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Creating a Secret Bookcase Door to a Fantasy Castle Room | Dark Academia Comes to Life

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

Wish you could have a secret door in your bookcase, just like your favorite mystery stories? Watch how I transformed a long, narrow room by building a bookcase wall with a hidden door leading to a fantastical castle room!

If you'd prefer to watch this discussion on YouTube (with lots more photos!) instead of reading through this whole, long post, please click here!

Now let’s see how I transformed this long and bland room into a super fun, secret castle-themed room that became the backdrop for all kinds of fantastical bookish activities, including secret book nerd clubs, Dungeons & Dragons games, worldbuilding classes, fortune telling, Harry Potter summer camp, board game nights, live murder mysteries and more.

This room is located on the second floor of the house, and previously functioned as a long office space, with three desks set along one wall. I’ve been enamored with secret bookcase doors forever, so when I first bought this house and started to brainstorm about how to use this long room, my train of thought went something like this: This room is too long to feel cozy ... maybe we should divide it in two ... oh my God what if we built a secret bookcase door?!

So, I scrambled to learn what it would take to create this kind of wall, and found a bunch of helpful YouTube videos that explained the physics of how to build a door with this kind of depth, how to hide the edges, even what kind of hinges to use.

I was thrilled to see that a bookcase door CAN BE a do-it-yourself project, but it was clear that this particular project would not be MY do-it-yourself project, because not only do I have limited carpentry skills , but because the floor in this room was very sloped from side to side, so the finished wall would be about six inches higher on one end than the other. This was not a project for an amateur!

Luckily, there were already carpenters working in the house on other, more normal projects like boxing in the stairway in the Magical Common Room, so I went to them and described this secret bookcase wall that I was hoping they could build.

So, picture this. I’m standing in this empty room, waving my arms around like a demented mime to try to show them where I wanted this wall and explain how it’s a wall, but it’s a shelf, but it has a door... and this is a group of older gentleman who had actually had their office in this space years ago, so it was very hard for them to imagine it any other way … and they’re all sort of furtively glancing at each other and looking uncomfortable, like “Uh, who’s going to tell her that she’s lost her mind…” But I was convinced that this would be the best use of this space, so I ended up mentioning it to a different carpenter who came in for another project (shoutout to Bill Gleason) and it turned out that he LOVED the idea of building something completely unique, and figuring out how to solve the specific issues around the house being very crooked, so he jumped on the chance to challenge his knowledge and skills - and as you’ll see, he did a fantastic job.

So Bill custom built this awesome bookcase wall that ended up looking like it had always been there. It’s possible to buy ready-made hidden doors for your own house, if you are wanting to build a similar bookcase wall, but as I mentioned, this room was too irregular for a standard solution like that.