What one blogger learned while adding nickel gap shiplap to her home.
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Entryway with Storage Cubbies and Sink
Credit: Getty Images

Open a decor magazine, scroll through Pinterest, or log onto Instagram, and chances are good you'll come across a beautiful farmhouse-style room with walls decked out in shiplap. Thanks to Fixer Upper and Joanna Gaines' iconic style, these white wood wall planks have been trending for a while now, with everyone from interior designers to home bloggers trying out the look.

If you've been curious about shiplap installation in your home, there are a few things to keep in mind before you start nailing wood planks to your kitchen walls on a whim. When we toured the home of photographer Stacy K. Allen, the blogger behind Mountainside Home, and spotted the meticulously-placed DIY shiplap throughout, we had to ask for her top design secrets.

Insider Shiplap Tips

1 Consider alternate materials like plywood.

When Stacy and her husband Jarrod decided to add shiplap to her kitchen's dining nook, they chose to use pine boards for a more substantial, authentic look. But after spotting how great DIY shiplap looked in the home of a friend who used inexpensive plywood, Stacy was convinced.

"Some people just use plywood. Which is awesome, and I really kind of like the look a little bit better, because with the pine boards, the knots kind of come through," Stacy explains. The knots give the walls a rustic, natural look, but plywood provides a more seamless, minimalist effect. "I think if we were to do it again, we might go the plywood route, just because it's straighter and there's not as many imperfections."

2 Source the wood locally.

Once you decide on a material, shop around for the best deal. Stacy recommends visiting a local lumber company, which is often cheaper than buying from a big hardware store.

3 Try just a touch of shiplap.

If covering all four walls of a room in shiplap feels a little bit overwhelming, try introducing just a touch of the material on one standout feature. For example, Stacy only installed shiplap to the dining nook and oven hood in her kitchen. 

Start small with one accent wall, a headboard, or even a fireplace before committing to covering the entire room. It will give you a chance to test your DIY skills—and lets you live with the look before you make a more costly move.

4 Understand it's called "nickel gap" for a reason.

Sometimes known as nickel gap shiplap, the process of installing shiplap really does require stocking up on spare change. "We had the kids go to the coin jar and get nickels, and then you put nickels in there when you're installing," says Stacy. The coins placed in between the boards ensure that the spacing is even and that the boards will all line up. Once you nail in one board and install the board above it, you take the nickels out and repeat the process. "We've done it so many times, it's really a lot easier than you would think," Stacy reassures us.

5 Opt for colors other than white.

Just because it's shiplap doesn't mean it has to be painted white! In Stacy's son Jude's room, the wood planking is painted a cool shade of black. Other color options include navy, sage green, or a clay-like neutral. Try to keep the sheen relatively flat because any gloss will highlight every imperfection.