An affordable DIY murphy door bookcase hack

DIY murphy door

Get your secret room with a DIY murphy door that’s easy on the pocket.

I wanted to create an attractive door for my spare room/ office space because I often have the door closed. It’s a small space and it tends to look cluttered. My dream was to have a secret door.

Hidden bookcase doors can be very expensive but it dawned on me that I (meaning my father) could potentially DIY IKEA bookcases into a hidden murphy door for my spare room.

He turned my vision into a reality and when the door is closed, it isn’t obvious it hides a secret room. 

DIY murphy door

IKEA item used:

  • BILLY bookcase x 1 (31 1/2 x 11 x 79 1/2″)
  • BILLY bookcase x 1 (15 3/4 x 11 x 79 1/2″)
  • OXBERG glass doors x 2

Other materials:

DIY murphy door hack instructions

I purchased two BILLY Bookcases — a single column case and a double column case with the two glass doors. I decided on these because they were attractive and affordable!

The single column case was cut to size to allow both bookcases to fill the full width of my door. The single column bookcase was anchored to a ‘bump out’ section of the wall which is to the immediate right of the door frame.

The double column bookcase acts as the rolling door, which we attached 4 rubber castors (Everbilt, 2 1/2″ soft rubber swivel plate casters with 100 lbs load rating) under the base of the bookcase. The single column remains stationary.

Dad reinforced the base of the IKEA bookcase with a few pieces of offcuts from the single BILLY before screwing in the four 360-degree swivel caster wheels.

adding caster wheels to ikea bookcase

We used a piano hinge (Everbilt, 72″ x 2″ black continuous hinge) to fasten the two bookcases together. This hinge is almost the full length of the bookcase. It is visible but the metal is almost the exact same colour as the bookcase, so it doesn’t stand out.

Here’s a short video of my husband opening the door from inside our spare room.  

I plan to cover the back of the bookcase but have not completed that yet.

back of DIY murphy door
Back of DIY murphy door bookcase

How long did the project take?

The project took about 8 hours to complete.

How much does it cost to DIY a Murphy door?

It cost around $350.00.

opens up to secret room

What was the toughest part of the DIY Murphy Door hack?

The toughest part was mounting the unit to the ‘bump out’ wall. Although Dad makes everything look easy.

DIY murphy door in closed position

Would you change anything in the project?

I wouldn’t change anything! I store all of my dress shoes in the bookcase, so it is not just a murphy door but a great space saver and extra storage. It’s tough to identify that the ‘murphy door’ is actually a ‘door’ and it certainly just appears as though it is a bookcase filled with shoes! Strange, I know … but it looks great!

~ by Jen

The Storeroom with Secret Door Bookcase

hidden store room with walk through BILLY doors
1. OXBERG doors when opened leads to the storeroom 2. How the hidden bookcase doors look when closed

We call it the Secret Storeroom because it allows me to hide my house cleaning and laundry stuff out the way. And we can hear when the kids sneak in there as they trip trap over the base of the BILLY frame.

It came about because we had a messy understairs cupboard and an oddly shaped living room, courtesy of a few house extensions.

We were also laying an oak floor and the end of that floor was at a different level.

With this IKEA hack, we were able to solve a few issues at once and get some extra storage for our living room.

IKEA item used:

How to make a DIY hidden door?

We started by screeding. Then, tiled the floor in grey gloss tiles to reflect light.

After that, we built the two double width and one single width BILLY bookcases. We underpinned the base of one of the double width bookcase with wooden struts as it would be walked through. You can omit the base of the BILLY bookcase completely to avoid the step up threshold but we left it in. We didn’t want light streaming through from under the bookshelf doors and spoil the illusion of the bookcase.

The placement of this double bookcase is at the far left and forms the doorway to our storeroom. We did not fit the backs on the false bookcase. The frame of the bookcase is fastened to the wall for stability.

Related: Hack a BILLY hidden door bookshelf

A frame around the BILLY bookcases was then built out of scrap wood from a partition wall we demolished in another room. We added plasterboard panels to this. We’ve not quite finished this bit, we have to add the picture rail and paint the plaster.

Finally we used wallpaper featuring books pasted onto a 3mm plywood to cover the walk through bookcase doors. We fastened the ply to the back of the glass door. This was important because otherwise light would spill through from the cupboard into the living room.

We’re really pleased with the results. Our secret bookcase door blends perfectly with the rest of the room, though I might change the knobs later.

~ by Rachel Hill

More on Murphy Doors

How do Murphy doors work?

A Murphy Door works to hide a doorway or entrance. In place of a regular door, a Murphy door is a bookcase or display cabinet that swings out to reveal a hidden space. You can also construct a sliding Murphy door.

What’s the purpose of a Murphy door?

The main purpose of a Murphy door is to hide the entrance to another room. Besides hiding the room, it offers the additional benefit of storage especially for small spaces. Murphy doors are also useful for rooms that have too many doors and entrances without an empty wall for cabinets.

Where do I buy a Murphy Door kit?

If you rather not DIY, Murphy Door kits are readily available online.