There is something magical about including ideas for hidden doors in a room. But while they are sure to create that childlike sense of wonder, they are also a practical design idea.
You may think of hidden doors as belonging to vast buildings, which hide hidden passages between rooms, but they are actually more useful in small spaces. If you’ve ever had a small bedroom with more than a couple of doors, such as the hallway, private bathroom, and closet door, it can quickly start to feel like you are living in a hallway.
Hiding a door to blend in with the walls means you can keep all the benefits of separate spaces, but less visual clutter. They are a great idea for the private bathroom or closet door for a bedroom, as already mentioned, but also in hallways, under the stairs or to hide smaller rooms from the kitchen or living room, for example.
To show you how to best use a hidden door, we’ve rounded up some of the most ingenious examples to inspire you.
8 hidden door ideas to optimize your space
Hidden doors aren’t just for the novelty factor. “Discreetly placed doors can help reduce visual noise and maximize the visual impact of the surrounding architecture and volume,” says Leyden Lewis, interior designer and founder of the Leyden Lewis Design Studio. (opens in a new tab). “In turn, a flow hierarchy is also established in which people are visually encouraged to move through space in particular ways.”
Take inspiration from these 8 designs and see what these patterns look like with the doors open and closed by pressing the cross button.
1. Use the mill to hide a private bathroom
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Including a private bathroom might sound like a dream on paper, but when you realize there’s another door to add to a bedroom, which may already be small, you may need to get creative. While there are some brilliant ways to include a private bathroom door that will brighten a small bathroom, this idea makes use of built-in elements to optimize the room’s storage space as well.
“Given the small footprint of the house, maximizing storage space was key,” remembers Australian interior designer Alison Lewis. (opens in a new tab). “Instead of breaking straight furniture with a hinged door, I decided to bring the furniture through to maximize storage space above the door and show that practicality can also be playful.”
2. Or a kitchen pantry
Similar to the concept of this hidden private bathroom, this pantry idea from Sola Kitchens is hidden within the cabinets of this modern kitchen. Not only does it streamline the look of this kitchen, but it helps solve layout issues, helping to keep the oven tower units from feeling too lean on their own with extra furniture hiding this adjoining room.
“When designing a hidden door it is essential to take into account both aesthetics and practicality”, suggests Sofa Bune, founder of Sola Kitchens. (opens in a new tab). “This door is designed to integrate with the rest of the kitchen cabinets to achieve a clean and elegant kitchen run.”
“It was also important to consider which appliances will be installed behind the hidden door in a kitchen”, advises Sofia, “as the door frame will need to be wide enough to allow it to pass through.”
3. Use a wallpapered hinged door
Hidden doors in wallpapered walls are very reminiscent of English country houses, but they can work just as well in modern properties where hiding a door helps your scheme. In this project, staged by Kirsten Blazek of A1000xBetter (opens in a new tab)this wallpaper idea hides a small laundry room, disguised so as not to draw attention from the beautiful view from the panoramic window.
“Flush flag doors look wonderful incorporated into a design scheme to almost camouflage them, creating a traditional hidden wallpaper door,” says Ruth Mottershead, creative director of paint and wallpaper brand Little Greene (opens in a new tab).
“To make sure the door is fully integrated, use wallpaper across the door, as you would a continuous expanse of wall,” he adds.
4. Try a traditional beadboard door
“If space is tight in a small hallway, but you don’t want to waste the opportunity to create a cute storage space, it’s a great idea to get your carpenter to make a door that mimics tongue and groove walls,” says deVOL (opens in a new tab)creative director of Helen Parker.
Better known as beadboard in the US, this type of wall cladding is perfectly suited for a hidden door, as it features vertical lines that can line up with your door, almost completely masking the outline. Using the beadboard at the door, as in the deVOL pantry, also removes the horizontal line of the door, for an even more uniform look
“Paint everything the same color and you’ll have a secret toilet to hide in and a perfect pantry,” says Helen Parker.
5. Or a door hidden in modern slatted paneling
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Slatted wall panels are similarly suited for concealing doors, but give a more modern finish to your space. In fact, this slatted panel style is one of the biggest interior design trends of the last year.
In this apartment designed by Leyden Lewis Design Studio, this paneled volume contains a wardrobe that provides space for storing clothes, while also helping to divide the open-plan layout. Inside, a mint green hue is used, in stark contrast to the warm wood and orange tones of the rest of the house.
6. Put a TV behind a hidden door
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Hidden doors are not only useful for doors, but also where you are looking to hide storage space or something like a TV in a living room as a creative way to hide TV cables.
“Paneling is a brilliant way to create and hide storage space, for example with televisions and cabling where continuous joinery can form a hidden door that you can open and close at will,” says Rebecca Northmore, design manager at HUX London.
‘For a traditional finish, opt for the more classic square wall formation, while choosing a deconstructed layout with different material details will create a contemporary vibe. Adding a splash of white will give a nod to a modernist style while keeping the overall look elegant. ‘
7. Hide a door behind a bookcase
The hidden shelf door isn’t just a trope of haunted mansions, it can be used in royal homes and doesn’t require you to pull out the right book to trigger a secret mechanism.
Hidden shelf doors work particularly well in hallways or in a space like a living room to hide a cozy separate room, cinema or media room.
However, a bookshelf door may require specialist knowledge, or even a specialized system, as they are much heavier than a regular door, so they can cause the standard hinges to sag. It is possible to buy specific folding doors that can be used to create retractable bookcase doors.
8. Consider the mechanism of your door
Whether using a hidden door in another room or hiding a closet, if the door is designed to be open for some time, it is worth considering the type of door you choose to use as standard hinges can leave doors that get in the way, making them less than practical.
In this project by Alison Lewis Interiors, a folding door was used for the sawmill door, while pocket doors are also useful for keeping your space streamlined.
How does a door hide in a wall?
When working with a carpenter, they will have specialist knowledge on how to hide a door inside your paper mill and wood shop, however, it is possible to accept a hidden door idea as a DIY project.
If you are looking to create a flush flag door, you will need to use hidden hinges, often used for cabinet doors. With these hinges, you can secure a door in place with no visible fixtures and they can be adjusted to ensure your door is level when hung.
“Since doors have to withstand a few knocks and knocks, particularly at floor level, get your skirting board to the bottom of the door too,” suggests Little Greene’s Ruth Mottershead, “not only will this further disguise the door, but it will help to protect your door by making sure it looks good for longer. ‘