How to add doors to bookcases

Updated November 21, 2016

A full bookcase is a happy bookcase, but sometimes you do not want everyone to see what exactly you are reading. Your stash of Mills & Boon paperbacks should stay your little secret, but that means hiding what is in your bookcase. An easy way to hide your books is by adding a door. With a few simple steps, you can add a door to your bookcase and keep your little secret between you and the bookshop clerk.

Check over your bookcase. Are the shelves flush with the front of the frame or are they recessed enough to accept a piece of wood being put in front of them? This will affect your measurements.

Measure for your door. If you can recess the door, measure from the inside of your frame. Lengthwise: Bottom of the top of your frame to the top of your lowest shelf or the top of your kick plate. Width from inside edge to inside edge, leaving a little space for the hinges. Also measure the depth of the recess so you get your door the correct thickness. If you are going to hang the door on the outside of the frame, measure lengthwise from the top of the frame to the bottom of the lowest shelf, then width from outside edge to outside edge.

Buy your materials. Try your lumber yard to find a wood that matches the bookcase or coordinates with other furniture. Piano hinges and a door handle/knob can be picked up from your local hardware store. If you cannot find wood to match your bookcase, considering staining. Stained wood should be allowed to dry completely before you attach your handle or hang your door.

Hang your door. Mark and drill your pilot holes for your screws, then screw your hinges to the door before attaching the door to the bookshelf. Put on the knob/handle of your choice.


It is best to have two people when you hang your door. If that is not an option, consider taping the door into place so that you can screw the door onto your bookcase frame. Painter's tape is strong enough to work in the short term and does little damage to wood finishes. Check with your local lumber yard or hardware store to see if it will cut the door to your measurements. You may be able to find cabinet doors at your hardware store that will fit your bookcase.


Go slow with the power drill to avoid cracking your wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Power drill
  • Screws
  • Knob/handle
  • Door material
  • Pivot hinges
  • Stain (optional)
  • Measuring tape
  • Table saw (if necessary)
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About the Author

Amanda Bell spent six years working as an interior designer and project coordinator before becoming a professional writer in 2010. She has published thousands of articles for various websites and clients, specializing in home renovation, DIY projects, gardening and travel. Bell studied English composition and literature at the University of Boston and the University of Maryland.