Introduction: Hidden Chair Compartment

When an intruder enters your home, what do they go for? Those expensive phones and tablets laying on the table? The overflowing jewellery box on the dresser? Or those 5-year old, mass-produced, $20 wooden chairs sitting at the dining table? Well, I can tell you which they wouldn't go for.

Secret compartments have been around since the dawn of mankind (probably not), and they're there for one specific reason; to hide something (or someone?) that you don't want to be found out of plain sight, and to make it difficult for any prying eyes to spot. This hidden chair compartment does exactly that. With the hinged seat cushion able to lift up to reveal an empty, cushioned area underneath where you can hide any valuables, it creates a place where you can be sure nobody is bound to look. The hinges for the seat cushion are placed at the front of the chair, so as to avoid any accidental discovery of the compartment if somebody were to pick up the seat from the front.

The compartment can be used to hide valuables such as jewellery or electronics, or even simply as extra storage space. This idea could be utilised in areas such as craft rooms where you can store different materials and tools that you don't need as often. You could even leave it at the dining table and store things such as the fancy cutlery only used on special occasions, provided you make the base extra strong. Or if you're the over-protective type, fit an insert and place your dual revolvers side by side, right under yourself whilst you're eating.

I hope you enjoy this Instructable, but remember, every chair is different and these instructions are to be taken as guidelines and inspiration should you ever want to create your own version. Thanks for viewing!

If you're interested in more secret compartments, check out this Instructable I posted nearly 2 years ago: www.instructables.com/id/Hidden-Drawer-Compartment/

Step 1: Remove the Cushion

When selecting the chair to use, you need to ensure that the support beams around the bottom of the base are of sufficient depth to allow a decent amount of space inside the compartment, as you can see in Picture 2.

The cushion on my chair was simply held in place with 3 'L' brackets, which I simply unscrewed. I decided to use these brackets later, as you will see, as I liked the look of them. Plus, why would i let them go to waste?! So after unscrewing the L brackets, the cushion came right off, as in Picture 7,

Step 2: Hinging the Cushion

In the spirit of reusing, I scavenged these hinges from an old set of French doors, but really any hinges would work. If I was to buy the hinges, I would get a piano hinge.

I started by replacing the seat cushion and marking out on the base of it where the support beam that I was going to attach my hinges was. I should've done this before removing the cushion, but that was just poor planning. After that, I lined up with hinges an equal distance from each edge, ensuring that they had enough space between their edges and the legs of the chair and screwed them in place.

Note: The hinges for the seat cushion are placed at the front of the chair, so as to avoid any accidental discovery of the compartment if somebody were to pick up the seat from the front.

Step 3: Creating the Compartment Base

I decided to make my base offset from the back of the chair by about 50mm as there was a slight gap at the back of my chair. I created the base using a small piece of chipboard cut just slightly oversize of the inside edge of the chair. Then, hollding it on the base, I drew around the inside profile onto the chipboard.

Off to the bandsaw! I then cut out around the shape on the bandsaw and files the edges. If you've used nicer wood than chipboard, it may look ok how it is, but I decided to add some black felt to by base, which is a good idea if you're going to be putting valuable things in it. It also helps to reduce things sliding around if the chair were to be moved. I attached the felt using spray glue and cut it to size.

Step 4: Base Support Beams

I wanted minimal space wasted in my compartment, and this is where I ended up using those 'L' brackets I got earlier.

I started by cutting a small piece of wood as the main support beam, and cut it to the width of the inside profile. I simply attached this piece to the base with screws through the back. In the 2nd picture, I showed 3 brackets, but only ended up using 2 of them on this side. Since the chipboard wasnt very thick, i drilled 2 holes and using M4 nuts and bolts to secure the brackets to the base.

Step 5: Painting!

The inside compartment didn't look very nice with all the odd bits of wood and brackets there, so its off to the paint shop (my back garden) to do some blending in!

I just used some cheap matt black spray paint for this. I sprayed the wooden support beam, as wellas the 2 'L' brackets, to make them as inconspicuous as possible. I then sprayed the inside edges of the chair's support beams where the compartment would be, as seen in Picture 4. At first this was as far as the painting would go, but I realised that the base of the cushion looked super ugly when it was lifted up, so I painted that too.

Originally, I was going to screw the wooden support beam through the sides of the chairs with a countersunk hole, however I realised that this could give away the fact that there have been modifications made to the chair, so I instead opted simply for 2 more 'L' brackets, which I also painted black (Picture 7).

Step 6: Putting It Together!

This is all quite simple, really, and there isn't much to say on this step. I screwed each of the brackets into the support beams on the chair, using a spirit level to ensure it was flat. Then I re-screwed the cushion onto the hinges.

Voilà! Fini!

I hope you enjoyed reading this Instructable, thanks for reading!

Hiyadudez, out.

Comments

author
hunter999 (author)2015-05-21

Wow, this is ingenious! I really like your intros also, helps people like me to see the logic behind this lol. Voted and faved, good luck! :-)

author
244 Jake (author)2016-04-29

add a megnetic lock, available at many major hardware store, look for Kid Safe

Locks area of the store

244 Jake

author
cpousnret (author)2016-04-16

You did not show a front view of the chaur or explain how the hinges are not visible from the front. I havecan antique sewibg chair that has this type of compartment and if you look, the hinges are visible.

author
ILykMakin (author)2016-04-12

Great idea!

1 mod to make it much easier and more sneaky:

Lose the hinges and replace with industrial velcro on the edges of the frame and underside of seat cushion.

You'll never see it and it grabs like crazy and the adhesive on it, with a staple gun, is perma.

author
Sunrise1999 (author)2015-05-31

Amazing this is an awesome idea!

author
CJLullham (author)2015-05-28

Amazing idea! To think of how many gangster films there is and no one has an idea so smart as this one.

author
UniversalKillers (author)2015-05-26

nfty idea sharing

author
StoryAddict (author)2015-05-26

I liked the simplicity of this idea so much that during a previous "heavy trash" day, I grabbed a semi-broken chair that had one of these storage-seats already built in. I still need to refurbish it. Since the back was hanging by a thread, I'm considering whether to just convert it into a stool, though it might defeat the purpose of your 'ible.

author
nonobadog (author)2015-05-24

My mother's Singer sewing machine chair had this same feature over 50 years ago. It was cool then and cool now.

author
vkingns (author)2015-05-23

You got my vote! Great idea!

author
Bosun Rick (author)2015-05-21

I converted a couple of the chairs I my 5th Wheel camper this way. It makes a great way to store games, magazines, and my drafting equipment.

author
clundgren1 (author)2015-05-21

This would be a great way to store tablecloths and dinner napkins! Not to metion other things.

author
hammer9876 (author)2015-05-21

Brilliant! If only my ten dining chairs were built like that. However, I am eyeballing my bench seating now...

Congratulations on being "Featured."

author
Rick Grimes (author)2015-05-21

this is very smart. I would suggest adding magnets strong enough to keep them shut if moved around.

author
minikirchner (author)Rick Grimes2015-05-21

Great idea!

author
chiguireitor (author)2015-05-21

Great instructable! Things i would add: Kitchen magnetic locks on the opening side, so it doesn't accidentally opens when flipping the chair; Elastic cover inside, to not let loose things reveal themselves when moving the chair and they make tumbling sounds; and last but not least, an extra separator or two, to not let everything mix up.

author
emma_vg (author)2015-05-20

SMART

author
Charlie_Szasz (author)2015-05-19

Brilliant in its simplicity.

author
Hiyadudez (author)Charlie_Szasz2015-05-19

Thankyou!

author
MaratR (author)Hiyadudez2015-05-20

amazing!!

author
Sunglowart (author)2015-05-20

This is a great idea

author
goldlego (author)2015-05-19

That's ingenious! Great job.

author
NespLab (author)2015-05-19

Good idea, beautiful instructable. Very good, man!

author
Hiyadudez (author)NespLab2015-05-19

Thanks!

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Bio: My name is Hiyadudez. I make stuff. "The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure."
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