Secret Rooms, Compartments, and Doors

Reading Time: 2 minutes

One of the things I’ve always appreciated in any space is a sense of the unexpected.

Some of this has to do with my reading habits when I was a kid; stories that concerned themselves with mystery, wonder, and intrique. I’m thinking of the Hardy Boys’ The Secret Panel. I’m thinking about the secret magicians’ lair in C.S Lewis’ The Magicians Nephew accessible through a secret door in the attic. And Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five series were always finding secret passageways, doors, and trapdoors in one situation or another.

Anyway, I find this idea of a secret space, a sliding panel, a rotating bookcase (a true staple of adventure stories!), a mysterious door, to be a sort of intriguing, and even comforting, idea. It’s certainly an example of the unexpected.

Luckily, with our 21st century being about re-defining spaces according to our own visions and personal needs using good design, the secret panel has been utilized practically and stylishly in a number of contexts. So, here is a selection that’s caught my eye recently.

Your standard bookcase-as-door secret room

There’s added personality injected into a space when you’ve got a secret door or secret room. And it helps if that door doubles as a place to keep your books, too.


Source: via imma on Pinterest

The outdoor secret room

Secret spaces don’t have to be inside. Look at this one; a secret garden and secret room all in one.

Source: via Tiffany on Pinterest


The secret stairway door

This door is cleverly, and seamlessly incorporated into this space. But, what it makes me think of is the possibility to mess with someone’s head, walking behind them down the stairs, and then “disappearing” before they can turn around to tell you how cool your home is. That might just be me (but, I suspect it’s not!).

Source: via Carrie on Pinterest

Wine cellar trapdoor

Wine, specifically red wine, needs a dark space for storage. So, why not a trapdoor in your otherwise sunny kitchen, a room where accessibility to the grape is most essential.


Source: via Heather on Pinterest


Hideaway at home

This is another shifting bookshelf example, this time from the other side. Here, you can see that the secret door and secret room model is a domicile, a home inside a home.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest


Secret compartments

“Secret rooms” can a pretty wide category. In this case, it’s a secret compartment for your valuables, whatever they might be.


Source: via Montina on Pinterest


Doorway of mystery

This isn’t so secret, maybe. But this grand old garden door sure is compelling to look at, just because it makes you wonder, instantly, what’s on the other side. That places it under the same heading as the others we’ve seen – the unexpected.

Source: via Shannon on Pinterest


Secret rooms, doors, compartments add that sense of the unexpected, and the compelling, to spaces. It’s great to see some real-life examples after reading so many stories, and having the imagination captured by the idea of a secret room, a secret door, a secret world.

But, what’s your take, gentle reader? Is the secret door idea just a gimmick? Or can it be a part of a modern 21st century design?



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Rob Jones

Rob served as Editor-In-Chief of BuildDirect Blog: Life At Home from 2007-2016. He is a writer, Dad, content strategist, and music fan.