Blend in or Stand Out: A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Camouflage for Your Space

The first step in the process of getting the perfect secret door is to decide where in your building the secret door should go. Once you’ve done that you’re ready to choose your ideal camouflage. There are a lot of options and we know that all those choices can be intimidating. That’s why we’re here to help make sure you know your options, and that you’re armed with the information you’ll need to make the best choice.

Know your options

If you’ve ever seen a secret passageway in a movie or TV show, we guarantee we’ve already built a secret door like that for one of our very special clients before. In fact, we’ve built a ton of unique secret door styles that you may never have imagined. The options are almost limitless, we’ve put together a list of the most popular options: Bookcase, full-length mirror, armoire, shoe rack, fireplace, dresser, shoe rack, wine cabinet, gun cabinet, china cabinet, linen cupboards, pantry shelf, and many more! We also advise you to review the online gallery at to see some images of some of these options. Finally, if you have your own unique idea that’s not mentioned here, please don’t hesitate to give us a call and tell us about your idea. We love to design completely original one-of-a-kind secret passageway concepts for our most creative clients. Now that you know your options, it’s time to start whittling them down to find the perfect choice. You’ll want to consider things like compatibility with the space, price, lead time, and ease of use.

Choose a camouflage that’s appropriate for the space

Your secret door needs to blend in perfectly with the surrounding decor; NOT the surrounding decor of the secret room itself, but with the decor of the room that you must pass through to get to the secret room – that’s what we call the “non-secret room”. For example, if you must pass through your billiards room to get to your secret room, then a pool cue rack makes a fantastic camouflage choice; a china cabinet would not. On the other hand, if your secret room is off the dining room, a china cabinet might make a fantastic choice. Try to imagine what the non-secret room would look like if the secret space didn’t exist, and think of things, objects, or wall treatments that someone might use to decorate the wall where the secret door will be if there were no secret door at all. Usually, this exercise will narrow that long list of secret door options down to just 3 or 4 options.

Consider price and lead time

Not all secret passageways cost the same. The biggest factor that contributes to the cost of a secret door is how unique it is. One-of-a-kind secret doors are actually complex machines and designing one from scratch is a time-consuming and costly endeavor. You can save money and get the best value by choosing a secret door that is very similar or identical to the ones that we build most frequently. We’ve curated a selection of secret door styles that we can produce the most efficiently, and we’ve set up a special website to present those options in a way that makes it easy for people to choose their options and purchase right online if they so choose. That website is, and there’s where you’ll find the very best values. To put the price difference in perspective, predesigned secret door systems from typically cost in the $1,000 – $5,000 range which is only a fraction of what a comparable custom-designed secret door would cost. You’ll find options there for secret doors disguised as bookcases, full-length mirrors, wine racks, shoe racks, linen cupboards, curio cabinets, wainscoting, faux brick, architectural wall paneling, and wall-hanging art. Lead times for predesigned secret doors are also typically much shorter. Lead times will vary, but at the time of the writing of this article, the lead time for a pre-designed secret door was only 3 weeks compared to 5 months for a custom project.

Not all secret door styles are equally easy to use

One other important factor worthy of your consideration is how comfortable a secret door style is to use. For example, some secret door styles have the best camouflage by employing a tall threshold that the user has to step over. A secret door disguised as a full-length mirror is imitating the look you’d have if you purchase a regular wall-hanging mirror and hung it on the wall. If you did that, you’d probably hang the mirror so that the bottom of the mirror’s frame was up above the baseboard by at least a few inches. To imitate that look precisely, the secret door must also be spaced above the floor by the same amount, making it slightly less comfortable to use. For most people, it’s a small price to pay for great camouflage, but for someone in a wheelchair, it would be an obvious deal breaker. An additional rule of thumb to consider is that the thicker the door is, the thinner the clear width is. The clear width is defined as the width of the widest object that can fit through the doorway when the door is in the open position. Take bookcases, wine racks, shoe racks, and curio cabinets, for example, which are all typically close to 10” thick. That means that when they are in the 90-degree open position the clear width of the opening is reduced by 10” and then reduced again by the clearance required for the swing of the door. So if you started with an opening that was 38” wide and you choose a bookcase as your camouflage, you might end up with a clear width that is only 19” wide. In the case of custom-designed bookcases, there are some special hinges and other design tricks we can do to make the clear width much larger, but again, that comes at a much higher cost.

Hopefully this article has helped you to narrow down the perfect camouflage style for your space. But if you still need help please don’t hesitate to call The Hidden Door Store to talk it over with one of our expert sales team. We’d be happy to listen to your unique situation and make some recommendations. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!