Introduction: Hidden Room Under the Stairs

Picture of Hidden Room Under the Stairs

Seems the problem is, there is never enough space. 
My mission is to find every speck of useful space in my house.
knowing that there was a large space under my stairs that wasn't being used was driving me insane.
But I didnt want to just put an ugly door or a fake air vent in the side of my stairs.
So I came up with the Idea of recessed shelves with one set of the shelves being a secret door.
Please be gentle this is my first instructable. I took a lot of pictures to help me get the idea across.

Step 1:

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First you need to find the empty space.
The larger portion under the stairs is taken up by my pantry.
Cut a hole in the wall preferably when your wife isnt home.
Be careful of any potential wires or plumbing that may be in the wall.
I couldnt wait to put things under there. There is a 6ft christmas tree, 4 plastic tubs, kids rocking chair, a wreath and various other small items. It sure beats going into the attic every Christmas.

Step 2:

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Make a 2x4 frame for a door and attach a piece the drywall you cut out to the back of it to make a door.

Step 3:

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Finish cutting out the rest of the drywall to the size that you want your shelves to be.
cut 2x4's to fit across the bottom to cover the hollow spots in the wall.

Step 4:

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frame out the top with 2x4's and add wood to any wall studs to make them wider so they can be covered with a 1x4.

Step 5:

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cut 1x4's to trim around the outside of the unit like in the pictures.

Step 6:

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spray the backside of the drywall that is exposed with spray texture to match the rest of your wall.
then paint trim and drywall.

Step 7:

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I had to add half inch strips of wood by the hinges to compensate for the thickness of the drywall for the piece of trim that will be added on top of it. I also added a gate latch to the back of the door at this time you can see how it works in the final video.

Step 8:

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cut the final two strips of 1x4 to cover wall stud and the stud with hinge. Then paint.
the trim that is over the door hinge is held in place with magnets.

Step 9:

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I then cut 1 inch strips of molding to go around the inside corners of the sections leaving gaps for the shelves to go into.
I glued all of these in place.

Step 10:

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I cut a pre-laminated 4x8 sheet of wood for the shelves then added white plastic trim to front of each shelf.

Step 11:

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OK so here are pictures and a video of the final product.
There were a few scratch my head moments along the way but all in all it wasn't so bad once I got up the nerve to cut that first hole.
again this was my first istructable so be nice and if you liked it please vote for me in the Weekend Projects Contest.
Thank you.


Nova_Freak (author)2016-12-27

Welp, I think it's time to become Harry Potter

GordonD6 (author)2016-04-18

I like the photos BUT did not like the downloading of the video and,To me it took to long to view so I moved on.

gadget-man (author)GordonD62016-04-19

It used to stream the video from the instructable sight.
I don't know why it doesn't any more.
But it's still worth the download

LandersLanding (author)2015-08-24

Nice Job. Is there anyway to open the door if the string pulls out?

it's not really easy but you can take the hinges off. if you use a string that's heavy duty (maybe heavy fishing line) I don't really see that becoming an issue. what I have is a thin braded nylon cord like the use on the pull starter of remote control cars.

starwarsgeek1 (author)2014-08-08

this is absolutely genius thanks for the idea man!!!

huskerland3 (author)2013-12-21


KilMe_Zniper (author)2013-11-27

that was pretty cool

poofrabbit (author)2013-08-31

Hey congratulations on being a finalist in the weekend projects contest! I love this idea. I'm currently renovating a building into my home and wanted to do some cool secret room sort of ideas. Since a lot of it is already down to latte in areas and darn it, if I'm going to do it I should make it cool! Anyway, this is on my list of ideas to put into the building so many thanks!!

gadget-man (author)poofrabbit2013-09-01

Thank You, I'm really happy about being A finalist.
Have fun making all the cool hidden rooms. :)

PegasusDreamer (author)2013-08-27

Hidden Rooms are wonderful. I found one in my house after I bought it .. lol .. took me a month or two to find it and get it open .. fun.

reikimaster5555 (author)2013-08-24

i have always been in wonder of hidden rooms and hidden doors. i find them facinating. great job showing all the steps. only thing i would of liked to see is the finished shelves with the door opened

I think you can in the video. If you can t see good enough just let me know and I'll post another picture. Oh and please vote . Thanks

Rainne (author)2013-08-11

That's fantastic! Really well done. We have a cupboard under our stairs with a full sized door, but this makes me want to make a hidden door in the side and block up the regular door, LOL. Voted!

gadget-man (author)Rainne2013-08-11

Thank You, And Thank You for the vote. :)

filtercages (author)2013-08-01

Excellent project and very professional.
Now you need to tackle what seems to be a lot of wasted space in that pantry!
What about a tall rectangular box on wheels or runners that you can pull out?
Full of shelves that you can then access from the side.

gadget-man (author)filtercages2013-08-02

Thank You, If My kids didnt practically live in there I would do that.

filtercages (author)gadget-man2013-08-02

You keep your kids locked in the pantry?
BTW, I also voted for you.

james.m.k (author)filtercages2013-08-03

*Phsaw* Who doesn't??

gadget-man (author)filtercages2013-08-02

lol sometimes I wish I could. THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE VOTE.

83leelee (author)2013-08-03

This is awesome! I want my husband to do something like this to the house, and he loves secret passages. :)

gadget-man (author)83leelee2013-08-03

Thank You, I think everybody should have a secret door of some sort in there house.

james.m.k (author)2013-08-01

Very cool!

I especially like the hidden latch, but does the door rattle when you push on it?

gadget-man (author)james.m.k2013-08-01

Thank You. the door will rattle just a tiny bit if you shake it, the latch is pretty tight.
and then again I dont know of anyone that would grab a shelf and shake it. ☺

james.m.k (author)gadget-man2013-08-01

Oh, BTW. Voted!

gadget-man (author)james.m.k2013-08-02

Thank You SOOOO Much.

james.m.k (author)gadget-man2013-08-01

Well, if you're going to do a secret door, you might as well do it right. ^_^

Spray liquid rubber or something deadening on the lock, and put rubber sealing strips around the frame to keep the door tight.

Of course, the space under MY stairs is full of boxes and packing materials I've just thrown there, and looks ugly as ****! So I'm not one to talk! 8-P Though it IS in the basement.

lhash1 (author)2013-08-01

Nice work, and your instructable was very good.

gadget-man (author)lhash12013-08-02

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it.

londobali (author)2013-08-01

Good job gadget-man!

Thanks for sharing and Keep 'em coming! :)

gadget-man (author)londobali2013-08-02

Thank You, and with all of this positive feedback I just may do that.

joyewils (author)2013-08-01

Fantastic. I love it, and you are a genius to come up with this. I am going to have my hubby do this. Great hiding place.

gadget-man (author)joyewils2013-08-02

Thank You so much, Once you get started it really isnt that bad.

jpridgen1 (author)2013-08-02

Very nice instructable!!! I might have to do this!

gadget-man (author)jpridgen12013-08-02

Thank You, I say go for it.

joyewils (author)2013-08-02

I voted!!!!

gadget-man (author)joyewils2013-08-02

Awesome!! Thank You VERY much.

Dark Solar (author)2013-08-02

Excellent way to exploit unused space.

Some suggestions:
1. Shelves tend to gather items and drywall is a lot like concrete--good in compression, not so much in tension. And nothing gives away a hidden door like a group of shelves on parallel slopes; 1/4 plywood or 1/8 lauan glued & screwed to the back of the door will eliminate frame sag. To make the plywood/luan disappear, simply skim surface with spackle/joint compound & sand.
2. Build the door to swing inward; unfortunately, you'll lose space to the swing-radius but the trade off is the potential to make the door almost completely undetectable. (If that's what you're after.)

gadget-man (author)Dark Solar2013-08-02

Thank You, And thanks for the suggestions I like your Idea of the door swinging in, just if it was a little bigger under there. My door hasnt sagged but that might be because of the size. Most of the time I have a very small budget everything I used I already had on hand except the 1x4's and the 1" trim that went around the inside of the shelves and the trim that went on front of the shelves.

AE8994 (author)2013-08-02

I like it. I have a long weekend coming up and this is going to be my next project. Wonderful Instructable and you can never have too many pics. Keep up the good work. Nicely done.

gadget-man (author)AE89942013-08-02

Thank You and good luck with the project message me if you have any questions along the way.

VenialVenom (author)2013-08-01

I hope some day I have a house with stairs so I can make this. +Vote

gadget-man (author)VenialVenom2013-08-01

Thank you for the vote : ) When you get a house with stairs make sure the master bedroom is on the main floor its not fun having to go up stairs all the time.(mistake I made).

james.m.k (author)2013-08-01

I also thought that this went the entire length of the stairs, and that putting the door behind the smallest shelves was a brilliant way to insure that stuff isn't just thrown down towards the smallest end.

If you decide to open up the rest of the space under the stairs, I would recommend using the existing central studs, and after knocking down the dividing walls, putting a 2x4 that divides the space length wise, making a very clear dividing line between storage space, and the walk way.

Of course, at that point lights would be necessary too.

wdsims63 (author)2013-08-01

Wow. This is done really nicely. Did you do the extra shelves just because you wanted shelves there? At first, I thought the center section was the door and you removed the other sections to cover up the hinges and latches, but I see that the last section is the door, so I am wondering why you added the extra shelves that didn't directly relate to the hidden door.
Otherwise, this is excellent and I like the way you finished it out. Did you try to come up with a way to let that trim piece over the hinges stay there and move/rotate out of the way when the door opens?
Any lighting inside of the space there?

gadget-man (author)wdsims632013-08-01

Thank You , I thought it would look funny with just one little section of shelves.
as far as the trim over the hinges right now you just have to set it aside but I have been kicking around a few ideas on a way to keep it attached but out of the way.

Dude, next time you do this make the trim stationary. Just move the door.

They make special hinges and latches for hidden installations.

Nice first project, but tear it all out in a year or two and use your newly learned skills to do it even better. (You know you want to.)

dlindstrom (author)2013-08-01

Awesome! Great job!

gadget-man (author)dlindstrom2013-08-01

Thank You:)

AT (author)2013-08-01

Great idea and great execution!

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