A random door slapped into the middle of a wall can often ruin the flow and aesthetics of a perfectly crafted room. What’s better? A hidden door that adds a bit of whimsy to your home or perhaps offers more privacy, more space or a spot to stash your valuables.
Here are some ideas to hide parts of your home you may not want others to see — and to get your creativity flowing.
Hide your wine and liquor with cabinets inside your kitchen or underneath the floor. Spiral Cellars, based in England, makes watertight, pre-cast cylindrical systems that can be sunk into the ground in any room. Often found under a kitchen or study, they can store more than 1,000 wine bottles.
The cellars use the ground for insulation, and their airflow system doesn’t require power to maintain a constant temperature.
Sometimes your bathroom door — with all the trim, hinges and doorknob — is better off hidden. That was the case in this Austin, Texas, home during its sleek remodel.
Architect Hugh Randolph stashed a powder room under the staircase with a barely visible door that looks like a wall, using smudge-proof paint and lacquered fiberboard, the same material as the kitchen cupboards. The spring-activated door opens with a push and locks from the inside, using a sliding mechanism similar to that of an airplane lavatory.
Office inside a cabinet
This armoire, inside the dining room of an Indianapolis home, looks as though it would hold fine dishes or maybe a television. But open the door and you’ll step inside a home office, Indianapolis designer Heather Beuke Diers says.
Before a remodel of this space and the addition of custom cabinetry, this dining room had a plain wall with a basic door to the office.
Bedroom stashed behind a bookshelf
This standard, built-in bookshelf opens to a bedroom. The built-in bookcases use hidden hinges, rollers and handles, and installation can cost anywhere from $800 to $10,000. Numerous companies that specialize in these passageways have popped up, including Niche Doors, the Hidden Door Co., Decora Doors, Hide a Door and Secret Doorways.
Storage hidden behind mirror
This looks like an ordinary mirror — but it opens to offer a spot to hide jewelry and other valuables.
Secret mirrors are some of the most cost-effective hidden doors, says Steven Humble, president of Creative Home Engineering, a Gilbert, Ariz., company that makes secret passages. He installs similar systems behind framed artwork, pegboards and cork boards.
The hidden storage can be locked and opened with any number of security tricks, whether it’s via a magnet to a particular point on the frame, an eye scan, a fingerprint scan or a special knock on the wall. The mirror costs about $2,500.
Laundry room obscured by cabinets
Hiding a laundry room behind cabinetry is a common trick for homeowners who want to maximize their space and ensure easy access to their washer and dryer.
“Appliances are not always the most attractive [things] aesthetically,” interior designer Bonnie Bagley says.
She also designs cabinets to make room for toasters, coffee makers and blenders on countertops, as well as cabinets that hide refrigerators.
A tip for those considering these options: Ensure that your appliances have the correct ventilation.
Nook amid books
This hidden staircase leads to a third-floor sitting area and study inside this San Francisco home. The staircase wall offers continuity by continuing the bookshelves up to the next level. The door moves slowly so the books do not fall out.
“We could have put a door there, and it would have been cheaper and easier to do,” architect David Gast says. “But this introduces a little bit of whimsy to the house, and it’s a private, fun sanctuary.”
Sometimes you don’t want your television to be the center of the room. This custom, built-in cabinet and hidden motors makes the TV appear and disappear at will.
Designed for a New York City home, this TV hideaway was made to look like a standard bookshelf. With the press of a button, a TV slides out from a thin slot and folds out for viewing.
Such a system can be pricey — $2,000 for motors and an additional $1,000 for custom cabinets, says James Wagman of James Wagman Architects in New York. He says the setup is gaining popularity, however.
Room disguised by bookshelf
Pull out a special book in this library, inside a Hollywood screenwriter’s home, and a secret door will open to a small back entrance and master suite. The door uses spring hinges and rubber wheels on the bottom. On the other side of the bookcase, you will find a basic wall with paintings.
“Every client dreams of a hidden room in their house,” says Toronto designer Mark Dodge, who created the space.
The result? More privacy for the master bedroom and a seamless look for the library.
Bathroom behind the bed
The cabinetry surrounding the bed in this Seattle home looks ordinary. But the cabinet panel on the left is actually a swinging door that leads to a hidden master bathroom behind the bed.
The panel is insulated to reduce noise from the expansive bathroom on the other side, which features a vanity and sink.
The project took a lot of drawing, engineering and coordinating, Bagley says. But the layout was necessary to ensure that the homeowner could keep great window views and a large bathroom.
“I wanted it to look like a built-in that was uniform and balanced, instead of slapping on a door,” Bagley says.