If you love the look of shiplap but want to transform your walls with an alternative, Great Guys Painting offers up some exciting options. Some are even quite a bit cheaper and far easier to install than shiplap. If plain generic walls aren’t for you, check out the shiplap alternatives that can provide some texture, charm, or a bit of drama to your home.

1. Nickel Gap Boards

Similar to the look of shiplap but with a smoother sleeker profile, nickel gap has a more contemporary feel. Rather than overlapping boards as in shiplap, the nickel gap style features boards that are spaced apart by about a nickel’s width. It’s easier to keep clean because dust doesn’t settle on the boards like in shiplap.

2. Beadboard

Like shiplap, beadboard offers a fresh but rather rustic farmhouse look. Between each plank there’s a small indentation known as a bead. Traditional beadboard is 2 ½-inch V bead or 1 ⅝-inch V-bead, usually in narrow wood planks. For large rooms, wider boards tend to look more proportional. 

Originally, beadboard was made from wood but now you can buy it in fiberboard, MDF, and PVC panels. If you choose beadboard for a bathroom, be sure to choose a finish that’s moisture resistant. If you install beadboard outside, say on a porch, choose an exterior-grade. DIYers like ½-inch panels because they can easily go right over the framing without needing to build up door or window trim.

3. Board and Batten

Board and batten has been a popular cladding, both inside and outside, for centuries. Boards are installed next to one another and the slight space between the boards is covered by a narrow piece of wood called a batten. Although typically the battens are installed vertically, they can be laid in a grid pattern or horizontally. 

The chosen pattern will depend on the height and the size of a room. For example, vertical battens can make a low ceilinged room look higher. When installed horizontally, board and batten can look very similar to shiplap. And there’s always the option of varying the board width to achieve a unique look.

4. Textured Wallpaper

Shiplap does transform walls but if you don’t want to go through the effort and expense of having to purchase wood planks, then cut and install them, textured wallpaper can offer a beautiful alternative. You’ll still get texture and interest, but with cheaper and faster application than shiplap. And with the popularity of peel and stick textured wallpapers, you can enjoy your efforts in just a few hours.

5. Caning

Caning is most typically seen on vintage and antique chairs and furniture but it can be a very unusual and beautiful alternative to shiplap. Strips of rattan and wood are woven together into a honeycomb design that adds dimension, interest, and intriguing shadow to a wall. Caning is also used to face cabinetry and accent pieces like lamps and decorative screens. Like shiplap, cane can be painted or stained any color you choose.

6. Fluted Panels

While shiplap imparts a more rustic or farmhouse vibe, fluted panels, also called reed panels or tambour, provide a more elegant textured look. The fluted panels are usually made of wood, but they can also be made of upholstery or even metal. Traditionally, narrow raised fluted pieces of wood are run parallel to one another. Fluted panels impart more of a custom look and are beautiful when installed on walls or ceilings. 

7. Reclaimed Wood Planks

Sourced from old buildings like factories or barns, reclaimed wood planking can offer up a look similar to shiplap. Because the wood was likely put under stress during its lifetime, it can appear much more rustic, distressed, and textured than shiplap. 

Many homeowners like to use reclaimed wood planks for accent walls and often they don’t paint them so the beautiful old patina can show through. It’s suggested to buy additional pieces because sometimes a piece can be so heavily distressed that it’s not pleasing. And wow! Reclaimed wood planks are even available in peel and stick!

8. Faux Brick

If you dream of living in a converted loft with exposed brick walls, you can mimic the look with faux brick panels. Brick can also offer a crisp contemporary look, or even a mid-century modern vibe. The panels are usually made of high-density polyurethane and the higher quality panels even have deep grout lines. Installing the panels is an easy DIY project. On average, faux brick panels are very lightweight at only about a pound per square foot. They’re available in many finishes with whitewashed finish and distressed being the most popular.

9. Faux Stone Panels

Very much the same concept as faux brick, faux stone panels are also very lightweight, simple to install, and much cheaper than the real thing. The panels can be purchased in stacked, ridge or ledge stone styles in a range of colors that adapt to various room designs. Faux stone can add drama to an accent wall, surround a fireplace, or even liven up a boring mud room. 

10. Molding

When designed in creative patterns and details, wood molding can provide a distinct and unique finish on an accent wall or an entire room. The designs are only limited by one’s imagination and can be abstract, symmetrical or a mix of the two. That means that the walls in your room will be unique and one-of-a-kind. 

Molding works with any type of architecture or decor and is especially dramatic when it and the wall behind are painted anything from a crisp white to a dark eggplant. Just make sure to buy molding that’s in the proper scale and proportion to the ceiling height and size of the room. Some popular molding designs include chevron, diamond, Greek key, and 1″ x 3″ x 2″ molding installed in large bold squares or rectangles.

Some of the wall treatments featured in our list can closely mimic the shiplap look while others will offer a unique twist that shiplap can’t duplicate. And with high tech options like easy to install panels or peel and stick, it’s easy to transform a room quickly and more cheaply. 

If you’re anxious to add some drama to boring white walls, there are some exciting options to choose from. Whether you want to use real wood or a look-alike, you can bring charm into your home with beadboard or liven up apartment walls with peel and stick textured wallpaper. It’s entirely up to you. If you’d like help with your wall project, Great Guys Painting is ready to assist! To save you the time and effort of searching for a trustworthy painting contractor, we connect you with licensed and insured professionals near you. We’ve vetted each and every pro in our network so you can be assured of expert workmanship and quality customer care.


After you choose an alternative to shiplap, let Great Guys Painting find you a reliable trim expert to transform your walls into something unique and exciting. Request a free quote now!