Building a Bookcase Secret Door: 10 Best Designs and Ideas

BookCaseDoor First
DIY Secret Door Bookshelf

When is a door not a door? When you turn it into a bookshelf for extra storage space with a secret space behind it!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a secret room? Unfortunately, not all of us have that spare room we can turn into a hidden retreat. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a secret place in your house. This project shows you how you can turn an ordinary closet into a secret storage area. Start by making a bookcase secret door!

You can turn your closet into a secret space by turning its door into a bookshelf. You can use this hidden space for storage. And if there’s enough room, you can turn it into a personal retreat, or use it as a panic room. And the bookshelf door still functions like any other bookshelf, able to hold your book collection.

The best part is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to build this project. Everything is customized and made from inexpensive materials you can easily buy in your local hardware store.

If you have a secret room, what would you use it for?

Making a Bookcase Secret Door


  • Sheet of 3/4″ Smooth Plywood
  • Sheet of 1/2 Plywood
  • Lazy Susan Bearing
  • Long Bolt and Washers – for top pivot point
  • Misc. trim /spacer wood
  • 6-inch Rubber Wheel
  • Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • Trim to match the house
  • Gate Latch
  • Fishing String/Line
  • Brass Hinge
  • Special Book – for the secret opener


  • Measuring Tape
  • Electric Drill/Screw Driver
  • Table Saw

How to turn a bookcase into a secret door?

Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures of the build so I’ll explain it the best I can. 🙂

I begin by making a door frame to the exact measurements of my brother’s closet. The dimensions of the finished door came out to be 34″ wide, 77″ tall, and 8″ deep. I assume if you are building this project you have enough woodworking skills to make a bookshelf and your sizing will vary so I won’t go into detail about that.

The door is a solid bookcase made from 3/4 smooth plywood and 1/2″ regular plywood for the back.  Glued and screwed on all sides.  There are five attached shelves and adjustable shelf holes drilled at the top.  I made a template to help drill the holes all the correct width and height.


One of the hardest parts was the hinge point.  I used a lazy susan on some 2×4 blocks for the bottom and a long bolt for the top.  It took a lot of measuring and testing to get it centred right. Adequate spacing was needed on the hinge side to just barely clear the door frame and still be covered by trim.


Most commercial doors have steel frames and don’t need caster wheels. Due to the weight of the shelves and contents, we added a 6-inch rubber wheel, installed it a little bit high, and hid it with fake books. It does not hit the floor.

DIYSecretDoor05 (2)

Installation involved removing the closet door and trim. Screwing in some wood blocks to the inside wall that would accept the top hinge bolt.

Once the door was in place, I tested the opening many times and then secured the base with 4″ screws.

Bookcase Secret Door

The latch bolt was installed to the interior door frame matching the latch height. A fishing line was secured and run through the back of the door and connected to the secret book opener. Hindsight note: Double or triple knot that fishing line or it might come off and your door is stuck closed.

Bookcase secret door

The secret door opening book was a really nice touch supplied by my brother.  I glued the pages together to make a solid area for attaching a small brass hinge and fishing line to pull open the latch.


My brother finished painting and loading with books and decorations.


I think it turned out really nice and I’m told it’s a great conversation piece when company comes over and he puts their coats away.


A closet for guests’ coats, a pantry, or a personal retreat – there are several options for your secret room while providing an extra bookcase or display shelf for your home.

But this project is perfect for those who have plenty of confidential and treasured belongings that need good hiding. If you plan to transform your room for this purpose, then this would have to be a secret project!

A bookcase secret door provides a covert storage solution for sensitive documents, valuable possessions, or personal items that require extra security and discretion. By concealing these belongings behind a hidden doorway, you can ensure they remain out of sight and inaccessible to unauthorized individuals.

For collectors of rare or valuable items such as antiques, collectibles, or memorabilia, a bookcase secret door offers a discreet way to display and protect their prized possessions. Whether it’s a collection of rare books, vintage comics, or family heirlooms, the hidden doorway adds an extra layer of security while showcasing cherished items.

Beyond storage purposes, a bookcase secret door can also create a private retreat or sanctuary within your home. Whether you’re seeking a quiet space for reading, meditation, or relaxation, the concealed entrance provides a secluded hideaway where you can escape from the outside world and enjoy moments of solitude.

Thanks to Stryker for this great project.

Building a bookcase secret door offers a range of advantages, blending functionality with intrigue and adding a unique touch to your living space. Here are some advantages:

  1. Space Optimization: A bookcase secret door maximizes space utilization by serving a dual purpose. It functions as both a hidden doorway and a storage solution, allowing you to make the most of limited space in your home.
  2. Concealed Storage: The secret door provides a discreet way to conceal valuable items, private spaces, or rooms that you want to keep hidden from view. It offers a clever storage solution for items that you wish to keep out of sight, such as safes, home offices, or personal belongings.
  3. Enhanced Security: By concealing entry points with a secret door, you add an extra layer of security to your home. Intruders are less likely to detect hidden passages, making it more challenging for unauthorized individuals to gain access to sensitive areas of your home.
  4. Novelty and Aesthetics: Building a bookcase secret door adds an element of novelty and intrigue to your home decor. It creates a conversation piece and adds character to your living space, transforming an ordinary room into a unique and memorable environment.
  5. Customization: DIY bookcase secret doors offer the flexibility to customize the design to suit your preferences and match your existing decor. You can choose the size, style, and finish of the bookcase to seamlessly integrate it into your home’s aesthetic.
  6. DIY Satisfaction: Constructing a bookcase secret door can be a rewarding DIY project that allows you to showcase your craftsmanship and creativity. The sense of accomplishment and pride in creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing piece adds to the satisfaction of completing the project.
  7. Entertainment and Surprise: Guests and visitors will be delighted by the unexpected discovery of a secret door hidden within a bookcase. It adds an element of surprise and entertainment to gatherings, sparking curiosity and imagination.
  8. Increased Property Value: A well-designed and professionally executed bookcase secret door can enhance the value of your home. It adds a unique feature that sets your property apart from others and may attract prospective buyers who appreciate the novelty and functionality it offers.

Overall, building a bookcase secret door combines practicality with creativity, offering a range of benefits that enhance both the functionality and aesthetic appeal of your living space.

Bookcase Secret Door Design Ideas

Designing and building a bookcase secret door is an exciting project that can add both functionality and intrigue to your living space.

  1. Classic Elegance: Create a timeless look with a traditional bookcase design featuring rich wood tones, decorative trim, and ornate hardware. Incorporate details such as crown moulding, raised panels, and brass accents for a sophisticated touch.
  2. Modern Minimalism: Embrace a sleek and contemporary aesthetic with a minimalist bookcase design. Opt for clean lines, geometric shapes, and a neutral colour palette to achieve a modern look. Consider using materials like metal, glass, or laminate for a streamlined appearance.
  3. Hidden Passage: Design the bookcase to conceal a secret passage or room behind it. Use a flush-mounted door with hidden hinges and magnetic latches for a seamless transition between the bookcase and the wall. Consider adding a concealed handle or push-to-open mechanism for easy access.
  4. Rotating Bookcase: Install a rotating bookcase that pivots on a central axis to reveal a hidden doorway. This design adds an element of surprise and allows for creative space-saving solutions. Incorporate a sturdy base and smooth rotation mechanism for ease of use.
  5. Customizable Shelving: Create a versatile bookcase with adjustable or removable shelves that can accommodate books of various sizes and heights. Consider incorporating built-in lighting or display niches to showcase decorative objects or collectibles.
  6. Integrated Workspace: Combine functionality with style by integrating a workspace into the bookcase design. Add a built-in desk, work surface, or fold-down table that can be concealed when not in use. Incorporate storage drawers or compartments to keep supplies organized.
  7. Multi-Functional Design: Maximize the versatility of the bookcase by incorporating additional features such as a media center, wine storage, or bar cabinet. Customize the design to suit your specific needs and lifestyle, making the most of available space.
  8. Themed Decor: Infuse personality into the bookcase design by incorporating themed decor or motifs that reflect your interests or hobbies. Whether it’s a literary theme with classic novels and literary quotes or a travel theme with maps and globes, let your imagination guide the design.
  9. Hidden Storage: Utilize the space behind the bookcase for hidden storage compartments or safes. Install concealed drawers, compartments, or shelves to store valuables, documents, or personal items securely.
  10. Interactive Features: Add interactive elements such as hidden switches, sensors, or mechanisms that trigger the opening of the secret door. Consider incorporating technology such as RFID locks or biometric scanners for added security and convenience.

By exploring these design ideas and customizing them to fit your space and style preferences, you can create a bookcase secret door that is both functional and visually striking. Whether you prefer a classic look, a modern design, or a whimsical theme, the possibilities are endless for creating a unique and captivating feature in your home.

The Wrap Up

Building a bookcase secret door is an exciting and rewarding project that adds both functionality and intrigue to your living space. To ensure success, here are the top five essentials to consider:

Prioritize safety throughout the construction process by using appropriate tools, materials, and techniques. Follow manufacturer instructions and wear protective gear as needed to prevent accidents and injuries.

Achieve precise measurements and cuts to ensure a seamless fit and smooth operation of the secret door. Take your time during the planning and execution stages to minimize errors and achieve professional results.

Use high-quality materials and construction methods to ensure the longevity and durability of the bookcase secret door. Consider factors such as load-bearing capacity, structural integrity, and resistance to wear and tear.

Design the bookcase secret door with practicality in mind, considering factors such as ease of use, accessibility, and integration with existing decor. Incorporate features such as adjustable shelving, hidden storage, and efficient space utilization to maximize functionality.

Enhance the visual appeal of the bookcase secret door by choosing complementary finishes, hardware, and design elements. Whether you prefer a classic, modern, or themed aesthetic, select materials and decor that reflect your style and preferences.

By prioritizing these essentials, you can create a bookcase secret door that not only adds a unique and captivating feature to your home but also enhances its functionality and aesthetic appeal. With careful planning, attention to detail, and craftsmanship, you can enjoy the satisfaction of a well-executed project that transforms your living space into a place of wonder and delight.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What materials do I need to build a bookcase secret door?

The materials typically include wood or composite boards for the bookcase frame, hinges, screws, nails, magnetic latches, wood glue, and decorative elements such as trim or moulding. You may also need tools such as a saw, drill, screwdriver, measuring tape, and level.

2. How much space do you need for a bookcase secret door?

The space required depends on the size of the bookcase and the dimensions of the doorway. Measure the width and height of the doorway to ensure the bookcase will fit properly. Additionally, consider clearance space for the door to swing open or slide to the side.

3. Is it difficult to build a bookcase secret door?

While building a bookcase secret door requires some woodworking skills and tools, it can be a manageable DIY project for those with basic carpentry experience. Following step-by-step instructions and seeking guidance from online tutorials or home improvement resources can help simplify the process.

4. Can you customize the design of the bookcase secret door?

Yes, one of the advantages of building your bookcase secret door is the ability to customize the design to fit your specific space and style preferences. You can choose the size, shape, finish, and decorative features of the bookcase to complement your existing decor.

5. How long does it take to build a bookcase secret door?

The time required depends on factors such as your skill level, the complexity of the design, and the size of the bookcase. On average, it may take a few days to a week to complete the project, including planning, construction, and finishing touches.

6. Can a bookcase secret door support the weight of books and other items?

Yes, a well-built bookcase secret door can support the weight of books and other items when constructed with sturdy materials and proper reinforcement. Consider factors such as load-bearing capacity and structural integrity during the design and construction process.

7. Are there safety considerations when building a bookcase secret door?

Yes, safety is important when working with power tools and construction materials. Take precautions such as wearing protective gear, following manufacturer instructions, and using tools properly to prevent accidents and injuries.

8. Can you install a bookcase secret door myself, or do you need professional help?

Whether you can install a bookcase secret door yourself depends on your skill level and comfort with DIY projects. While some homeowners may feel confident tackling the project independently, others may prefer to hire a professional carpenter or contractor for assistance.

9. Are there different types of bookcase secret doors to choose from?

    Yes, bookcase secret doors come in various designs and configurations, including swinging doors, sliding doors, rotating doors, and flush-mounted doors. Consider factors such as space constraints, functionality, and aesthetic preferences when choosing the right type for your home.

    10. Where can you find step-by-step instructions for building a bookcase secret door?

    You can find detailed instructions and tutorials online, in DIY books, or by consulting with woodworking experts. Additionally, you can follow the Top 5 Essentials provided to guide you through the process of building your bookcase secret door.



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