Vertical vs. Horizontal Shiplap: Benefits and Features of Both Styles

December 22, 2020

By: The Finished Space

Shiplap entered the scene in 2013 when Joanna Gaines decided to keep a home with a shiplap exterior exposed, rather than covering it up on an episode of her design show "Fixer Upper." Since then, shiplap has gone from being an exterior siding staple to a modern interior design trend.  

Whether it's raw, painted, or stained, shiplap can add character and a hint of rustic charm to any room. However, the question isn't if shiplap looks great in homes. The real question is whether vertical or horizontal shiplap is the way to go.

When it's vertical vs. horizontal shiplap – which one wins? Let's take a look at the benefits and features of each style, so that you can determine which is best for your project. 

How Shiplap Can Improve Your Home

Shiplap is a beautiful and simple way to add intrigue and interest to any wall or room. Vertical or horizontal shiplap options are cost-effective and DIY-friendly, making them ideal solutions for people who love to transform spaces on their own.

Shiplap comes in various colors, styles, sizes, and materials, making it an incredibly versatile option for most homeowners. Whether you're trying to make a room feel larger, cozier, or more modern, shiplap can fit the bill.  

Overall, shiplap works well in virtually every style and has a place in nearly every project – as long as you know whether to use vertical or horizontal shiplap.

Vertical Shiplap Features

More Vintage, Rustic, and Traditional

For Blog Only - Brittany Chinaglia, of Brittany Makes & the Vintage Rug Shop - Shiplap Bedroom Dresser

Brittany Chinaglia, of Brittany Makes & the Vintage Rug Shop

Vertical shiplap has a vintage and rustic vibe. If you're aiming for a mid-century, contemporary, or a more traditional design for your space – vertical shiplap is a terrific choice.

Vertical shiplap has a timeless quality about it. When thoughtfully applied, it can withstand the ebbs and flows of what's popular in interior design. So, if you want a design feature that can stand the test of time versus being on-trend, vertical shiplap is the way to go.

Heightens the Room

For Blog Only - Brittany Chinaglia, of Brittany Makes & the Vintage Rug Shop - Shiplap Bedroom

Brittany Chinaglia, of Brittany Makes & the Vintage Rug Shop

Vertical shiplap can trick the eye. It can make a room appear taller than it is. If you have a space with low ceilings, vertical shiplap is a fantastic choice to give the illusion of taller ceilings.

Additionally, the lines of vertical shiplap can help counterbalance the horizontal lines in a room, like shelves, tables, countertops, kitchen islands, and more. So, if you have a room with a lot of horizontal lines, vertical shiplap could be the perfect way to balance everything out.  

Unique and Used Less Often

For Blog Only - Chip and Joanna Gaines, HGTV's Fixer Upper - Vertical Black Shiplap Dining

Designer: Joanna Gaines | Photographer: Jennifer Boomer

Vertical shiplap is more unique than horizontal shiplap. It's not used as often, so if you want to add an additional wow-factor to your shiplap, vertical is the way to go.

Vertical shiplap doesn't have the same characteristics as horizontal shiplap. It creates an entirely different look. Keep in mind that it can also be a bit trickier to install than horizontal shiplap (though still DIY-friendly).

Vertical shiplap is an unexpected choice. If you like to go against the grain and try something a bit different, then vertical shiplap's uniqueness is a definite selling point.

Horizontal Shiplap Features

A More Modern, Popular Style

Metrie Complete - Shiplap - Bedroom

If you're looking to have your home's design on the pulse of what's modern – horizontal shiplap is the way to go. Horizontal shiplap is the more popular of the two options. It remains a hot trend in the interior design world. If you go with horizontal shiplap, you're sure to have visitors swooning with this design feature.

Widens the Room

Metrie Complete - Shiplap - Stairs Entrance

Horizontal shiplap has an optical illusion effect just like vertical shiplap does. It can make a room look wider than it is. So, if you want to make a room look or feel larger than it is, horizontal is the way to go.

Horizontal shiplap is also commonly applied behind staircases because it balances the stairs' vertical direction while extending the stairs' appearance. It can also be used to visually balance a heavy cupboard in a kitchen.

Compatible with the Trending Farmhouse Style

Option M - OLD - Modern Farmhouse - Shiplap Wall Ideas & Designs

If you're trying to achieve the ever-popular farmhouse or modern farmhouse style, then horizontal shiplap is the way to go. It's a staple of the farmhouse design. (Horizontal shiplap is also a winner with the coastal style or Cape Cod-style abodes).

Why does it work so well in this aesthetic? Horizontal shiplap resembles the look of barn walls, which naturally complements farmhouse design styles.

How to Buy the Best Shiplap

In the debate between vertical vs. horizontal shiplap, which comes out on top? It really depends on your project. However, one thing is for sure: you can't go wrong with shiplap, as long as you get high-quality material.

If you want to buy the best shiplap on the market, we can help. We're experts at shiplap and all the finishing touches that make a room look fantastic. We have everything from pre-painted shiplap to primed shiplap boards that are ready for painting.

Check out our Shiplap options here.

If you still aren't sure whether vertical or horizontal shiplap is right for you, we have an option you might like, called Option M.

Option M allows you to choose a design aesthetic you like, and we'll show you the finishing touches you need to bring that look to life! Check out Option M today