10 Incredible Hidden Rooms

There are few architectural details that can give a home a sense of mystery and wonder like a secret door leading to a hidden room. If you've ever wanted a private hideaway, extra secure storage for valuables, or an almost magical escape to another world, a hidden room is sure to amaze and inspire.

1 / 10

Under Stair Hideaway

One common area that goes unused in many homes is the space beneath stairwells. Some home builders leave this area open and exposed, while others simply wall it off. But turning this dead zone into a useful nook is a simple project that adds storage and character to any home. In this photo, notice that a simple board and batten pattern is used to help camouflage the gap around the door.

2 / 10

High Security Room

Break-ins and burglaries are a sad reality that some homeowners will be forced to face at one time or another. One way to safeguard valuables is to hide them in clever spots, where even the most thorough of robbers won’t think of looking. And scaling that approach up to room size allows you to also hide away your most precious assets: you and your family. A high security hidden room — sometimes called panic rooms—provide a safe and near impenetrable retreat if your family is ever threatened by an intruder. And a high security room seals from the inside and the secretive nature of a hidden door provides an additional level of security. Often equipped with communications options and monitoring equipment, a high security hidden room keeps the bad guys at bay while you summon help. It might be something you never need, but it can give you the comfort you need to sleep at night.

3 / 10

shutterstock_54512773 hidden bookcase secret opening old books

The Haunted Mansion Entrance

If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re in an old movie mansion, complete with secret passages and hidden corridors, then this kind of hidden room is for you. Whether using a simple wire cable or remote IR signal, when the key to opening a hidden room is as unexpected as the room itself, it amplifies the fun and excitement of having a secret getaway. Best of all, the actual process of creating this kind of entrance isn’t much more complicated than building a built-in bookshelf in an existing doorway.

4 / 10

Cape Cod Cave

Cape Cod homes are warm and cozy, but they do have a certain amount of partially usable space on the top floor. Or at least, partially usable for a full-size adult. Children often love having a kid-sized nook for reading, playing or fort-building. So stop looking at that Cape Cod storage space as just one additional spot that needs to be insulated and turn it into a tiny hidden room for play!

5 / 10

shutterstock_672209434 hidden doorway with vines ivy
Dan Solea/Shutterstock

Hidden by a Natural Doorway

A hidden room doesn’t have to be indoors. An outdoor area or breezeway can be combined with a large water feature to create a room hidden behind a waterfall or vine growth. Using natural features to hide a room or doorway creates a sense of wonder and whimsy, turning your yard into a fairyland garden. And a thick covering of leafy vines that drape down over a wall can easily obscure a doorway to a side room, a shed or a garage. An equally effective method is to build a garden archway that droops long vines over the doorway. And for those with a bigger budget and larger yard space, a robust water feature can tumble over the frame of a doorway. With carefully selected and angled accent lights, this will create an obscuring curtain of water.

6 / 10

Hidden Room Wine Cellar

The entrance to a spiral staircase can be placed in a surprising number of locations, including beneath the floor of one of your first-floor rooms. A narrow spiral staircase can provide access to shelves that hold hundreds of wine bottles or similar sized objects. Entryways can be built to blend in with the flooring, or can be covered with a throw rug which is easily pulled away to allow access to your private wine cellar. And as a bonus, the limited depth means you don’t have to worry about repairing broken spindles or adjusting loose handrails, like on many spiral stairwells.

7 / 10

Garage Bay Bat Cave

Hiding a room is one thing, but how do you hide an entire garage? This clever project maintains the historic appearance of this beautiful Victorian home, while still providing off-street parking. This project goes way beyond a simple garage door tune-up, but it demonstrates that with creative thinking and careful planning, the sky’s the limit when it comes to hidden rooms.

8 / 10

How to Create a Secret Room in Your House

Finishing a basement is a fantastic and affordable way to add living space to your home. But sometimes it’s a good idea to leave a portion of the basement unfinished. Whether it’s because you want to keep some storage, maintain mechanical access to the next floor, or leave space around items such as the furnace or water heater. You can opt to only finish part of the basement. But then you’ll be faced with the dilemma of how to hide the less attractive unfinished area when you’ve beautified the rest of the space. An unfinished hidden room provides the best of both worlds. Enjoy the comfort of your finished basement, while maintaining an unfinished area for storage or for messier chores such as laundry—a hidden laundry room, perhaps—or pet baths. And with a secret entrance, you won’t even have to think about those tasks once they’re done.

9 / 10

Escapes for Kids

Children’s stories are full of secret passages and portals to other worlds. Capture some of this same magic with a creative entrance to a hidden room that they can play in. After all, as any fan of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia stories can tell you, wardrobes aren’t always just for organizing your clothes. With a secret entrance, even the simplest of playrooms is transformed to a magical escape, and kids will love the feeling of having their own special place. There’s a secret entrance that applies to almost every fictional world, from Doctor Who’s police box to Superman’s telephone booth. These are the kinds of stories that kids of all ages love to escape to, and a hidden room makes the dream a reality.

10 / 10

With a Nod and a Wink

Sometimes the most fun to be had with a secret is to let everyone know it exists. This over-sized poster for a vintage magical act offers up an escape all its own. A tucked away speakeasy where the homeowner can retreat to, as needed. Part of this hidden room’s genius is the simplicity of the design. A simple door latch is all that’s needed to secure it, and the hinges are obscured by the large poster frame. No need for complex woodworking to pull off this trick! But the real satisfaction must come from the knowledge that your personal escape is literally hidden behind a poster of an escape artist. This idea could also be replicated for a hidden room home theatre.

Dan Stout
Ohio-based freelance writer and author Dan Stout is a former residential remodeler, commercial site supervisor and maintenance manager. He’s worked on nearly all aspects of building and DIY including project planning and permitting, plumbing, basic electric, drywall, carpentry, tiling, painting and more. He also publishes noir fantasy thrillers, including The Carter Series, from Penguin imprint DAW Books.