In nearly every good mystery or fantasy story, there is a secret room somewhere in a mansion. Every villain or super hero has a secret lair for them to hide in, too. This idea is so cool, that most of us wish we could have hidden compartments or entire rooms in our homes. Lucky for us, this doesn’t have to be a fantasy. Here are some real-life examples of secret rooms in people’s houses- both discovered by accident and intentionally built.
30. “Girl Finds Secret Room In Her NYC Apartment” Went Viral on TikTok
In March of 2021, a young woman named Samantha Hartsoe uploaded a video to Tik Tok that was both horrifying and fascinating. For a while, she felt a draft coming through her New York City Apartment. No matter what temperature the heat was set to, the apartment still felt cold. One day, she realized that there was an actual breeze coming through from behind the bathroom mirror. When she lifted the mirror, she discovered something shocking. There was a secret room in her apartment!
After bravely climbing through the hole in her bathroom wall, Samantha realized that it wasn’t just a secret room. It was an entire second apartment. The front door was left open, and the landlord did not keep the heat on in this other space. Not only was it freezing cold, but it was also very unsafe. She uploaded this video to Tik Tok, and it went viral. She has since appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show and many other programs. If you haven’t seen it already, we highly recommend watching the video. Click here to see the whole story.
29. This House Has An Entire Secret Jail Hiding in the Kitchen Pantry
When you see the outside of this house in Fayette, Missouri, you would assume that it was just a normal Victorian house. From the road, it looks like any other house. Walking around the home, you’d see some beautiful features, but nothing out in the ordinary. Once you walk into the kitchen, you’ll notice a door, which could be easily mistaken for the pantry. But hiding behind the normal door is a metal vault. This is the secret entrance for an entire jail hiding behind the house! This is a historic property called the 1875 Howard County Sheriff’s House and Jail. Years ago, the sheriff lived right next to the prisoners, so there was no chance that they could escape.
This house was one of the most unique pieces of real estate to go up for sale in 2020, and the buyers knew that the house came with the jail attached. By now, it is already sold. Who knows what the buyers decided to do with the historic 1875 Howard County Sheriff’s House and Jail. They could have transformed that space into something new, or replace the vault door to a pantry, which would really make this a secret room.
28. Brothers Find a $15 Million Norman Rockwell Painting Hidden Behind The Wall
A man named Donald Trachte was a professional cartoonist who was able to purchase an original Norman Rockwell painting “Breaking Home Ties” for $900. After going through a bad divorce with his wife, he hid the painting behind a false wall in his home in Vermont. Donald gave “Breaking Home Ties” to the Norman Rockwell museum during the divorce. Years after his death, Donald’s two sons were exploring the family home. They discovered that there was a false wall in the living room. When they pulled away the paneling, they found the real “Breaking Home Ties” painting in a secret room behind the wall.
Since Donald Trachte was an artist himself, he was able to paint a nearly exact replica of the Norman Rockwell painting before he gave it to the museum. Behind the wall, there were also 8 other duplicates, which revealed that all of the paintings in the house were actually fakes. By doing this, he left behind a massive inheritance to his sons. The brothers decided to sell the painting at Sotheby’s Auction. Because of the fantastic story, the painting was originally estimated to be worth $5 million, but it ended up selling for $15.4 million at auction. Now, his father’s fake sits side-by-side on tour in museums around the world.
27. This Old New York Home Has A Secret Passageway In the Floor
Some people love the idea of having a trap door, because it gives you a method of escape in case things get scary. A former mill in Harpersfield, New York has been transformed into a gorgeous house nestled in the Catskill Mountains. Originally built in 1858, this home was once a grist mill where people worked. Even though it was converted into a home, there are still plenty of surprises left, like a trap door in the kitchen floor.
This door would have led down to another part of the mill, and was most likely left over from the 1800’s. Today, it’s just a fun feature to have in your home. (And if you needed to escape a burglar situation.) Many older homes have a door leading down to their root cellar, but they are usually closed off. If you live in an older home on the east coast, you just might have a door like this hiding underneath your kitchen tiles.
26. The Mob Museum in Las Vegas Has Recreated a Secret 1920’s Speakeasy
If you are ever fortunate enough to visit the Mob Museum in Las Vegas, be sure to check out their bar called “The Underground.” It’s designed like a 1920’s speakeasy. During prohibition, it was illegal to sell alcohol. But obviously, this didn’t stop mobsters from selling it on the down-low and getting rich from their crimes.
Many of us who enjoy history have dreamed of going to a speakeasy, and it was even dramatized in TV shows like “Riverdale”. But going to an exhibit like this is the closest we will ever get to experiencing what it must have been like in real life. Out of all of the secret rooms on this list, this location is one of the only places that is actually affordable for you to go to. So the next time you’re on a Las Vegas vacation, skip the casinos and go here instead.
25. You Can Rent A Castle in the Middle of Texas With a Secret Room
Since Texas is a landlocked state, there aren’t many lighthouses around. But the owners of Lighthouse Hill Ranch decided that they wanted to build a castle in the shape of a lighthouse tower on their massive 2,001 acre property. This magnificent property is up for rent on VRBO. At $720 per night, this property is no joke. You need to basically need to be rich enough to afford to your own castle before you can afford to take a vacation in one.
As you can see from the photos, the massive property has its own swimming pool, basketball court, outdoor grill, bar, and so much more. If staying in a castle on its own wasn’t already fun enough, the owners set up a secret room for the kids to find. It’s tradition to let the kids search the home until they find the secret room, which has bean bag chairs and a lamp. This looks like a cozy space to curl up with a book or video games.
24. YouTube Jenna Marble Made an Under-The-Stairs Room For Her Dogs
A lot of people have a small closet space underneath the stairs. Some people call this the Harry Potter room, but mostly it’s used for storage. However, this can be transformed into your own little secret room of your very own. YouTube star and comedian Jenna Marbles decided to use this room under her stairs as a lounge for her dogs.
In this video, you can watch as she added accessories to make her dogs comfortable, so they have a fun place to hang out. To some people, this might seem silly. However, during serious storms, my cats have always run under the stairs to hide. Animals understand that a staircase is one of the safest places to take shelter. So by making a comfortable secret room for your pets to hide in, you’re actually doing them a favor!
Anyone who grew up watching Batman already knows about the Batcave. This is the secret room kept by Bruce Wayne in the basement of his mansion. There is a company called Elite Extreme who specialize in making custom home theaters, and they have a design that is built around the bat cave. In the photos, you can see an example of someone who created a secret room which is really an entire movie theater in their house. The company would not reveal who owns this house, only to say that it was a $2 million project for “a reclusive client in Greenwich, Connecticut.”
Most of these examples are small closets or offices tucked away behind the secret door. However, imagine having an entire movie theater hiding somewhere in your house. This would be the most show-stopping, epic thing that anyone could imagine. According to the designers, “In order to gain access to this unbelievable custom theater built deep underneath our client’s sprawling estate, one must enter a secret elevator situated behind a grandfather clock in the back of a private study. Once inside the elevator, a fingerprint and retina scan is the only way to access the 12,000 sq/ft room and command center below.”
22. This Cozy Window Box is Actually a Portal to a Literal Man Cave
A lot of guys wish they had a “man cave” in their house. Normally, this is just an office space or second living room area where they can watch sports, drink beer, and maybe play games with their friends. But one Imgur user by the name of “Notadeckofcards” took the idea of a man cave to the next level. In his living room, there is a trap door on the floor. Originally, it was hiding underneath a chair. But he went one step further to build a corner window seat, which completely concealed the trap door underneath.
After opening the trap door, you climb down the ladder to the basement, where the stone walls very literally feel like you’ve burrowed into a cave. With loudspeakers, a projector, and turf grass on the fround, it looks like an amazing place to hang out with the bros. And if he has kids, it’s surely going to impress their friends when they come over to play video games.
21. The English Cottage Studio Has a Room Hidden in a Tree
You’re a child, there’s nothing more magical than imagining a secret room hiding somewhere in your house. So if you’re going on vacation, consider going to this home that has an English cottage style bedroom. In the bedroom, there is a 3D tree sculpture attached to the wall with a door hidden in its trunk. When you open it up, there is an adorable space for kids to read a book, play with dolls, or cuddle up with their video games.
In reality, this looks like it’s an attic bedroom from the early 1900’s. Many houses had extra doors that lead into a crawl space for additional storage under the awnings of the roof. So this is a really creative idea to make the experience more magical than it was before. If you’re interested in checking out the AirBnB listing, click here.
20. This Family Found a Secret Staircase Behind a Wall in Nova Scotia
One AirBnB in Nova Scotia, Canada is famous for its secret room. According to the listing, “This room is called “The Secret Room” because it was sealed up and only discovered long after my Mother bought this house and an old man who had lived in the house as a child was visiting and asked where the back staircase was. They kicked in the wall of a closet and the room was revealed, sealed for an unknown period of time. This sounds crazy, but we believe the room has the ghost of a nice lady in it.”
We don’t know about the ghost, but this story is very cool. Imagine buying a house, only to find out that there was a hidden staircase all along? They were able to make the space at the top of the staircase into a new bedroom so that guests can stay. If you’re reading this during Covid, they won’t be taking any guests. But if you’re reading this at a time when it’s safe to travel, click here to book your stay.
On a Tiktok called @Krisbonomo2, they showed how they hid their doggy door behind one of the cabinets of their kitchen. Once the dogs were inside of the cabinet, they were led to a passageway with a doggy door that led out to the backyard.
This is actually a great idea for a lot of reasons. According to Reader’s Digest, doggy doors make your home vulnerable to burglars. It can be a way for them to break into your house. They say never to have the door directly on your front or back door. This is probably why these homeowners decided to put the hole on the back of the house, rather than the doors.
Anyone who grew up watching or reading The Chronicles of Narnia will remember how the children walked through their wardrobe into the magical world. Some parents would settle with giving their kids a Narnia themed bedroom. But one mom called KelseyPolo on Reddit showed how she went one step further to recreate the portal to Narnia in her own home.
Behind the doors of the wardrobe is an entire secret hidden playroom. The walls have been completely painted with a mural that looks like the snowy landscape of Narnia. There is also a fluffy carpet, stools to sit in, and a lot of toys to play with. Anyone who has a closet could do something like this, as long as you’re willing to destroy the back of a wardrobe in the process.
17. A New Homeowner Found a Hidden Room With Treasure, and a Creepy Secret
A Reddit user who went only by the name “Lumberjack” purchased a new home. He discovered a crawl space that contained a safe. Once he got the safe open, he found a leather briefcase filled with watches and rings. There were also gold and silver, plus several envelopes filled with currency from various countries. At first, he was excited to find the room filled with treasure. That was, until he found the tapes.
Along with all of the valuables, there was also a stack of tapes from a recorder. One of them had been labeled with a Sharpie that read, “No no no no no.” There was also a note that said, “save yourself.” The man was so terrified, he didn’t want to listen to the tapes to find out what was on them. He drove the box to his local police station, and handed it in as potential evidence for a crime. Since this story came from Reddit, there is always the chance that it the author was trying to play a prank on the Internet.
16. This Bathroom Towel Rack is Hiding the Family Safe
For most of us, we can’t afford to have an entire secret room built in our house. But maybe you could copy this next idea to keep some of your valuables more secure. A Tiktok called @Krisbonomo2 uploaded a video showing this hidden vault. They hid their safe behind a piece of molding in their bathroom, and added a towel rack on top. So the towel rack is used as a handle to open and close the safe.
In the movies, it’s a common theme to show a vault hidden behind a painting. And if we are to believe TV shows like Storage Wars, people actually copy this idea and hide stacks of cash inside of paintings all the time. It has gotten to the point where burglars might even try to go after paintings on the wall, assuming that there might be a safe behind there. So this is genius. Try to think of somewhere in your home that is unexpected, but will keep your valuables safe.
15. A Homeowner in Norway Found a WWII Era Jewish Hiding Spot in the Attic
Many of you are familiar with the story of the Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, where a Jewish family hid in the attic during the Holocaust in order to avoid capture for as long as they possibly could. Obviously, they were not the only family to do so. There have been countless stories about people who had to hide from their captors, like the story of Elsa Koditschek.
In the Netherlands, someone purchased a house, and discovered this secret room in a wing of the attic that had been left untouched for decades. The sign roughly translates to, “If you have a bad stomach, you don’t have access.” There was also a light alarm that was triggered every time someone entered the attic. Since this was posted on Reddit, there aren’t any more details for us to go on. However, it’s likely that there are many hidden spaces like this left in Europe that are still undiscovered.
14. Squatter Used a Secret Room to Live in the Basement
This next story is incredibly creepy, and shows the downside to having a cool secret room or doorway in your house. According to a YouTuber called Mr. Nightmare, he found a story shared on Reddit. A group of college kids were living together in a rental house, when they started to hear noises in the middle of the night. They were all living on their own for the first time, and didn’t know what it could possibly be. So they assumed that maybe there were old pipes in the house, and ignored it. What was harder to ignore was that they would find the cabinet and pantry doors left open in the morning, even though they knew they closed them at night. At first, they debated if the house was haunted.
It wasn’t until the students went into their basement before they realized what was going on. They found a false wall in their basement that revealed a secret room. A squatter was living there rent-free, and was even stealing their food at night! They managed to get this man to leave the house without calling the police. Then, they posted photos on Reddit. Obviously, you can never be sure if these stories are true or not. But there have been plenty of true stories of people living in an attic for years without getting caught. So this isn’t as crazy as you might think.
Anyone who is a fan of The Lord of the Rings already knows about the iconic circular Hobbit doors. One homeowner in Hidden Meadow, Pennsylvania decided to build a custom Hobbit door onto their home office. While this wasn’t exactly a secret room, you would be forgiven if you thought that a door like this was decorative, rather than functional. The house sold quickly for $5.8 million, most likely to another Tolkein fan.
Normally, we would suggest that over-customizing is something that would actually devalue your home. However, in this case, this circular door was cool, even if you have never seen Lord of the Rings. Clearly, the buyer thought that this added to the charm of the home, and it worked out very well.
This next secret room idea is not in one location, but rather a concept that a lot of people have used in their houses. Some of you might have seen new houses built in California where they have a gorgeous wine cellar underneath the staircase. However, not everyone wants their wine to be shown out in the open. This is especially true if you have an expensive collection that you want to keep safe. Traditionally, in Europe, wine collections were kept in the cellar. So it only makes sense that some people out there prefer to keep their wine in a secret room.
These two pictures are not in the same house, obviously. But it’s a trend I have seen again and again in hidden rooms and spaces. Clearly, people like this idea of having an underground spiral staircase leading to their wine cellar. In theory, this should also keep your wine cool.
11. Harry Potter Kids Secret Room Has a Hidden Door Behind a Bookshelf
Cape Cod is a popular tourist destination for anyone who is looking to spend time on the beach. At $695 per night, this rental is no joke. Most of the time, families will get together and split the cost of a large house like this, bringing cousins together for a great vacation. This is why the kid’s bedroom comes with three bunk beds, as well as two against the ceiling awnings, making a total of 8 beds. What makes it even better is that it’s a Harry Potter themed room. Hogwarts banners are flying across the ceiling, so kids can pretend that they’re living in the dorm of their favorite house.
If you didn’t think a Harry Potter room was already cool as it is, there is an added bonus to this room. Hiding behind the bookshelf is a secret room! Since this bedroom appears to be in the attic, it makes sense that there was an extra hidden storage space. The only trouble is that it looks so small, only the youngest kids could fit inside. It’s still something magical that your kids would remember for the rest of their lives, if you and your family could afford this Cape Code vacation rental.
10. There is a Secret Cinema Hiding Behind This Tardis
Anyone who has seen the TV series Doctor Who is already familiar with The Tardis. Just in case you aren’t, this is a blue police box commonly seen in the UK, but it’s actually a gigantic time travel machine once you get inside. A company called Gramophone Home Theater is behind this creation. On the outside, it just looks like a life-sized Tardis owned by a Dr. Who fan. But once you open the door, you realize it’s a doorway to a secret cinema room.
Similar to the secret Batcave cinema mentioned earlier, this is a really fun way to reveal to your guests that you have an entire movie theater hiding somewhere in your house! And if you were feeling paranoid about burglars stealing your expensive equipment, this might also be a clever way to ramp up your home security system.
9. This “Hacker Hideout” is Like Something Out of a Movie
Whenever you see computer programmers or hackers in movies or TV shows like Mr. Robot, they always have the coolest hideouts. In reality, most developers work from home, and they have normal home offices just like anyone else. However, a highly successful programmer named Ed Skoudis decided to make his own Steampunk inspired office in his home.
The office door is hidden behind a bookcase with a suit of armor. There is a secret hole that unlocks a bolt and lets you inside. Because of that bolt, this also doubles as a panic room. But once you’re inside, there is plenty of space for Ed and his team to work.
8. This Person’s Hidden Wine Room is Behind the Bookcase
This home in Tacoma, Washington just seems like your average 4-bedroom American house. That is, until you realize that there is an entire hidden wine room behind the living room bookshelf! Earlier on this list, we mentioned how wine cellars are traditionally in the basement. However, a lot of people are getting creative when it comes to hiding their stash.
Obviously, a project like this wouldn’t be worth it unless you had an incredibly expensive wine collection. However, this could also serve as a panic room, if you were afraid of burglars coming in your house. Something like this is likely to be completely missed if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
If you’re a book lover, you have probably dreamed of having your own library your entire life. (Myself included.) This particular property that was designed by Peter Pennoyer Architects shows an amazingly unique teal colored library. If that wasn’t cool enough on its own, this library has a secret room.
Hidden behind one of the many bookshelves is a bathroom. So if you’re busy reading books all day, at least you have somewhere to relieve yourself without taking away from the aesthetic of the room! Personally, I love this. It makes the library feel even more magical than it already did before.
6. This 90’s Style AirBnB Has a Secret Room for Guests
They say that you should give your guests more than what they expect. A secret room you’ll have to see for yourself. On AirBnB, there is a house that is totally made over to pay homage to the 90’s. The kitchen is modeled after Saved by the Bell, and you also see nods to The Simpsons, Rugrats, The Power Rangers, and more.
Guests who have stayed at this AirBnB have reported that there is a secret room that isn’t featured in the listing photos. You just have to find it once you arrive! Not only is the theme really fun on its own, but if you have kids, finding a hidden room makes this experience even more special.
5. Like Secret Rooms? In Paris, There Are Entire Fake Buildings
Here on this list, we’ve talked a lot about secret rooms. But what about secret buildings? In Paris, there are entire buildings that are actually fake. For the most part, they are hiding ventilation shafts for the subway, which helps to make the city look just as beautiful and historic as it once did before the modern Metro was built. If you’re familiar with New York City, you already know that they don’t bother to hide the industrial aspects of how the city runs. But in Paris, they’re always trying to make things look pretty.
On a YouTube channel called The Tim Traveller, he shows several facades, or fake buildings in Paris. Some of them blend in very well, while others are rather obvious that they’re fake. One of my personal favorites is 29 rue Quincampoix, which has painted windows, rather than real ones. From a distance, this house might look real. But once you get up close, you’ll realize that it’s very obviously fake. This opitcal illusion is great, and proves how things can be hidden in plain sight.
4. These Homeowners Went Above and Beyond to Hide Their Media Room
In Feng Shui, they advise against having a TV in a lot of spaces. And many of you might know at least one person who wants a formal living room where they don’t have a TV at all. So, how do you enjoy movies and video games? One home owner decided that the solution to the problem was to create a secret media room. At first glance, this home designed by DeForest Architects looks like something out of a magazine.
Most people would already love to live in this house. But behind the bookshelf, there is a door that swings into the secret room. Beyond is a media room where the kids are free to keep their video games, DVD’s TV, and more. To me, this like like a dream come true. You get the best of both worlds when it comes to keeping your living room perfectly clean, while still giving your kids a fun place to let loose.
3. This Luxurious Staircase is Hiding a Fun Playroom
When you first walk into this house by Von Fitz Design, you would be forgiven if you totally miss the small door under the stairs. With the sweeping staircase, light fixtures, and industrial farmhouse charm, there is so much to visually take in. Clearly, these people took put a lot of time and money into creating their dream house. But they haven’t forgotten about making it fun for their kids, too.
When you go underneath the stairs, you’ll see a hidden playroom with toy blocks, a rug, pillows, and a piece of art that says “Every brother is a superhero”. This is a great way to keep a lot of toys hidden from the main entryway, which helps to keep the home looking like something out of a magazine. And when the child grows up and can start having friends over, it’s going to be the perfect place for them to play hide-and-go-seek.
If you have guns at home, it’s always important to keep them in a safe, so that your kids don’t get ahold of them. For this home owner, they went above and beyond by keeping their guns in a hidden room behind their massive bookshelf. Two bookshelves swing open to reveal a heavy bank vault door. You need to know how to open the door in order to gain access.
This is like having double security. Most likely, this homeowner also keeps other valuables in this safe beyond just their guns. This home was custom designed by an architectural firm called Creative Home Engineering. The company specializes in building hidden rooms in your home. So if you have the budget to build something like this, be sure to check them out.
If you want a secret room in your house to keep your valuables safe, this next idea is pure genius. A design firm called Creative Home Engineering specializes in hidden walls and rooms that can be constructed in your house. They sell several different versions of floor-length mirrors that are actually doorways. This is a brilliant idea, because most people would never think twice about seeing a large mirror in someone’s living room, bathroom, or bedroom. But in reality, it’s a portal to a hidden space.
In the photo above, you can see this luxurious mirror is actually a door into the master closet. If you have a lot of valuable clothing and purses that you want to protect, this could be a great way to hide them from potential burglars. It’s also more aesthetically pleasing and utilitarian to see a beautiful mirror where you can get ready in the morning, instead of a door that isn’t really serving a purpose. A mirror door like this cold also serve as a perfect hiding spot, in case you ever needed to conceal yourself during a break-in.