How to Make a Secret Door

bookcase hanging on Soss Invisible Hinges shown ajar opening outward to show a new room

Secret rooms need doors. 

In fact, without a secret door to conceal the entrance into your secret room — it’s really not that much of a mystery, is it?

The door is perhaps the most important part. This article will cover just about everything you’ll need to have and do (in detail). 

Where Will Your Secret Room Go?

Before you can add the perfect door, you need a room to hide. While there aren’t any rules about where secret rooms can go, there are 3 main areas most choose.

  1. Closets: Put a false wall in the back or side of your closet and it would make a great room. Then, you could maybe add a shelf that doubles as the entrance, or completely hide the door in the trim.
  2. Central Rooms: Some houses have rooms that aren’t attached to the outside walls. These spaces typically don’t have windows making them ideal for a quick, hidden room. 
  3. Basements: Basements are fantastic for hidden rooms and passages. This is because there aren’t many windows and anyone going down there won’t know how big it is. Sometimes homes have smaller basements than the floor plan of the house.

Secret Room Door Ideas

Once you have that perfect location for your hidden place, it’s time to find the right way to gain entry to it!

Here are a few common ideas for secret room doors.

Bookcases

Everyone has seen the movies and shows. You know, when someone pulls a bust on the bookshelf and then a door opens that you didn’t know was there?

You can have the exact same entrance to your room, if you’re willing to put in the time. That said, many may instinctively try to pull on your decorations, if you do that. Otherwise, you can get some good quality invisible hinges and connect just about anything as a latch.

The Wall

Some of the best hidden entrances and secret doors are totally in plain sight. For instance, a brick facade can double as a door with minimal effort. Or, a door with a decent amount of trim conceals a door nicely.

With the new wrap around hinge, a door in the wall has never been easier (or more stealthy). The hinge, (called the SOSS 518 Wide Throw Hinge) can literally wrap around molding to completely hide the reveal line. 

Dressers

One of the “easier” doors to your secret room is to use a dresser or bureau or a wooden wardrobe. 

This one can be tricky. Due to the weight and size of the furniture you use, you’ll want to make sure that you can:

  1. Move it easily to get in and out
  2. Ensure it’s secure enough to hold the weight of the content 

The Floor

Like Batman sliding down into his lair, you too can have an entrance down through the floor. Of course, this is probably the most technically challenging of secret door ideas. In addition to the entrance, you’ll probably need a way to get down into the hiding spot.

If it’s a crawlspace, you may not need it. However, if you’re headed from the main floor to the basement, it may take some stairs — or a fireman’s pole!

Hardware is Vital.

One of the key themes in the world of secret doors and safe rooms is the need for quality. 

Here’s why.

  1. If you want a room to hide valuables or even for fun, it’s likely you want it to be nice.
  2. A poorly put together “secret” door will be easy to spot if done without attention to detail.

Here are a few things to think about.

Hidden Door Hinges

Doors need hinges and most hinges aren’t hidden. This makes getting a good invisible hinge one of the most important elements of your door. SOSS makes the best quality invisible hinge in the world. 

Our hinges are trusted across the world, even in the White House! (And they have some pretty awesome doors.)

Hidden Door Latch

If your door securely closes, it will need a latch. For things like panic rooms, this will be a necessity. However, if the secret room is more of a novelty, a latch isn’t critical.

Since this element of the door is hidden, standard latches could do the trick. Just make sure they’re hidden when closing the door.

Hidden Door Knob or Handle

Think through how your secret door opens. Will you pull a statue? Move a book? Or push a button? 

Just about anything will open your latch, if you connect it to it. And much like the latch, a handle may not be necessary (if no latch). 

Note: The most important thing about a handle is that it is either hidden or blends into the door itself!

Example Process of Building a Secret Door

First remove all the trim, around the area of your entrance (unless you’re using the trim and the wraparound hinge). Bottom trim should be removed if you’re using a bookshelf or other furniture as the entrance. This way, it will sit flush. 

Then, pick which type of door you’d like.

Measure the dimensions of your shelf, mark the wall and cut the wall. Be careful not to noticeably damage the wall and give away your secret.

If you’re using an entire bookshelf, either reinforce the sections which will have a hinge or ensure it’s a sturdy shelf that can handle it. For part of a larger bookshelf, cutting the section needed for the entrance will likely be necessary. 

Note: Make sure there is adequate clearance for the door to open and close.

Take your time on getting the hinges and equilibrium set. If the hinges are strong enough and there isn’t too much weight on the shelf — wheels may not be needed (making it even more stealthy).

Once done, make sure to stand back and make your chosen entrance blend in as much as possible. 

Get Your Entrance Started!

O.k, make sure you have a plan first. Don’t just go poking holes in your walls and floors without a solid idea of how things are going to proceed. 

Have any other ideas for doors we may have missed? Let us know!