How to Build Your Own Murphy Door: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • Ella Jubaedah
  • May 07, 2023
How to Build Your Own Murphy Door: A Step-by-Step Guide

What is a Murphy Door and How can it Benefit Your Space?

Do you want to maximize your living space without sacrificing its overall design? If so, then installing a Murphy door can be the solution you are looking for. A Murphy door, also called a hidden door or a bookcase door, is a type of door that allows you to conceal a room or a closet behind a functional bookshelf or cabinet. It is designed to blend seamlessly into your walls and create a smooth transition between spaces, providing a sleek and creative way to optimize your home layout.

First invented by William L. Murphy in the early 1900s, the Murphy door was initially used as an innovative space-saving solution for his small apartment in San Francisco. Since then, it has become a popular option among homeowners who want to add a touch of sophistication to their living space.

One of the primary benefits of installing a Murphy door is the added space it can provide. By transforming a single room into a multi-functional space, you can organize and declutter your home, creating a more streamlined and comfortable environment. For example, a hidden closet or a pantry can provide additional storage space, while a hidden bedroom or home office can accommodate guests or be used as a working area without occupying too much floor space.

Another advantage of a Murphy door is its aesthetic appeal. It can blend with your existing decor and create a stylish and cohesive look, unlike traditional doors that can stand out and disrupt the overall design. With various styles, materials, and finishes available, you can customize your Murphy door to match your interior and achieve the desired look and feel. Some of the most popular styles include bookcase, mirror, panel, and cabinet doors.

Moreover, installing a Murphy door can improve the functionality and security of your home. Since the door is concealed behind a bookshelf or a cabinet, it makes it more difficult for intruders to break in and provides an added layer of protection. Additionally, it can enhance your privacy and reduce noise, making it an ideal choice for bedrooms, home theaters, or music rooms.

Finally, a Murphy door can add value to your home. When done well, it can significantly enhance the appeal of your home and increase its resale value. It is a unique and practical feature that can set your home apart and impress potential buyers.

Overall, a Murphy door can be a smart investment, especially for those looking to optimize their living space and elevate their home design. With its numerous benefits and customizable options, it is a stylish and functional feature that can improve your quality of life and upgrade your living space.

DIY Tools and Materials for Building a Murphy Door

Now that you have decided to build your own murphy door, it is important to have the right tools and materials to bring your project to fruition. Here is a look at some of the essential tools and materials you need:


1. Measuring tools

Before you start building your murphy door, you need to measure and plan the size of the door and the space where it will be installed. A measuring tape and a level will be necessary to ensure that the door is properly installed and functions as intended.

2. Power tools

Depending on the complexity of your project, you may need a few power tools to make the process easier and more efficient. A drill, saw, and sander can make cutting, sanding, and drilling through wood easier. You may also need a jigsaw for cutting intricate designs if you want to add a decorative touch to your door.

3. Hand tools

Although power tools are essential for many DIY projects, don’t underestimate the need for basic hand tools. A hammer, screwdrivers, wood chisels, a set of wood files, and a putty knife are all essential for building a murphy door. You also may need a staple gun, wood glue, and other adhesives to hold the door together and help it function smoothly.

4. Safety gear

Safety should always come first when working with tools. Protective gear such as goggles, gloves, and a dust mask should be worn when cutting wood, sanding, and drilling to keep you safe from debris and dust.


1. Wood

Wood is the most common material used for building a murphy door. You can choose any type of wood, but a high-quality hardwood, such as oak or maple, is often a good option. The thickness of the wood should be at least 3/4 inch. Measure and cut the wood pieces according to the size of your wall opening.

2. Hinges

Hinges are an essential part of the murphy door design. You’ll need two large piano hinges to secure the door to the wall and a smaller set of hinges to support the swinging bookcase. Always choose quality hinges that will withstand your door’s weight and frequent use.

3. Locking mechanism

Although optional, a locking mechanism can add an extra layer of security to your murphy door. A simple latch or a magnetic lock can be installed to keep the door locked in place when closed.

4. Paint or stain

Once your murphy door is built, it is up to you to choose the finish that suits your style. A coat of paint or stain will help protect the wood and keep it looking great for years to come. Choose a color or finish that complements the existing decor of the room.

Building a murphy door requires some patience, attention to detail, and the right tools and materials. By following these tips and using the right tools and materials, you can create a beautiful and functional murphy door that will impress your guests and add value to your home.

Step-by-Step Guide to Building your Own Murphy Door

If you’ve ever wanted to have a hidden door in your home, then a Murphy door might be the perfect solution for you. A Murphy door is a type of bookshelf that doubles as a door, allowing you to create a secret entrance or hideaway in your home. Building your own Murphy door is a fun DIY project that anyone can do with the right tools and materials. In this guide, we’ll show you how to build your own Murphy door step-by-step.

Step 1: Measure and Plan

The first step in building your own Murphy door is to measure your doorway. Measure the width and height of your doorway so you know how big to make the door. Once you have your measurements, you can start planning out your design. You’ll need to decide on the style of door you want, as well as the type of wood you want to use. Some people like to use reclaimed wood for a more rustic look, while others opt for brand new wood for a clean and modern look.

Step 2: Cut the Wood

Once you have your design and materials, it’s time to start cutting the wood. Use a circular saw or table saw to cut the wood to the appropriate size. If you’re not comfortable using a saw, you can always have the wood cut at a hardware store before bringing it home. Once you have all the pieces cut, you can sand them down to smooth out any rough edges.

Step 3: Assembly

This is where the real fun begins. To assemble your Murphy door, you’ll need a drill, screws, hinges, and a door handle. Start by attaching the hinges to the back of the bookshelf. Make sure they are evenly spaced and level. Then, attach the other end of the hinge to the doorway. This will allow the bookshelf to swing open like a door.

Next, attach the door handle to the front of the bookshelf. You can use any type of door handle you like, but make sure it’s securely attached so you can easily open and close the door. Finally, you’ll need to attach a latch to the top of the doorframe to keep the door in place.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

With the hard work done, it’s time to add some finishing touches to your Murphy door. You can paint the door to match the rest of your home or add some decorative trim. Some people like to add a hidden lock to their door for added security.

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can even add some built-in lighting to your bookshelf. This will not only add an extra element of surprise to your door, but it can also make your space feel more cozy and inviting.

Final Thoughts

Building your own Murphy door is a great way to add some personality to your home while also creating a hidden entrance or hideaway. With some basic woodworking skills and the right tools and materials, anyone can build their own Murphy door. Just remember to measure twice and cut once, and you’ll be on your way to having your very own secret bookshelf door.

Customizing Your Murphy Door: Design Inspiration and Ideas

If you’re looking for a unique way to add some functionality and style to your home, a Murphy door is a great option. Not only are they functional and space-saving, but they also add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any room. One of the best things about Murphy doors is that you can customize them to fit your own personal style and design preferences. Here are some design inspiration and ideas to get you started.

1. Bookshelf Murphy Door: A bookshelf Murphy door is an excellent option if you want to add some personality and charm to your home. You can design the bookshelf to match the existing décor of your room or choose a color that stands out and serves as a statement piece.

You can also add some decorative elements to the bookshelf, such as picture frames or small figurines. This type of Murphy door is perfect for a home office, library, or even a living room, as it gives you easy access to your favorite books and room hidden storage.

2. Mirror Murphy Door: Mirrors are a staple in modern home decor, and a Murphy door that doubles as a full-length mirror is a great way to combine these two elements. You can choose to have the door blend in with the wall entirely or add a decorative trim to it.

With a mirror Murphy door, you don’t have to take up extra space with a separate mirror, making it an ideal option for a smaller bedroom or dressing room.

3. Pet Murphy Door: If you’re a pet owner, a Murphy door with a built-in pet entrance is an excellent idea. Not only will it make your life easier when letting your pet in and out of the room, but it also adds a personal and fun touch to the space.

You can customize the pet entrance to match the size of your pet and choose a design that matches the rest of your room. This type of Murphy door is perfect for a home office, bedroom, or even a backyard patio.

4. Hidden Room Murphy Door: A hidden room Murphy door is a fantastic option if you want to create a secret space in your home. You can create a hidden room behind a bookshelf, a mirror, or even a wall panel. The possibilities are endless.

For example, you can build a hidden room that serves as a home theater, a game room, or even a private lounge. You can customize the hidden room to include your favorite décor pieces and add a comfortable couch and a few bookshelves to the space.

Overall, customizing your Murphy door is an excellent way to add a bit of personality and style to your home. Whether you choose a bookshelf, mirror, pet entrance, or hidden room Murphy door, you’ll find that it’s a functional and elegant addition to any room.

Tips and Tricks for Installing Your Murphy Door with Efficiency and Precision

DIY and home improvement projects are fun and rewarding. Installing a Murphy door in your home is an excellent way to add space, elegance, and functionality. The instruction manuals and video tutorials make it easy to get started, but here are some tips and tricks to help you install your Murphy door with efficiency and precision.

1. Plan Ahead

The key to a successful Murphy door installation project is planning ahead. Before you start, create a checklist of all the tools and materials you’ll need. Some essential tools you will require include drills, a stud finder, clamps, a screwdriver set, and a saw. You’ll also need accessories such as door hinges, door handles, screws, and nuts for the door frame. It’s a good idea to measure your room space and calculate the door height and width before ordering the Murphy door kit. Knowing the dimensions of the room space will give you a better understanding of what type of door kit you require to install.

2. Follow the Instructions Carefully

Read the instruction manual thoroughly. Follow the installation steps carefully, taking time to understand each step. Pay attention to the orientation of the door and frame. Assemble the hardware for the door, making sure that all screws, bolts, and hinges are securely in place. When done with the installation, test the door. This will ensure that the door is opening and closing smoothly and fixing any errors before you secure the door.

3. Check the Door Frame

Before installation, ensure that the door frame is straight and level. Use a spirit level to ensure the frame is level. If the frame isn’t level, adjust it by loosening and tightening the screws until it is level. A door frame that is not level can cause the door to swing on its own, and this can cause damage to the hinges or frame of the door.

4. Locate the Studs

When installing the door frame, ensure that it is anchored into a wall stud. A wall stud provides the door with a sturdy foundation to avoid any sagging or bowing over the years. Using a stud finder, locate the stud and mark it with a pencil. Ensure that you use long screws that fit into the wall studs during installation.

5. Be Safe During Installation

Safety should always be a top priority. Wear safety gear like gloves and goggles while drilling and cutting. When installing the door, work with a partner to ensure that you do not exceed the recommended weight limit for installing the door. The door’s weight should always be evenly distributed at all times to avoid any accidents that might cause injury or damage to the door. Before installation, make sure all your tools are properly maintained and in good working condition.

In conclusion, installing a Murphy door can be a fun and exciting project. By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to complete the installation process with ease and precision. Remember to always keep safety in mind when working on your Murphy door project.

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