I’m excited to finally share this shiplap hack with you guys, because it is simple and totally affordable! This reverse shiplap wall treatment is easy enough for even the beginning DIY-er, and can be completed in a weekend.
Ever since moving to our new home 18 months ago, I had been thinking about installing shiplap to create a focus wall in my living room. Even before Joanna Gaines, I’d loved the classic look and texture of shiplap and I always wanted it in my home. However, in the past few years it’s become so popular that I decided I wanted to do something a little bit different, without losing the clean lines and architecture that I had been originally drawn to. My solution was to take a thin piece of trim and create the “lines” seen in traditional shiplap, while using the wall to create the allusion of the “boards.” Creating in essence, Reverse Shiplap!
The wall I chose in my living room is 16′ wide, by 9′ tall, with a few windows. The original color of the wall is a light gray like the rest of my house, but I really needed to brighten up the area so I painted the wall in Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace. It is a beautiful bright white, and I would highly recommend it! Then I headed out to Lowe’s to find a trim piece that fit my vision. I wanted something at least 1″ wide, and with flat, squared edges, not rounded on either side. At this point I had resigned myself to using a nail gun and hundreds of nails to attach the trim to the wall. Until I found this!!
In this section of PVC (composite) boards, I found the perfect match for my project! A 1 1/8″ by 7 foot, 3/8″ deep, PVC white trim. And the best part, it is light as a feather! Here’s a closeup of the description and item number:
Because the PVC material is so lightweight, I decided to scrap the nail gun idea and use liquid nails to attach the trim directly to the wall. In my case, I knew I wanted this to be a permanent wall treatment so using liquid nails was a perfect solution!
How to create a Reverse Shiplap wall treatment
Here’s a list of all the materials I used and a price breakdown:
- PVC Crystal White stop trim (3/8-in x 1-1/8-in x 7-ft) – $3.97 x 15 = $59.55
- Liquid Nails Projects Construction Adhesive – $1.78 x 2 = $3.56
- Valspar Signature Interior Paint + Primer (in Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace) – $33.98 (I got mine on sale for $25)
- Pro Value Acrylic Latex Caulk – $1.38
- 10 oz. Caulk gun – $6.98
- Miter saw (could also use a hand saw and miter box easily!)
- Laser level
- Paint brushes & other painting supplies (had on hand)
Total spent: $96.58 + tax
For my wall, (16′ x 9′) I used 15 7-ft boards, with a few scrap pieces left over (including the window cut outs.) That was definitely the biggest expense, but if you wanted to use scrap wood trim instead of PVC, it would be a little more cost effective. In that case, I would secure it to the wall with nails instead of the Liquid Nails adhesive.
I had to measure and cut the pieces to fit around my windows and to finish off the wall length (2 boards was only 14′), so I measured each piece, marked with a pencil, and cut them with my Ryobi Miter Saw.
I love this laser light function that shows me exactly where the cut will be!
If you don’t have a miter saw, don’t worry! You can still cut the boards easily with a regular hand saw and miter box. I’ve used my miter box for many projects, and this PVC trim is so easy to cut through. It’s totally doable!
Once all my boards were cut to the correct sizes, I laid them out on a dropcloth in my kitchen and painted them to match the new wall color. I decided later that I probably could have skipped this step and painted them after they were attached to the wall. I ended up touching up the paint and painting along the seams (where the trim attached to the wall) after they were adhered anyway! So that step is completely up to you if you want to paint the boards before or after putting them up on the wall.
Earlier, after painting the wall and letting it dry overnight, I had drawn all the horizontal lines lightly on the wall with pencil. I measured 10″ down from the ceiling and 10″ between each line, creating a 9″ space between trim pieces. I used a laser level and yardstick to help me draw all the lines, and let me tell you that laser level was a lifesaver! (Thanks my sis!!)
Now I was ready to start attaching the trim pieces to the wall.
I started with the pieces in between the windows, and worked from there. I placed each trim piece on the floor, backside up, and applied a steady bead of liquid nails down the entire length of the board. Make sure not to get too much, and leave a gap at the edges because it will expand slightly as it dries. Then I attached the trim piece carefully, lining up the pencil marking with the top of the board. I continued with each piece, and did most of the job all by myself! (Until I had to hang the longer pieces at the top… that required the help of my son!)
Where the board seams met, I had to do some caulking and painting to fill in the gaps. Here is a picture before I caulked:
I did the majority of caulking around the windows, and where the seams met, but didn’t have to do any at the top or bottom of the trim. So it really wasn’t bad at all. That’s all there is to it!
The finished result is pretty amazing, don’t you think??
I can’t believe the difference it has made in our living space!
Here is a before pic:
And the after!
I hope this post has inspired you guys to try this twist on traditional shiplap! I’d love it if you want to pin the idea for later:
Let me know if you try it. I’d love to see your pictures!