Places: Secret Rooms Behind Bookcases

Posted by: on July 26th, 2012 | 6 Comments
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Image of a bookcase entry to a secret study

Image via ODEE


There are any number of home improvement projects that you could tackle that will bring added value to your home, like remodeling the kitchen, updating a bath or even installing new carpet. We’d like to suggest a something a little more quirky: Build a secret room.

We’ve found a few real world examples of secret rooms or well-concealed work spaces to inspire you. Maybe they will take you back to childhood preoccupations with mysterious passageways and secret hiding places. And perhaps the next time you’re remodeling your home, you’ll add a similar feature to give your house a little extra character.


Image of a secret room bookcase entryway

Image via Craftster


Rule No. 1  - secret rooms behind bookcases must have an ingenious method of entry. A fun-loving couple we found out about on Craftster decided to go with a false wooden book with careful detail work done with a Dremel to appear as any other tome on the bookshelf trick. Secretly attached by cable to a latch on the back of the bookcase, the book tilts forward to open a door to their master bedroom. The book’s title: The Hidden Door, appropriately enough.


Image of a small home office inside folding bookcases

Image via Martha Stewart


We’ve seen home offices in closets, underneath staircases and in backyard sheds, but leave it to Martha to devise a crafty, cleverly concealed home office space from a set of bookcases.


Image of bookcase on hanging door rails

Image via Apartment Therapy


Barn doors are cool, and you’ve undoubtedly seen lots of images of them in homes over the past few years. But bookcase barn doors that open to reveal a hidden room is a fresh take. With a little moulding to conceal the door rails atop the bookcases, no one would ever suspect these homeowners had anything to hide.



Image of a laundry Room hidden behind sliding bookcases

Image via Houzz


Even if your wash room is not always as bright and tidy as this impeccable little laundry room designed by Lindy Donnelly, the studied charm of sliding bookcase doors will prevent any unintended airing of your dirty laundry.


See more inspiration and ideas in our Places series here on the Apron blog.

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Leave a Comment

  1. Keri says:

    Are there any how-tos specifically for the lindy Donnelly sliding bookcase love this but can’t find any info on how to replicate

  2. simone says:

    thought the hidden room idea was cute, but as you click on links it just brings you round and round to the same thing. no where do i find how to do it…
    can you send directions?
    lemme know!

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, simone.

      These photos were really just intended as inspiration, rather than as a how-to. The links send you to the website where we found the photos, to give due credit to the idea-makers, and in case readers would like to read more about it.

      You’re not the only one to ask about how-to instructions, though. Let me see what our experts might be able to come up with in terms of a how-to or some ideas to get DIYers started.

      Thanks for asking!

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  3. Laurie K says:

    I love this idea. I want to try it. How is the weight of the books in the bookcases is managed? The doors can’t be supported solely by the hinges can they?
    Thank you

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Laurie K.

      I assume you’re asking about the bookcase with the faux book latch– the second photo from the top. We found that cool idea at, where the homeowner posted some photos and descriptions.

      Here’s a quote about the bookcase:

      ‘The “door” has a caster mounted on the edge that holds 800 pounds (another one will be placed on next week) and the hinge is actually 2 piano hinges 90% covered by the decorative moulding between each case (obviously it couldn’t be 100% covered or the door wouldn’t open.’

      If you’re thinking of designing something like this for your home, you can get terrific advice and even some help in the design on The Home Depot’s online Community Forums.

      Thanks for asking.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot