Hidden kitchen doors: practical or a party trick?

Behind what seemingly looks like a regular kitchen cupboard can hide a completely different room – think utilities or bootrooms, walk-in pantries and wine cellars. But are these secret doors practical or just for show?

One of the perks that comes with this job is visiting showrooms and finding the best ideas for you and your project. It was during one of those trips that I became instantly enamoured with secret cabinetry doors. But are they a practical addition to your kitchen or just a show-stopping feature? I’ve asked the experts for their thoughts on this up-and-coming design idea.

Green timeless kitchen design with central island that features a circular table, wood worktop and leather bar stools.
Richmond project by Krantz Designs.
Green timeless kitchen design with hidden cabinet doors leading to a utility room.
Photography: Paul Craig.

Meant to flawlessly blend in with your kitchen cabinets, no matter the style or layout, these doors come with an unexpected twist. Once opened, they lead to a completely different room – from walk-in pantries to multi-functional utilities.

“Beyond the element of surprise and whimsy, they really add to the space,” Sinead Trainor, kitchen category manager at LochAnna Kitchens, tells me. “Integrating secret doors disguised as cabinets into kitchen designs offers a multitude of benefits, serving both an aesthetic and practical purpose by seamlessly blending functional areas into the wider kitchen layout.”

White kitchen design with small handles and green island.
Handmade Newbridge collection in Brigade and Taupe, LochAnna.
White kitchen design with small handles, green island and secret doors leading to a utility room.
Prices start from £11,510.


So, what are the benefits? Nadine Rowley, marketing manager at Nolte Kitchens UK, says concealed cabinetry doors are the perfect addition to open-plan kitchens as they help keep visual clutter to a minimum. What’s more, they suit compact kitchens by creating the illusion of more space.

“Another advantage of having a secret door is the increased privacy it offers,” says Charlie Smallbone, founder of design company Ledbury Studio. “Whether you wish to conceal a pantry, a boot room, or a secondary kitchen, a secret door can seamlessly hide these areas from view. This is particularly beneficial if you often host guests and prefer to keep the working areas of your kitchen out of sight.”

White cabinetry with slim black handles, parquet flooring and built-in appliances.
Richmond kitchen by Davonport.
White cabinetry with slim black handles and a secret entryway to the utility area.
Kitchens start from £40,000.

Ways with hidden kitchen doors

This feature allows you to conceal your small appliances, as Tom Howley, creative design director at the eponymous kitchen company, explains: “A hidden pantry is a real showstopper in the kitchen. The floor-to-ceiling doors create a sleek, seamless look. Then, when they’re opened and the furniture is revealed, the effect is breathtaking. Your non-essentials like blenders and food processors finally have a home, safely stored away from the main kitchen and its day-to-day worktop traffic.”

Green cabinetry with brass handles white worktop, central island with hold bar stool, and walk-in pantry design.
Hartford collection in Avocado, from £25,000, Tom Howley.
Modern kitchen design with wood textures, green cabinetry, slim brass handles, hold taps and built-in appliances.
Design by Sola Kitchens.
Modern kitchen design with hidden cabinet door leading to a pantry.
Kitchens start from £54,000.

Or you can add a practical utility room adjacent to your kitchen – out of sight and out of mind. However, Richard Davonport, managing director at kitchen company Davonport, encourages you to think about how you will get your large appliances, such as washers and dryers, into the room, and to ensure the doors are wide enough for them to fit through.

To avoid any hiccups, we recommend working with a professional who can tailor this feature to the specific dimensions of your space, right at the planning stage.

Blue Shaker kitchen with cabinet doors closed.
Design by Kitchens Bespoke.
Blue Shaker kitchen with cabinet doors open.
Photography: The Light Room.
Westminster Style kitchen by Herringbone.
Tall blue cabinetry with reeded glass fronts, double door fridge and central island.
Kitchens start from £35,000.
White double doors with wood detailing and handles.
Bespoke kitchen with bookmatched Eucalyptus veneer by Roundhouse.
Open white double doors with wood detailing and handles.
Kitchens start at £35,000.

Kitchen styles

From traditional Shaker to modern and handleless, when it comes to the look of your hidden kitchen doors, you can truly get creative with your design. “While the concept of secret doors may seem extravagant, they can be adapted to suit a wide range of kitchen layouts and styles,” says Sinead.

If you want the best of both worlds, secret kitchen doors are the perfect fusion of style and function. What’s not to love?

Blue shaker kitchen design with central island that feature storage, an extra sink and tap and seating space.
Shaker kitchen painted in Farrow & Ball’s Railings, from £10,000, Olive & Barr.
Close up of wine cellar.
By opening the two-door cupboard to the right of the fridge, you can enter the drinks storage area.
Neutral kitchen design with dining space and central island near the garden.
Kitchen by Nicholas Anthony. Photography: Glitch Marketing.
Neutral handleless design with walk-in pantry.
Priced from £60,000, including furniture and worktops.

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