Does your Boston triple decker need a shiplap accent wall? Maybe so! This is a type of wallboard that has been popularized by celebrities such as Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper — and with good reason. Beautifully done shiplap adds a lot of charm to a home. It can be used in any number of ways, from accent walls to ceilings or even wainscoting. In fact, HGTV has a great gallery that is sure to give you some ideas. But, if you want more inspiration, then read on to learn what ship lap board is and how you can use it around your home.

What is a Shiplap Wall?

Ship lap boards are often mistaken for tongue and groove boards or simple sheathing, in which the edges of the boards are milled smooth. Ship lap boards are closer to tongue and groove than sheathing is, but shiplap isn’t quite the same as tongue and groove. Whereas a tongue and groove board features a “tongue” on one side of the board and a groove running the length of the other side of the board, a ship lap board is cut a bit differently. You’ll see that the edges of each board are cut in an L-shape, a half groove called a rabbet. This ensures that the boards fit tightly together while leaving a bit of a space between each board, giving the wall a look that is similar to beaded paneling.

How Did the Ship Lap Board Become Popular?

Shiplap started as an exterior siding technique, one that is still quite common today, particularly on contemporary homes, but also on more vintage home styles like Cape Cods or even Victorian homes. Shiplap interior walls are popular because they are incredibly versatile. A shiplap accent wall goes just as nicely in a rustic, traditional home as it does in a home with modern or industrial themes. And, unlike other paneling styles, shiplap lends itself well to horizontal surfaces like ceilings, too. What’s more, the ship lap boards can be installed either vertically or horizontally depending on the look you want to achieve.

How to Use Shiplap Walls in Your Triple Decker

Because the shiplap wall is so incredibly versatile, there’s a lot that you can do with it. If you happen to have a brick fireplace, for example, then try installing horizontal ship lap boards to either side of it as sort of a continuation of the horizontal brick lines. In Boston’s triple deckers, shiplap walls are also a great way to add a bit of old-fashioned charm — but not so old fashioned that it gives the room a dated look!

In bathrooms, shiplap is often used to achieve a modern look. Bathrooms are generally designed to have lots of clean lines to give the room a neat, tidy look, and shiplap accomplishes this beautifully. Use it as walls for the bathroom or, in some instances, these boards are even starting to replace tile as a surfacing for shower walls. Just make sure that the wood is well sealed or use an alternative to wood that is impervious to water.

When it comes to the desired style (modern versus rustic, for example), make sure that you think about the finish. In general, shiplap with a natural wood finish will feel more rustic than a shiplap wall with a painted finish. Light colors will help steer you in a more old-fashioned direction (although not necessarily, depending on the décor in the rest of the room!) while dark finishes like slate gray, dark brown or black will give you a sleek, modern look.

If you’re looking for a way to add character to your Boston triple decker, then a shiplap wall might be exactly what you need. Ship lap boards give you an easy yet surprisingly versatile way to spice up any number of rooms!