See how a couple saved thousands on this Narnia-inspired wardrobe – it’s genius!

You'd never even know it was there
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  • Now there’s nothing new about a storage cupboard, but when that cupboard is set in a living room with a secret door disguised as a bookcase, then we’re all eyes and ears!

    This clever DIY secret storage cupboard was the idea of DIYer and author of website Ohsokel, Kelly Harmer, who was desperate for more storage space in the new-build house she shares with her husband and two daughters.
    ‘Our family room is very long and thin with the entrance in the middle, so it’s always been tricky to make it feel cosy and balanced,’ she says. ‘Squaring off the room by taking some space for a shoe and coat storage cupboard was a really great way to achieve this while providing much-needed storage, as is often lacking in new-builds.’
    Having originally been quoted around £3,000 by builders, for a design that meant their radiator and console/mirror wall in the hallway would be lost, the couple decided to try their hand at making the cupboard themselves.

    ‘We built a stud wall and put the access door inside the living room,’ says Kel. ‘However, we didn’t want there to be a door breaking up the wall, so we had this idea to create a “Narnia” cupboard by creating what looks like a built-in unit around the TV.’

    DIY secret storage cupboard

    Before

    Image credit: Kelly Harmer

    ‘Originally, our TV was at the other end of the room,’ says Kel, ‘so we switched the sofa and TV ends around to fit the new design.’

    Building a stud wall

    Image credit: Kelly Harmer

    Sectioning off part of the room for the new cupboard was the first step, before building a frame and stud wall. The opening for the cupboard doorway was also built into the design.

    Building the bookcases

    Image credit: Kelly Harmer

    Once the stud wall was up, it was time to make it look like a living room again. ‘Rather than spending a fortune on custom-built units, we bought two Billy bookcases from IKEA and then built around them,’ says Kelly.
    ‘We cut the back of the right-hand bookcase in half to allow for the double door opening, which gives access to the secret cupboard. We also made the bench seating underneath the TV – it lifts up to give us even more storage.’

    Adding storage

    Image credit: Kelly Harmer

    Inside the cupboard, the couple added large units with shelves and hooks. You can see it starting to take shape – it’s narrow, but the perfect space for hiding away all the family’s coats, boots, and shoes.

    After

    Image credit: Kelly Harmer

    The finished result is seamless – you’d never know that that bookcase was in fact a door to a hidden cupboard, would you? ‘We even added textured linen-look wallpaper to the backs of the bookcases, as well as the wall behind the TV,’ says Kelly.
    Get the look:

    Image credit: Kelly Harmer

    Above the bookcases, the couple made built-in boxes to give it a bespoke look, with gold-effect lights that emphasise the bookcases at night. ‘I love how we’ve gained storage without compromising on the look and balance of our family room. As a result of squaring off the room we’ve actually ended up with a cosier space, which we love.’

    Image credit: Kelly Harmer

    Looking out from the doorway, you can see the other side of the living room, with Kelly’s beautiful blue sofa and boho-inspired accessories that she sells from her own online shop. You can also see, on the left, the shelves on the other side of the door. You can see more of Kelly’s home on Instagram.

    ‘I think it cost around £750 in total,’ says Kelly. ‘Much better than the £3,000 we were quoted!’

    Are you inspired to build your own hidden storage cupboard?

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