How to Build Secret Passageways in a House

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Secret passageways lead to hidden rooms.
Secret passageways lead to hidden rooms. (Image: girl with hidden mouth image by Nenad Djedovic from Fotolia.com)

Secret passageways are intriguing, functional and fun. Historically, secret passageways have been used for keeping secrets, such as hiding resources, people or activities. Secret passageways in houses are still used today--often, just for the fun of it. Other times, a hidden door provides entrance into a safe room.

The difference between a secret passageway in a house and a regular passageway is concealment. A secret passageway is a hidden or disguised doorway. Specially designed bookcases are often used for this purpose. A simple secret passageway design uses molding and disguised latches. A more elaborate design involves electronics and remote controls.

Identify an area of your home that can provide a secret passageway. Closets, bonus rooms, or under-eave spaces are suitable for this purpose.

Determine a camouflage style. Camouflage designs use molding to disquise doorways. A series of wooden panels trimmed with molding or bookcases are used for this purpose.

Decide if you have the skills and equipment to construct the secret passageway from scratch, if you will purchase a kit, or if you will have the secret passageway custom built. For plans, kits or custom-built passageways, see the Resources section.

Tips & Warnings

  • Secret passageway bookcases require special attention to the hinges because books are heavy and will cause the door to sag if the hinges are not adequate. A piano hinge is often used for this purpose because a piano hinge runs the length of the door, compared to the standard three hinges that are customarily used for hanging doors.
  • When ordering custom-built secret passageway bookcases, be sure to check the load rating.

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