MDF is a great option for a DIY shiplap wall for cheap. The hardest part is cutting each of the planks, but the ending faux shiplap wall is stunning!



  1. Measure length and height of wall.
  2. Determine number of MDF sheets needed.
  3. Cut sheets into equal planks based on your desired width.
  4. Use Liquid Nails to position on wall with tile spacer wedges between planks for gap.
  5. Fit each plank into its place on the wall.
  6. Nail into position.
  7. Continue wall until finished covering.
  8. Paint planks.

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DIY Shiplap Wall FAQ

Can you use shiplap in a bedroom?

Using shiplap in a bedroom can create an instant focal point that adds architectural interest and a sense of history.

It’s a look that’s equally at home in a modern farmhouse or a more traditional space. Plus, it’s an easy and relatively inexpensive way to add character to your bedroom.

If you’re thinking of using shiplap in your bedroom, here are a few things to keep in mind.

First, shiplap is typically made of wood, so it’s important to consider the overall design of your space and how the wood will fit in.

If you have a lot of wood furnishings and flooring, using shiplap on your walls can help create a cohesive look.

Second, shiplap can be used on both walls and ceilings, so if you’re looking to make a real statement, consider extending it up to the ceiling. This will give your bedroom a real feeling of luxury and sophistication.

Finally, shiplap is relatively easy to install, so if you’re handy, you can save yourself some money by doing it yourself. But if you’re not confident in your abilities, it’s always best to hire a professional.

Whether you’re looking for a rustic touch or a sophisticated statement, using shiplap in your bedroom is a great way to add character and interest.

Keep these tips in mind and you’re sure to create a space you love.

Is shiplap cheaper than drywall?

If you’re looking to add an accent wall to your home, you may be wondering if shiplap is cheaper than drywall. The answer is yes!

Shiplap is a type of wood siding that is very popular in farmhouses and barns.

It’s made from pieces of wood that are overlapping, so it gives the illusion of shipLap, meaning it looks like planks of wood that have been fitted together.

Drywall is much more expensive and time-consuming to install. So, if you’re looking for a cheaper option, shiplap is the way to go!

Is shiplap still in style 2023?

There are few design trends that have enjoyed as much staying power as shiplap. This rustic, farmhouse-chic style first gained popularity a few years ago, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

In fact, shiplap is still going strong in the design world, and it is likely to remain popular for years to come.

One of the reasons shiplap has remained so popular is that it is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to add a touch of charm to any space.

Whether you’re looking to add a rustic touch to your home office or want to give your kitchen a makeover, shiplap can be a great option.

If you’re wondering if shiplap is still in style in 2023, the answer is a resounding yes! This classic style is here to stay, and it’s a great way to add a touch of rustic charm to your home.

Does shiplap make a room look bigger?

When it comes to making a room look bigger, there are a few things you can do. You can paint the walls a light color, hang mirrors, or use shiplap.

Shiplap is a type of siding that is often used in barns and other rustic buildings. It consists of boards that are overlapping, which gives the illusion of more space.

If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to make a room look bigger, shiplap is a great option. You can find it at most home improvement stores, and it’s relatively easy to install.

If you’re not handy, you can always hire a professional to install it for you. But if you’re up for a little DIY, shiplap can be a great way to add some extra visual space to a room.

Are there any tips or tricks for ensuring a seamless and professional-looking shiplap wall installation?

Yes, there are several tips and tricks to ensure a seamless and professional-looking shiplap wall installation,

These can include properly measuring and planning the layout, using a level and spacer to achieve even spacing, ensuring the wall surface is clean and smooth, using adhesive in addition to nails for added stability, and finishing with caulk and paint for a polished appearance.

Can shiplap be installed in moisture-prone areas, such as bathrooms or kitchens?

Shiplap can be installed in moisture-prone areas like bathrooms or kitchens as long as it is properly sealed and ventilated to prevent moisture damage.

What are common mistakes to avoid when installing a shiplap wall?

Common mistakes to avoid when installing a shiplap wall include not properly measuring and preparing the wall, failing to use a level during installation, neglecting to calculate the appropriate spacing between planks, overlooking the importance of securing the planks properly, and not considering expansion and contraction of the wood.

Some other popular color options for painting a shiplap wall include classic white for a clean and timeless look, various shades of gray for a modern and sophisticated feel, coastal blues and greens for a refreshing and relaxed vibe, as well as warm neutrals like beige and taupe for a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

How to DIY a Shiplap Accent Wall for Cheap - OFL

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