How to Make a Secret Door (Hidden Door Guide)

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 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.

histWith 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 (albeit typically not hidden ones). 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). The 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.

Building a secret room in your home is a great way to add value to your property while also adding a layer of protection for those in your household. A secret room can serve many purposes, from protecting valuables and providing a safe haven to offering a unique escape room to enjoy movies and peaceful downtime.

If you are thinking of building a secret room, one of the first steps to take is to determine what type of entranceway or hidden door you will use to gain access to the space.

Remember, You’re Trying to Keep a Secret

Whenever you are in the process of building a secret entrance in your home or even outside of your home, it is important to remember that you are trying to keep it hidden from public view. Consider how your entrance will be accessible to you, and whether or not you are able to hide it from the naked eye or from those who are even inside of your home.

Avoid building a room you want to keep hidden without taking precautions and measures to at least attempt secrecy. Choose an area in your home that is inconspicuous and not likely to draw much attention, such as near a bookshelf or even inside of a walk-in closet you have available.

Types of Hidden Doors

Once you have made the decision to create your home’s secret room, you must then begin pondering what type of hidden door is best for your space. Some of the most common types of hidden doors that are ideal for secure rooms and spaces include:

  • Staircase doors: For a smaller, more compact secret room, consider building a hidden door that is flush with your home’s current built-in staircase, leading to a space beneath the stairs themselves.
  • Flush doors: Install doors that are flush with your wall, requiring a push or even a secret hidden switch in order to open. When using a door that is flush with your wall as an entrance to your secret room, you can also install invisible hinges to help keep your door even more hidden and out of plain sight.
  • Switch doors: Use a switch to open the hidden doors you have leading to your secret room.
  • Bookshelf: Use an existing bookshelf that can be transformed into a hidden door, or opt to build your own built-in bookshelf that opens and closes with the use of invisible hinges.
  • Wainscot doors: One type of hidden door that works well with existing wainscoting includes a wainscot door. Wainscoting panels are often designed with similar patterns and designs, making it extremely easy to install a hidden door if you already have wainscoting paneling or walls throughout your home.
  • Pantry doors: Do you have a pantry installed in your home? If you have a walk-in pantry, installing an additional secret hidden door inside is possible, especially if you have additional space or room beyond your pantry. A pantry provides great hidden space, as it is not often frequented by guests and is not likely to be the first location someone searches if they are looking for hidden doors and entrances.

Reasons to Use a Modern Hidden Door

Using a modern hidden door helps you to keep your secret room hidden and discreet, which is the entire purpose of building your secret room. With a modern hidden door, you no longer have to worry about exposed, loud, or clunky hardware, especially if you choose to use invisible hinges with the hidden doors you install.

Using an older or outdated hidden door can lead to creaking sounds and exposing your secret room, especially if the door itself does not blend well with the rest of your room’s atmosphere and aesthetic. With a modern hidden door, minimize the risk of having your space discovered by unwanted guests or visitors.

How to Access and Use Your Secret Door

Accessing and using your secret door will greatly depend on your plans, the size of your secret room, as well as the purpose of the room you are building and hiding away. Accessing your door can be as simple as locating and pulling or turning a handle–or it can be as challenging as moving items and flipping a hidden switch, depending on your preferred setup.

Some popular methods used to access modern hidden doors include:

  • Push doors: Knowing where a hidden door is located in a room with walls that are flush with the door provides an optimal push door
  • Switch: Using a switch is one of the most modern and sophisticated methods of accessing hidden doors. Install a switch using electricity, or another manual unlocking method, which is optimal for spaces that do not require or run on electricity.
  • Bookshelf: Using a bookshelf is another way to implement hidden doors that are difficult to detect. Use bookshelves that open with a push, or installed using invisible hinges and latches making them virtually undetectable.

Use the Right Hardware

Using the right hardware is key when you are building a secret room and installing hidden doors. Consider using invisible hinges that are modern, yet sleek and discreet to prevent giving away where your secret room’s doors and entrances are located. Use invisible hinges and flush materials to help blend the hidden doors you choose to use for your secret room hidden and out of plain sight.

Secret Doors in History

Using secret doors and entrances is not a new tactic to keep the information, people, and even valuable treasures out of the public eye. In fact, secret doors are seen throughout history to help prevent access to specific locations and even to protect individuals from soldiers, enemies, and natural disasters.

From providing a passageway for King Charles II to offering tunnels for transportation through prohibition, secret doors, entranceways, and secret rooms, in general, are historical. Secret doors have kept precious jewels and valuables hidden in tombs and in pyramids in Egypt, while also providing safe havens for those who attempted to escape the enemy in Nazi Germany during WWII.

Secret doors have always had numerous purposes, and can provide an escape or getaway during war and peacetime, for any reason.

Understanding the benefits of using a modern hidden door in your home’s secret room is a way for you to get started with your DIY project with full confidence. When you are familiar with your options and know what type of hidden space you intend to create, choosing the hidden doors that are right for your secret entrance will become much easier.

Create Your Entrance!

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!