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See it. Or not? How to make a BILLY bookcase secret door

We wanted to achieve two goals with one project:

Find a clever, affordable, and easy-to-install (and break down) secret door in our rental home (we’ve always wanted one) AND …

… make this weird middle room in our home with doors and windows on every wall useful!

We already have a living room. Our kitchen has space for our table, and this room is just oddly in the middle of everything. New England houses, man!

Our solution was to turn the space into our whiskey and tea library, with a wall of dark shelves, some nice seating options. And, in doing so, create a secret door that leads to our home office/guest room, turning it into a unique secret room.

View slideshow of the Whiskey and Tea Library with Secret Door

After some late night creativity and lots of measuring, I realized the BILLY Bookcase the perfect width to fit in front of the door to our office/guest room. And it could be tucked into the wall well. But it was also really affordable and easy to assemble.

I’d also been considering some of IKEA’s closet and wardrobe systems, primarily the PAX system. But those were more expensive, stuck out more from the wall, and most of the door options didn’t feel right for the space.

IKEA items used:
  • BILLY Bookcase – 2 wide and 1 narrow
  • BILLY Bookcase Height Extension – 2 wide and 1 narrow
  • OXBERG glass doors for BILLY Bookcase x 5
  • OXBERG Height Extension glass doors x 5
  • 5 ÖSTERNÄS leather handles (technically 3 packs)
Other materials and tools:

How to make a secret door using BILLY bookcases

Measure the space

Measure the open wall space and door opening. This both ensures that you’ll buy the right number and sizes of the IKEA BILLY Bookcase and also that the door opening to the room you want to hide will line up with the wide BILLY Bookcase.

We have an extra ~14″ to the corner on the right side of the bookcase but we’ll solve that at another time!

Whiskey & Tea Library hides secret door to home office

before

Assemble bookcases and height extensions one section at a time based on IKEA instructions. Then, anchor WELL to wall using IKEA provided anchors and the proper screws for wall type.

Whiskey & Tea Library hides secret door to home office Whiskey & Tea Library hides secret door to home office

On the section that will be in front of the secret door, simply assemble the outer frame of the main bookcase – without the back or base. Then, assemble the full height extension and attach it to the BILLY frame. Carefully put in place and anchor well to the wall.

Whiskey & Tea Library hides secret door to home office

Whiskey & Tea Library hides secret door to home office

Install the doors

Install OXBERG doors on all units once anchored.

Whiskey & Tea Library hides secret door to home office Whiskey & Tea Library hides secret door to home office

We installed ÖSTERNÄS door handles on lower doors. (And we left the standard OXBERG handles on the height extensions just to save a little money. But I imagine it would look great for all doors to have leather handles).

Whiskey & Tea Library hides secret door to home office

Apply window tint film following manufacturer’s instructions. We used ZEALOTT Solar Control Window Tint Static Cling that we found on Amazon. It seemed to be the best dark tint.

Better yet, it also creates a nice reflective mirror effect for those sitting in the whiskey room (as we call it). I had to cut this for each window section and used a spray bottle to get the surface adequately wet.

Whiskey & Tea Library hides secret door to home office Whiskey & Tea Library hides secret door to home office

Fill shelves with whiskey and tea and books and enjoy!

How long did it take?

It took a full day to assemble the bookcases and doors. Another day to really do the window film right. And then an embarrassing four months to finish unpacking. (We had just moved into this house summer of 2018. I built all this, and then stashed all of our junk in the office so it was an utter mess until now!).

Clearly, we haven’t finished painting the office yet, but that won’t happen until later in 2019. But I can’t wait any longer to share this secret door hack.

Looking out from the home office/guest room through the secret door

View from inside the home office/guest room to the Whiskey room

What was the hardest part?

Honestly applying the window film was the hardest. It was so tedious and tricky to make sure the cut is centered, clean of all fuzzies. (Dog hair in our case). And then spraying and smoothing and spraying and smoothing to get out the air bubbles and creases.

But in the end, it was all worth it. Our whiskey and tea library is awesome. And no one will be any the wiser of our secret door to the hidden office.

~ by Meg Salocks (Follow me on @megandtinyblueberry)