The Most Practical Place for a Secret Door Is in Your Kitchen

This walk-in pantry idea is gaining traction.
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Hidden pantry door in light tan

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The biggest kitchen trend isn’t sage green cupboards or two-tone subway tile backsplashes—it’s making the room look nothing like a kitchen. One way everyone has been achieving a seamless aesthetic is with panel-ready refrigerators, meaning fridges for which the facades are customized to match the rest of the room’s built-in cabinetry. Celebrities like Jenna Lyons and Hilary Duff and designers such as Martyn Lawrence Bullard support the sneaky camouflage. But covering up the bulky stainless steel appliance with colored laminate or white oak isn’t your only option. Consider hiding your walk-in pantry, too.

A sliding barn door or a plain white hinged one with a single round knob is a dead giveaway that this is a pantry. But make the entrance nearly indistinguishable from the rest of the cabinets around it, and the closet will blur into the background. Here are six benefits to hiding your pantry in plain sight. 

It Keeps the Visual Clutter to a Minimum

white secret door
Photography by Dionel Fisher; Design by KLH

When you’ve splurged on custom cabinets, it can be painful to chop up that nice flow you’ve created with a pantry entrance. Some extra hardware and a little trim offer cohesion. Liz Hoekzema of KLH Custom Homes went so far as to mimic the look of the adjacent drawers and uppers in this all-white kitchen—and the optical illusion totally works. 

You Won’t Constantly Hear About Snack Time

beige cabinetry
Photo Courtesy of Whittney Parkinson Design

An unexpected pro of a secret pantry? “My child couldn’t beg for snacks every three minutes,” shares designer Whittney Parkinson. Out of sight, out of mind, right? It might not be ideal for first-time guests who are trying to figure out where you keep the cashews, but for everyday family life, it means fewer distractions. 

It Streamlines a Tiny City Apartment

subway tile door
Photography by Nick Glimenakis; Design by Delia Kenza

This works magic for reach-in pantries in tiny galley kitchens, too. Brooklyn-based designer Delia Kenza pulled the trick off in this space by continuing the classic subway tile backsplash onto the wall and over the push-to-open doors. It’s a sweet surprise, especially if it ends with you snagging a cookie.

It Can Also Store Appliances

Gif of hidden pantry door going open and closed
Photography by Dan Ryan; Codesign by Lauren at MDF Development; Costyling by June Muse

A hidden pantry isn’t just for snacks. Designer Brittany Swigart of Maeve Design Collective used the one in this Scottsdale, Arizona, kitchen to store additional appliances such as the microwave. The swing door, along with all the cabinets, got covered in Benjamin Moore’s Accessible Beige, an all-too-appropriate name. “We loved how the hidden door was a cohesive extension of the appliance wall and created an uninterrupted visual,” Swigart says.

It Can Introduce New Colors

Blue kitchen with white hidden pantry
Courtesy of Studio McGee

You’re basically creating a whole new room, so why not have fun with it? Although the cabinets and door of this Shea McGee–designed ranch may be swathed in Sherwin-Williams’s Gray’s Harbor, there’s another secret behind the pantry door: a room that’s all white, a fun bright contrast to the kitchen’s moodier shade.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Huge

Light gray kitchen with hidden pantry door open to show extra storage
Photography by Joyelle West; Courtesy of Twelve Chairs Interiors

You don’t need a ton of extra room to add a hidden pantry to your home. Even though the secret space in this New England house, designed by Twelve Chairs Interiors, is just 14 square feet, it adds a whopping 40 linear feet of storage.

Lydia Geisel Avatar

Lydia Geisel

Home Editor

Lydia Geisel has been on the editorial team at Domino since 2017. Today, she writes and edits home and renovation stories, including house tours, before and afters, and DIYs, and leads our design news coverage. She lives in New York City.