Shiplap Look on Any Budget

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past couple of years, you are well aware of the trend known as ‘shiplap.’  If your cave has wifi, however, you’ve probably already shiplapped the crap out of it.  I bet it looks nice.

If you haven’t heard of shiplap, it’s basically wood paneling, most typically painted white and hung horizontally. It’s nothing groundbreaking or new, but it’s enjoying a resurgence of popularity thanks in part to Joanna and Chip Gaines and their massively beloved show “Fixer Upper.” They are big fans of the shiplap look, and so am I!

Here now are three ways to get the look yourself.

#1: You could actually hang some shiplap.

White Plank Wall Before


White Plank Wall

Chelsea at Creating Cotters Bay used white wooden planks to add some interest to the end of her hallway. Perfect place to add a little detail AND get some practice in before you attempt a larger wall.


If sawing up wood ain’t your thang, you can still get the look like Sarah did below. Can you tell what she’s using on her kitchen backsplash?

shiplap backsplash vinyl before

shiplap with vinyl planks after

#2: It’s vinyl flooring!

Easier to haul, cut, and much thinner than regular boards. And if that’s not enough to convince you, it costs less too. She made sure to space them out just enough by placing a penny in between the planks as she hung them. You want a slight gap to really nail that shiplap look. See her tips for painting and sealing on her blog All Things with Purpose.


Ok, so you can either hang actual shiplap, or you can ‘cheat’ with vinyl flooring, but is there yet another way?

Believe it or not, there is. And believe it or not, it costs zero dollars. That’s right, I said ZERO DOLLARS. Behold:

shiplap wall with pencil before


Can you guess?

It’s pencil! (Insert shocked cat-face emoji)

If you have access to a couple of pencils and a straight edge, you could be a member of Club Shiplap before dinnertime. Head on over to Emily’s blog The Wicker House to get all the details. I believe there is a coat of sealer involved at some point, so the pencil doesn’t smudge, but other than that, ZERO FREAKING DOLLARS PEOPLE.

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A very, very, very small house.

Do you ever watch those ‘tiny house’ shows? You know, where they feature homes with literally the same square footage as a generously-sized tent? Can real human beings really live this way? Happily?

You bet your sweet buns they can! Better After reader Sarah is one such human. Check out this itty-bitty apartment she recently remodeled for further proof.

Before, it was a termite-infested hodge-podge of shoddy workmanship. The home was built in 1908 and split into separate apartments in the 1950’s. Since then, it had received nothing more than ‘band-aid’ style improvements and was in need of a total gut job.

Black and Yellow Bedroom:Kitchen Before

Black and Yellow Bedroom:Kitchen

Sarah to the rescue! She opened up the wall and reconfigured the entire layout, keeping everything unified with a black, gray and yellow color scheme. She focused on packing as much function as possible into each square foot of this space, 240 to be exact. The kitchen is only eight feet long but has everything a standard kitchen would have. There’s even a pull-out spice rack wedged between the fridge and the range!

Below you can see the former bathroom. It was moved to the other side of the apartment and Sarah created a new office to take its place.

Black and Yellow Bathroom:Office Before


Black and Yellow Bathroom:Office


Bedroom, kitchen, living room, bathroom, AND office? It’s practically palatial!


See more of Sarah’s work on her website S Jane Design.

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Step by Step Staircase

Step by step … ooh baby … gonna get to you gii-ir-ir-irl!

NKOTB forever, am I right? I just watched this video in its four minute and twenty-seven second entirety, and it’s just as good as I remember it being in 5th grade.

Ok, perhaps not. Those were some … less than intricate dance moves. Although Jordan really was fiiiiiiine, kokopelli shirt notwithstanding.

Here are some timeless steps for you though.  Tasha hated her carpeted stairs, like 99% of people with carpeted stairs do.  I know I’d get rid of mine in a heartbeat. So she …

Numbered Staircase Before


Numbered Staircase

… tore up the carpet, replaced the treads and numbered them just fore cuteness sake.  So great!

Ooh stairs! I really want you in my wo-o-o-orld!

Check out her blog Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body to see how she did accomplished this in ONE weekend.

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Power Playroom

This before room certainly wasn’t bad. I mean, check out that window! Plus vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors? Not bad at all.

But it’s a playroom, in two shades of brown. Probably not the first color choice of most kids. Still, I don’t want to make assumptions. So just to be sure, I called my 9-year-old son into the room and said, “Hey, would you like it if I painted your room in two colors of brown?”

He replied, “Uhhhh … that would be interesting.” Such a diplomat. Then I showed him the before picture. “Oh, that’s pretty cool I guess,” he replied.

I realized my plan was backfiring and panicked a little.

“W-w-wait!” I stuttered. “What do you like better, the brown room, or THIS room?”

Bright and Fun PlayRoom makeover Before


Bright and Fun Play Room

Then I showed him this after picture. He gasped. A nine-year-old boy literally gasped. He announced that the after was way better. Then he realized he might have hurt my feelings because it seemed like I had really high hopes of painting his bedroom in two shades of brown. He backpedaled for a minute, until I assured him that I liked the after picture way better too. He seemed relieved. So there you have it.

This playroom makeover belongs to Sara at Shabby Grace and she did a fantastic job brightening it up and bringing it to life. It looks twice as big now. Did you notice the fancy new trim around the window too? Be sure to check out her blog to see all the cute little details!

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