The main photo is courtesy of Murphy Door, which showcases a secret yoga retreat, enclosed by a right-hand, out-swing hidden door bookcase, configured with slab style cabinet doors and stainless steel handles.
Hidden doors leading to secret rooms are yet another creative example of powerful Transformable Design. Whether you seek extra security, a wellness oasis, or just a design refresh, hidden doors can meet all of these needs, and more!
A secret, hidden door, which gives way to a private room, may conjure up peculiar images of old, haunted houses, or iconic Hollywood interiors like Bruce Wayne’s Gotham mansion, or even nostalgic cartoon episodes like Scooby Doo. Regardless, contemporary homeowners are realizing that hidden doors are a convenient way to add style, personality and functionality to their existing spaces, while instilling peace of mind with an added layer of security.
Relatively easy to install as a DIY or handyman project, hidden doors can serve as a gateway to a private inner sanctum, be it a wine room, wellness meditation room, or quiet reading room.
As concerns about security and personal safety increase, hidden doors can also serve as an effective method of hiding valuables. Belongings, such as artwork, jewelry, critical documents, computers, precious metals and firearms, can remain undetectable by burglars or outsiders, such as service professionals, often while improving the décor of the living space of the residence.
Table of Contents
- What is a Hidden Door?
- The Benefits of Hidden Doors
- Types of Hidden Doors
- Companies that Manufacture Hidden Doors
- Recommended Reading
What is a Hidden Door?
A Hidden Door, often called a Secret Door or Murphy Door, is an alternative to a regular room entryway door that can protect an adjoining room, provide an alternative exit, or hide an otherwise utilitarian room, such as a laundry room.
A hidden door is often disguised as a bookcase, wine rack, shoe rack, billiard cue wall rack, or floor-to-ceiling mirror. However, just about any customizable scenario that you can imagine can be achieved with the help of a reputable hidden door manufacturer or carpenter.
Closets, small bedrooms and storage rooms are popular choices to enclose with a hidden door to create a secret hiding space within existing floorplans.
Key to the functionality of a hidden door are the concealed pivot hinges that allow both inswing and outswing capability, depending on where you place the hinge pin and door casing or top trim piece during installation.
Given the extra weight that a hidden door may hold (e.g. books), it is critical that the top and bottom hinges transfer the weight of the door to the floor, taking pressure off of the hinges, jambs, and mounting screws.
Hidden Doors differ distinctly from “doors that can be hidden”, like Pocket Doors, by the fact that they also disguise and hide the doorway when shut. Hidden Doors could also be referred to as “Hidden Doorways”, but the nomenclature would not be as memorable.
The Benefits of Hidden Doors
Though Hollywood has certainly biased many homeowners to think of hidden doors solely as unrealistic plot devices, an increasing number of homeowners has been waking up to their affordability as creative storage solutions. With the benefits of storage propelling awareness, the key benefits of hidden doors can be categorized as:
- Safety & Security
- Privacy & Wellness
Hidden doors can be used to facilitate hidden rooms that can serve as panic rooms, showcase rooms to house valuable private collections, or personal privacy and wellness rooms when needing to isolate one’s self from the rest of the household.
Hidden doors offer a variety of options for usage including a private ingress or egress from a main living space, which is known only to those who need to know.
Secret doors can also allow you to camouflage an ill-placed or unappealing door in a living area where the aesthetic can be improved by a more attractive floor-to-ceiling art piece, for example.
Types of Hidden Doors
If you can dream it, one of the many hidden door manufacturers can help you conceive it. The idea is to create a natural look to the existing decor creating a continuous wall appearance, while maintaining the secrecy of the space the door protects.
The finished result should have hidden seams and invisible hinges, which can be accomplished with transparency or camouflage materials that blend into the architecture. Furthermore, invisible hinges cannot be seen or tampered with once the door is closed making them an ideal security feature.
Allowing the door to become completely flush with the adjacent surface results in minimal light penetration from around the door’s jambs and doorframe. The ideal objective is for the secret door to be imperceptible even on close inspection.
Hidden doors come in a variety of states, from Pre-Assembled to RTA (Ready to Assemble) to custom on-site builds, with enhanced security and custom features.
Manufacturers offer a variety of woods and finishes with the objective of blending into your existing room to create various door-subterfuges, such as:
- Multi-Shelf Bookcase
- Billiard Cue Rack
- Kitchen Shelving with Spice Rack
- Wine Rack
- Floor-to-Ceiling Mirror
- Shoe Rack
- Bathroom Shelving with Clothes Hamper
- Bedroom Dresser with Shelving & Drawers
- Framed Artwork
- Continuous Wall
- Floor Hatch for Subterranean or Basement Areas
- Under-Stairway Room
- Rock Wall
- False Fireplace
- Access Door to Plumbing
- Access Panel to Keys & Security System
- Small Doors for Low Ceiling Attics
Many manufacturers offer a number of features to improve the safety and security of the room you are protecting, such as:
- Biometric Locks
- Voice Control
- Secret Activation Methods
- External Cameras
- Electromagnetic Locking
- Auto-Open Feature
Companies that Manufacture Hidden Doors
- Murphy Door
- CSH: Custom Service Hardware
- Creative Home Engineering
- The Hidden Door Store
- Hide-A-Way Doors
Founded in 2007, Murphy Door is the leader in the hidden door market, providing innovative solutions that creatively solve storage and organization problems, while adding much needed functionality to indoor spaces. Their business really took off when they adjusted their focus from secret safe rooms to a mass audience of customers needing more functionality within constrained spaces.
Murphy Door Hidden Door Types
- Safe Rooms
- Panic Rooms
- Food Pantries
- Laundry Rooms
- Storage Rooms
- Gun Storage Areas
Murphy Door: Magic Mirror Door
Murphy Door: IBS 2022 Best Interior Product
Murphy Door Resource Links
Murphy Door Hidden Door Gallery
CSH: Custom Service Hardware
Established in 1977, CSH (Custom Service Hardware) is a leader in the wholesale hardware industry, first starting as a hardware supplier to cabinet and furniture makers. CSH’s business expanded into Ready-to-Assemble (RTA) cabinets, which provided the market with low-cost, high-quality cabinetry. CSH continued to innovate with the Quiet Glide line of bard doors and rolling ladders. In 2010, CSH launched the InvisiDoor brand of hidden bookcase doors and hardware, followed by the Hide-a-Shelf line of hidden storage shelving.
Important to note upfront is that InvisiDoor hidden doors are sold unfinished.
CSH’s InvisiDoor Line of Hidden Door Bookcases comes in three styles:
- Bi-Fold Bookcase
- Pivot Bookcase
- Ready-to-Assemble (RTA) Pivot Bookcase
CSH also offers the following accessories that can be used with their InvisiDoor hidden doors:
- Secret Book Latch
- RFID Lock
CSH Resource Links
- InvisiDoor Gallery
- Rolling Ladders Gallery
- Installation Guides
- Video Tutorials
- InvisiDoor Models available at Lowe’s
- InvisiDoor Models available at Home Depot
Installing the Standard Pivoting InvisiDoor Bookcase
Creative Home Engineering
The pioneer in the space of custom secret doors, having launched way back in 2003, Creative Home Engineering (CHE) is considered to be the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of high-security secret passageways for an exclusive clientele. When budget takes a backseat to creativity, ingenuity and effective security, clients call CHE. They have installed nearly 1,000 secret passageway systems in both residential and commercial spaces around the globe.
If security and customization are high priorities, CHE is the definitely worth a look, as they offer many ways to customize a solution for your specific needs. Doors can be powered by an electrical outlet, by battery, or can be manually operated, without need of an external power source. Their general approach to providing customer satisfaction is “whatever your needs, there is a solution”.
Creative Home Engineering Secret Door Types
NOTE: CHE also owns The Hidden Door Store which is also featured in this article.
Bloomberg Quicktake: What’s Behind These Super-Secret Trap Doors?
Creative Home Engineering Resource Links
The Hidden Door Store
Founded by Creative Home Engineering, The Hidden Door Store was launched to help serve the needs of the many consumers who had contacted CHE, with basic requirements for their hidden doors and did not need high-end customizations.
By reducing the number of door styles and sizing options, The Hidden Door Store is able to deliver high-quality hidden doors at significantly lower price points compared to CHE’s custom hidden door business. Prices start at $1,999.
The Hidden Door Store takes great pride in making sure that their hidden doors truly remain secret and undetected when closed:
- Tight gaps of 1/8″ or less
- 8 ¼″ bookshelf depth leads to a natural look
- Seams carefully hidden behind overlaps for concealment
- Minimal light penetration under and around door
- Difficult to detect door even on close inspection
The Hidden Door Store Types of Hidden Doors
The Hidden Door Store Resource Links
Hide-A-Way Doors, based outside of Knoxville, Tennessee and founded in 2015, manufactures handmade hidden doors from real wood completely built in the USA. The focus on the company was directly impacted by their first hidden door request: “I don’t want any signs that it is a door, no swing gaps and I do not want it made from MDF.”
Their signature product is their line of Alpha Doors which are especially designed for enhanced concealment and security. The design feature that makes Alpha Doors more effectively hidden has a drawback that makes them unconducive to high traffic, as they have a 6.5” step over to enter and exit the concealed room.
Hide-A-Way Doors Hidden Door Types:
Hide-A-Way Doors Resource Links
Milcasa is a manufacturer of door hardware, included their unique Magic 2 Concealed Sliding Door Hardware and Track Kit, a wall-mounted, concealed system for wood and aluminum doors, made in Italy. Their hardware solution is definitely worth considering if your primary need for a hidden or “concealed” door is to freshen your décor. An alternative to bard door hardware, this solution is an especially good fit for tight spaces. Their system is also a popular choice for those looking to install a large mirror door. The system can support doors weighing up to 176 lbs.
Milcasa Magic 2 Concealed Sliding Door Hardware for Mirror Door
Milcasa Resource Links
- How to Apply Transformable Interior Design to Your Home
- Flexibility: The Only Home Design Trend That Matters
- Transformer Table: The Transformation of a Rising Company
- How to Refresh Your Décor With Scout & Nimble
- How to Protect Your Indoor Furnishings from Harmful UV Rays
- How to Choose Interior Design Services from Virtual to Full-Service
- How Acoustic Panels Can Help Mute Loud Interior Spaces
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