Hidden Rooms and Secrets Doors Are All Rage Among Homeowners. Here’s Why.

When it comes to interior design, people tend to invest in the things that guests will see when they come over. But more and more, homeowners are spending money on a specific detail that’s just for them.

Hidden doors and secret rooms are having a bit of a moment, The New York Times reported on Thursday. People are shelling out for the amenities for a host of reasons, including hiding valuable items from potential burglars, making room for extra storage, and creating panic rooms for potentially dangerous scenarios. And while they’ve always held an allure, whether you were a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia or Indiana Jones, interest has skyrocketed in the past few years.

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“It makes the house more fun,” the true-crime podcaster Tabitha Kane told the Times. Her Dallas home contains several hidden doors, including one in a fake fireplace in her office. When she or one of her family members puts their hand on a biometric touch pad, the fireplace rotates to allow entry to a secret room.

While it’s unclear exactly how many hidden doors and secret rooms exist, data show that people have definitely hopped aboard the mystery train. Houzz, a website that connects homeowners with designers and remodelers, said searches for terms like “trap doors” more than doubled from 2022 to 2023, The New York Times noted. And the Tennessee company Hide-A-Way Doors told the newspaper that it had 77 to 135 orders every month last year. Even Home Depot started selling relevant products online last year so people could try their hand at DIYing the amenity.

Some of the appeal has to do with the kitsch of a secret room, but other times hidden doors are serving a functional purpose. One family replaced the door to their HVAC unit with one hidden by shelving, so that people would stop thinking it was a coat closet. And Lee Spangenberg, the owner of the company Secret Doorways, first got into the field because he wanted to turn a closet door into something more useful when his son was baby.

“Ten years ago everyone wanted to put barn doors into their house,” he told the Times. “Now a lot more people are doing this type of thing.”

Next time you go over to someone’s home, it may be worth snooping around to see if they’re hiding one, too.

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