20 of the Sneakiest Hidden, Secret Doors (list)

Jason Loomis
Written by
Last update:

Mirror Secret Door

Triple your pleasure and experience a triple surprise when you enter the lavatory on the fourth floor of the National Art Center in Tokyo. It's an enormous cubicle with blank walls, a conventional door, and a shiny reflective mirror on one.

When you approach the mirror, it opens up to a hidden doorway behind it. Beyond that, you will find a small corridor leading to a rooftop space with a 270-degree view of the city.

This secret door, called the "Hankyū Train Door", was built as part of an effort to make the museum more accessible for handicapped people.

Faux Book Case

A pop-up book sits on one of the shelves of an otherwise unusable old book. A hidden lever slides the entire bookcase out, revealing a hidden room beyond.

Hidden Mirror Vault

The Dorchester Hotel, London, England.

Every now and then, amazing hidden mirror works of art appear.

Fancy something more subtle?

The Dorchester Hotel in London, England has a secret mirror vault door that slides open.

As you approach Suite 67 in the first floor of the hotel, the wall becomes more reflective…

Once you pass through, you’ll notice a perfectly-fitted mirror. The door is tucked in, disguised in a false mirror frame.

You may notice a slight draft when you pass through the door, but nothing like when traditional hidden doors spring to life.

The mirror holds its shape and continues to reflect back to the outside. On the other side it reveals a vaulted room that previously could only be accessed through a different door, which is the same shot as the previous one.

The mirror itself is an art piece, made using artisans who pay great attention to detail. The mirrors in the hotel are the only location where you’ll find the hidden door.

It’s likely that the Dorchester secret mirror vault door is the only mirror door on earth.

Anne Frank’s Hidden Bookcase

When the Gestapo was trying to capture the Jews in the Secret Annex, they searched every square inch of the house.

In the years since, historians have examined and rebuilt the house and studied the diary of Frank.

What no one spotted though, was the hole in the floor that was actually a hidden bookcase. It concealed a small access to the attic and a long space that led to a close alley and safety. How did the neighbors not see it? Why was it not seen after the end of the war?

It was simply covered with the same patterned carpet as the rest of the floor. This is the kind of trickery that you can use to hide the entrance your secret room.

There are, actually, a lot of clever options that all depend on your location and the distance you need to cover.

One of the most famous passages is the one you probably know about from the Mel Gibson movie What Women Want. It lives in the attic of the 1881 home of J. J. Hill located in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The dining room floor is hinged, and it opens like the lid to a chest, revealing a narrow staircase that curves to the attic above. The current owners aren’t quite sure if it leads anywhere, since they haven’t tried to follow it all the way to the attic.

Bookcase Hidden Door

This is one of the most common entries on the list. This is also one of the best hidden bookshelf doors. When you close this bookcase, it gives the appearance that it is one unit. Only when you push on the bookcase will it swing open, revealing that it is actually a set of double doors.

To look at this bookshelf, you would probably never guess that it was a door. The bookcase is made of strong, sturdy wood that looks like it has been there a long time. There are even scratch marks on the front door, as if kids had their fingernails digging into it and were using it as a doorstop. The short-legged table is also great for creating a sense of the room having been constructed long ago.

When you open the bookcase, it is much better protected since you can open it up from the inside. Also, the bookcase looks like it is guarding it, so that may be enough to keep intruders from trying to get through it.

Staircase Hidden Door

Although it's not blocked by books, as the original is, a secret door disguised as a staircase at the Doddington Hotel in England has to be one of the most creative breakaway bookcase door ideas we've seen. The door, which has been in place for 34 years, slides open effortlessly at the press of a button. With the staircase leading to a store room and staff quarters, it's not surprising that the door is hard to spot.

Under the Stairs Hidden Door

The grand staircase was a feature of many stately homes in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the 20th century, it fell out of favour and you don't see it too often these days. Now and again, you still come across them, particularly in older homes.

This means that in addition to a massive stairwell, you may also have a small door further up. The door can be hidden behind an artwork or some other kind of decoration.

The small doorway may lead to a secret library, or forgotten room, or a stairway leading to a basement.

These kinds of hidden door ideas are great for a lot of property owners. It's a convenient way to make an extra room with a separate address, without having to add a staircase or new wall. You can use the room for a private study, an office, or even for a guest bedroom if you're renting out your property. Hidden door ideas also create the perfect opportunity for a little detective play or for your kids to hide treasure.

Pool Room Hidden Door

The Houdini Estate is one of the most famous real-estate properties in the United States. Houdini, the stage-magician extraordinaire, commissioned the construction of the house in 1926. He did so when he became a successful movie-star. Like the magician, the house has a trick. His pool room had a hidden door, which when uncovered, revealed a hidden staircase leading to a secret second-floor room.

This secret room had a hidden library and it was the only one of its kind in the house. The room had its own private staircase off the pool room. Houdini feared that someone would rob him, so he created the secret room so that he could leave it through the hidden door. What’s more, he was also convinced that his wife was going to leave him. So, he had a secret staircase that could only be reached through the secret door.

Under a Mat Hidden Cellar

Many of us have an obsession with secret doors. It seems so much cooler to have a trap door in your floor than just a normal boring door, but not every home has them. And those that do have them hidden the best. But we've scoured the internet and have found a few places that have taken the art of secret doors to the next level. From a hidden door under a rug to the super clever cellars that have been converted into hidden rooms, we've picked 20 of the sneakiest, most cleverly hidden secret doors. We didn't post any videos here so you'll have to pop over to YouTube and watch yourself.

{1}. How can an old cellar not have a couple of secret doors? Let's start here. These doors are so clever that they don't even look like they're doors.
{2}. This is one of the most clever hidden doors I've ever seen. Who doesn't love a book case? It's classic, relaxing and there isn't anything suspicious about it. Okay, not that you'd know what this door looked like unless you were looking for it, but still, it's cleaner and more discreet than most.
{3}. A secret bookcase door. Because what home library isn't complete without one of these? Mad for the Tudors?