Many a Sheetrock wall has been covered up by rustic shiplap since Joanna Gaines brought the modern farmhouse look to the masses on Fixer Upper. At this point, we’re quickly speeding toward too-much-of-a-good-thing territory, which got us wondering: Are designers still loving shiplap, or are they ready to move on to the next big thing? It turns out, they’re divided.
“Shiplap has a classic but casual vibe that reaches back in rural history,” says Nashville-based designer Sarah Bartholomew. “It really never goes out of style and doesn’t feel old-fashioned or gimmicky to me. That said, I only want to see more of it when it’s architecturally appropriate for the home.” Other designers are a little more cutthroat: “I am over it big-time,” says Abbe Fennimore, founder of Studio Ten 25. “I know many people love the look of it, but not every wall needs to appear as if it’s trying to be an old barn.” What wall treatment comes next? Here are the four materials designers predict will give shiplap a run for its money.
Other Wood Treatments
Shiplap itself might be oversaturated, but other decorative woodwork isn’t going anywhere if you ask interior designer Maggie Griffin. Picture molding, board and batten, beadboard, tongue and groove, and judges paneling are all fair game. “I love mixing in fresh millwork ideas to give a home personality, permanence, and a warm presence,” says Griffin. “A gridded wall of board and batten has been our go-to lately for a little more formal look than shiplap, especially for dining rooms and library spaces.” Paint it a rich color, like a smoky blue or dark green, to keep it contemporary.
Griffin isn’t the only designer who thinks woodwork is here to stay in one form or another: “Picture molding is one of my favorite wall treatments to take a room to the next level,” says Fennimore. “It’s affordable and can easily be a weekend project.” Caitlin Murray, founder of Black Lacquer Design, is on the same page. “I think that the next wave of architectural finishes will echo ornate, traditional designs of decades past with a cleaner, more modern twist,” she says.
Bartholomew, who made waves at this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House with her fluted plaster walls, guesses we’ll see more of the 3-D finish soon. To spice it up, she loves playing with accent trim colors.
Anthony Dargenzio of Zio & Sons has always been a fan of shiplap for anything from floors to walls and even ceilings; in his Hudson rental, he whitewashed the wood paneling for a Scandinavian vibe. It comes down to his passion for raw materials, and lately he’s been experimenting with other untreated textures. “I have a crush on everything cement right now,” he says.
Ceramic tile is another favorite. In a bathroom he recently designed, Dargenzio combined traditional beadboard with zellige tile from his latest collection with Clé, giving the space a timeless look—but with an edge.
Let’s be clear: Just because shiplap might be out doesn’t mean walls are going bare. “Bold wallpaper is making a big comeback and in a much more stylish way than my mother’s floral wallpaper from 1980,” says interior designer Ashley Moore.
Jade Joyner of Metal + Petal also listed the wall covering as her finish of choice: “I love grasscloths for texture, printed papers to add pattern, murals to add color, and luxurious silk panels to dress up a room. I don’t like to paper a whole house, but I do love carefully chosen designs in the right room for the right reason.”
Shiplap may not be going anywhere, but we’re ready for a change.
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