Beautiful Shiplap Kitchen Backsplash

Many say that the kitchen is the heart of the home and for us, that is true. I live so much life within my kitchen and having a beautiful space to prepare meals in was a priority for me. Today, I’m going to share my eased-edge shiplap kitchen backsplash in hopes of inspiring you to make small changes to make your home a place you love.

vertical shiplap kitchen backsplash with fresh flowers on open shelving

When we walked through this home for the first time, I fell in love with the charm and potential it held. I loved so much about it, but one thing was for certain, the kitchen needed some TLC.

My main issue with the kitchen was the outdated backsplash tile. Not only was it outdated, but it had a pinkish hue to it that I didn’t like.

As we planned our kitchen updates, I scoured the internet for the perfect solution to replacing our kitchen backsplash. Every photo I loved had one thing in common- shiplap kitchen backsplash.

While I loved all of the shiplap, I quickly fell in love with the English feel the eased-edge, vertical shiplap held. It is timeless and offers the opportunity to be dressed up or kept casual and inviting.

I wanted to have a more “French or English cottage” feel to our kitchen, but I was curious how the shiplap behind the sink and stove would fare out.

After two years of use in our working kitchen, I can say that it still looks as good as new!

What is shiplap?

True shiplap overlaps and was originally used in old ships to prevent water from seeping in. As time has moved on, so has the style of shiplap.

These days, shiplap is most characterized by horizontal planks of wood placed on the wall with a small gap between each piece to create a simple line across the wall.

While typically mounted horizontally, shiplap is also being used as a vertical shiplap in many spaces, making it a very versatile way to add charm and character to any space.

the corner of vertical shiplap and an open shelf with flowers on it

Shiplap vs. Tongue and Groove

While shiplap and tongue and groove are very similar, they aren’t exactly the same. They both give the lines across the wall, but they come together in a different way and usually characterized by different styles.

If you are considering adding shiplap to your kitchen, I shared an entire post on how to install vertical shiplap to help you get started.

1. Shiplap

These days, shiplap is usually characterized by the farmhouse style. You see it in many modern farmhouses and even mid-century, modern homes.

Plywood is cut into 6″ or 8″ lengths and placed on the wall with a “nickel gap” between each board, giving the illusion of overlap by creating a shadow with the small gap.

2. Tongue and Groove Shiplap

Tongue and groove shiplap typically costs a bit more because you are using heavier pieces of wood that have edges that lock together like puzzle pieces.

While shiplap is used to give a farmhouse feel, tongue and groove shiplap is often used to create the English cottage vibe.

a kitchen with white, vertical shiplap boards and open shelving with a wooden peg rack

Horizontal Shiplap vs. Vertical Shiplap

Horizontal Shiplap

During the early days of the farmhouse shiplap, most people did horizontal shiplap.

In turn of the century homes, when the dry wall was removed it revealed horizontal shiplap or wooden planks, which is why most people hung their modern shiplap horizontally.

Vertical Shiplap

While vertical shiplap isn’t a new thing, it has only been recently that people have decided to hang their shiplap vertically. One reason is because vertical shiplap is seen as being a bit more difficult to execute.

Vertical shiplap draws the eye up and creates a different line for the room and may give the illusion that the room is wider and taller than it is! It also creates a very traditional look that can be maintained as the styles ebb and flow.

wooden peg rack in a kitchen with french soap on a rope and wooden brushes hanging from it

Shiplap Backsplash

Shiplap is a great way to add character and charm to your kitchen. It is easy to install over existing tile and gives interest, yet keeps things clean and simple with the design aspect.

Shiplap backsplash looks great under cabinets or behind open shelving. It is versatile and timeless.

Our shiplap is a certain kind called Eased-Edge Shiplap. This is a type of shiplap that has a beveled edge on each side of the board, resulting in an angled look to the gap.

Will water damage shiplap backsplash?

This is a common question and the best answer is to get a good paint that seals up the shiplap and keeps it waterproof. Ask your local paint supplier which paint is best for shiplap backsplash.

Another quick tip is to wipe off your shiplap backsplash quickly if it does come into contact with water.

Make sure you hang it so that there is a gap between the counter top and the bottom of the shiplap so that it doesn’t sit directly on top of the counter. By having a gap, filled with caulk, the water will come into contact with the caulking and not the wooden shiplap.

vertical shiplap boards used as shiplap kitchen backsplash painted in snowbound paint by sherwin williams

Where do I buy Shiplap Boards?

Depending on what you’re looking for and what style you are wanting, shiplap boards are available online and in most home improvement stores.

You can create your own shiplap boards by ripping down plywood or underlayment boards at the home improvement store. Just ask them to cut them into 6″ or 8″ rips.

Or, you can grab tongue and groove shiplap that is ready to be hung. Be sure to look the boards over and grab the ones that are the straightest and that have the fewest (or no) knots.

a living room with horizontal DIY shiplap and fireplace

DIY Shiplap

One of the easiest DIY projects we’ve done was in our last home. We wanted to shiplap both sides of our fireplace, but we were also on a tight budget because we had just redone our fireplace.

We decided to do our own horizontal DIY shiplap to complete our fireplace project and it turned out beautifully and only took a weekend to complete.

What you will need for DIY Shiplap:

  • Plywood or underlayment ripped to 6″ or 8″ pieces- It is completely up to you how wide you want your pieces.
  • Nickel- This is to help you achieve your nickel gap. You can also use tile spacers for this.
  • Glue- It is best to glue the boards up first. If you have smooth walls, this might be all you need to do. If you have textured or uneven walls, you will need to tack them up with a nail gun, also.
  • Nail gun- For tacking up the boards once glued on
  • Saw- For cutting the length of the boards down. It is best practice to cut the boards in varying lengths so the boards don’t all come together at the same place. The variety of the seams gives interest to the wall.
  • Putty- For filling nail holes
  • Paint- both a primer and a color

Steps for DIY Shiplap

  1. Have the home improvement store rip down your shiplap boards
  2. Begin your horizontal shiplap at the ceiling and work your way down, glueing each piece as you go
  3. Once your boards are glued and in place, nail them in place and putty the nail holes
  4. Prime the boards and paint your desired color
horizontal shiplap on living room walls around a fireplace

Shiplap Alternatives

If you aren’t a DIYer or you don’t have many DIY skills, there are great shiplap alternatives and several can even be used for your shiplap kitchen backsplash. Not only are they easier, but a couple are even very cost effective.

1. Wallpaper Shiplap

Wallpaper shiplap is readily available and some stores have extremely cost effective options. Shiplap peel and stick wallpaper is simple to use and you can create a whole new look to your space within a few hours!

If you are working with plain sheetrock as your backsplash, you can easily apply this to your walls for that shiplap look.

2. Peel and Stick Shiplap

Similar to the shiplap peel and stick wallpaper above, actual peel and stick shiplap exists! These are made with thin boards that have an adhesive already on the back of them.

You simply peel the paper backing off and stick it to your wall.

You might have to make some cuts with this product, for instance around outlets, but it is an easy way to create the shiplap look in your home.

3. Shiplap Wall Paneling

A fast way to create the shiplap look is to use shiplap wall paneling. Shiplap paneling comes in sheets that you glue or nail to your wall.

These panels aren’t too expensive and it makes quick work of your project. Plus, with shiplap paneling, you only have to deal with a few seams since it comes in big sheets, much like bead board paneling.

4. Permanent Marker Shiplap

If you are an a super tight budget, you can even draw the shiplap board lines with a permanent marker to give the look of shiplap.

I don’t think permanent marker shiplap would look very appealing as a backsplash, but in a small room, it could trick the eye into thinking there were actual shiplap boards hung.

a before and after photo of shiplap kitchen backsplash

Before and After Shiplap Kitchen Backsplash

It took three years of living here to get this space completed and I love how it turned out. The English cottage vibe is going strong and it is such a beautiful space to be in. The shiplap kitchen backsplash made the biggest impact by far.

There are still some finishing touches that need to happen, like finding a cabinet to fill the open void where the old desk used to be, but we are enjoying it none-the-less.

To achieve the cottage look, we went with an eased-edge, tongue and groove shiplap from Lowe’s. This particular kind was made of pine and we took several steps to ensure it was smooth.

  1. Sanded the boards- we sanded each board with an orbital sander to knock off any rough spots
  2. Primer- we painted two coats of primer, and sanded in between coats. This was an extra step, but we wanted to make sure the boards were smooth.
  3. Paint- Each board has 3 coats of the paint color. I went with an eggshell finish so they could be easily wiped down.

Tips and Tricks for Shiplap Kitchen Backsplash

  • Buy straight boards with few, to no, knots on them
  • Hang the boards slightly above the counter and fill the gap with caulking to prevent moisture from sitting against the underside of the shiplap boards
  • Wipe them down quickly if water splashes up on them and be sure to use the appropriate paint to ensure they won’t take on moisture

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use shiplap as a kitchen backsplash?

Yes! There are several methods for hanging shiplap as a kitchen backsplash. From tongue and groove shiplap to shiplap peel and stick wallpaper, the lines of shiplap look beautiful as a backsplash.

Does shiplap last for a long time when used as backsplash?

It is important to seal your shiplap well before using your kitchen. If water splashes on it, simply wipe it down to prevent it from expanding from the moisture.

Can you shiplap over tile backsplash?

Depending upon the shiplap you are using, you can glue the shiplap directly over the tile. One thing to remember if you do this is that outlets will have to be moved forward so they don’t hang behind the shiplap.

Pin for later

vertical eased-edge kitchen backsplash with open shelving

Similar Posts


  1. Hi Liz,
    Your kitchen looks beautiful. Quick question, did you install the shiplap first or the base cabinetry first?

  2. Your kitchen is so beautiful!
    Where do you get the painting of the bouquet of flowers above the open shelves? I love it!

    1. Thank you!!! It was a vintage find from an antique store. 🙂 I have seen them around, so keep your eye out!

  3. I have been so frustrated trying to figure out what to use for a backsplash for our new build, especially since I need to find something reasonably priced and I’m a bit tired of all the subway tile out there. Your kitchen looks amazing and I think the vertical T&G will work great for us. Can you tell me whether you painted it before installing it and then touched up, or painted after the install? Your hint about leaving a tiny gap for caulk is so helpful. Thank you!!

  4. Love the look of verticals shiplap! Your home looks beautiful! You could have a custom piece made by Clint @harpdesign! He’s JoannaGaines wood worker!

  5. Hi Liz, I really like the vertical shiplap. I usually don’t like all white houses because I think they look cold and uninviting, but you make it look good; it is beautiful. Can you tell me where you keep your essential oils. My kitchen counters are so cluttered. I would love to know where you keep everything.

    1. That is the best compliment ever… that you think my home is inviting. 🙂 I keep my oils inside of my antique buffet by the brick fireplace (look on my instagram) and in the antique typewriter drawer on my dining room wall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.