Home Decor

A Clever Trick for Shiplap-ing Your Walls

5 steps to the modern farmhouse of your dreams.

October  5, 2020
Photo by MaCenna Lee

I look back fondly on the first days of the Fixer Upper craze—recording the episodes with my parents to replay later when we were in need of a feel-good family show; reveling in the complete overhauls they accomplished; and gushing about Chip and Jo Gaines with anyone who listened.

After all, in 2014, it felt like all anyone (with the remotest interest in home design) could talk about: “Aren’t they just the most talented? Don’t you love the modern farmhouse look?” Four years later, I even weaseled my way into a chance to interview them—and as it turned out, the couple were just as charming in person as they were in my clung-to fantasies.

Seven books, two shows, five kids, stores, restaurants, and home decor lines at Target, Anthropologie, and Pier 1 later, the modern farmhouse aesthetic still permeates the way so many of us decorate, whether we realize it or not. Subway tile, gently-striped linens, reclaimed wood furniture, hobnail dishware, and of course, shiplap wood paneling, were all large parts of the trend that continue to reign supreme.

Recently, I watched one of my favorite DIY YouTubers, MaCenna Lee, create faux shiplap walls in a bathroom renovation with… just paint. In a sea of mid-century and minimalist design, shiplap walls feel inexplicably warm and familiar. If you, too, find yourself needing a hug from Chip and Jo, MaCenna's DIY might be just the thing. Oh, and her method is exceedingly easy to follow!

What You’ll Need:


- Drop cloth or tarp
- Off-white eggshell paint for the base (MaCenna used this)
- Paint roller
- Paint tray
- Angled brush for trim work
- Laser level
- Damp rag
- Painter’s tape
- Dark gray eggshell accent paint (MaCenna used this)
- Natural bristle chip brush

What You’ll Do:

  1. If your walls are already the perfect shade of off-white, you can skip this step. Lay down a drop cloth or tarp to protect the floor while you paint your base coat, and give the walls one to two coats of your base color. MaCenna suggests actually not painting the walls perfectly even (phew!), because a bit of variation and some brushstrokes will give the walls a more realistic shiplap look.
  2. Once the base is dry, use a laser level to precisely apply a piece of painter’s tape from ceiling to floor. This can also be done side-to-side if you would rather horizontal shiplap lines. Then, move the laser level over ⅛-inch and apply an additional straight piece of painter’s from ceiling to floor.
  3. Take a damp rag and wipe it over the two pieces of tape. This will ensure the tape is secure to the wall for a crisp and clean paint line.
  4. Dip your chip brush into your accent paint, and then offload almost all of it. This will be a dry brush technique, so use as little paint as possible—you can always add more if need be. Remove both pieces of tape immediately, before the accent paint dries.
  5. Continue the steps above, spacing additional shiplap lines six inches apart. You can reuse the same pieces of tape, MaCenna says, just be sure you wet with the rag each time.
  6. Let it dry for several hours before hanging anything on the walls.

What's your favorite element of the modern farmhouse aesthetic? Tell us in the comments.

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Caroline Mullen

Written by: Caroline Mullen

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