I've got a door to nowhere- come on inside....
September 6, 2012 8:06 PM   Subscribe

I bought a house with a door to nowhere. I'd like ideas of what to put on the other side of the door.

The previous owner remodeled the area on the other side of the door and just slapped up some plywood instead of removing the door & frame and re-plastering the wall. It's on an interior wall, so I'm not losing heat or anything, and my contractor could not find any reason to recommend getting rid of it. The depth of the "closet" is as deep as a doorknob, 2-3 inches or so. We're thinking of obtaining some large, door-sized posters of..... what?

We thought of the inside of The TARDIS or maybe a Roadrunner tunnel. Ideally, I'd like to be able to change what is behind the door based on my whims (so no paying someone to paint a fancy trompe l'oeil on the plywood when I'm just going to get bored with it in a few months).

Brilliant MeFites: What would you do with a door to nowhere?

Bonus: Who makes giant custom posters?
posted by dogmom to Home & Garden (51 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I would paint a perspective view of a very long hallway. So that if you stood back and closed one eye, it looked real.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:10 PM on September 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Trompe-l'œil - I'd maybe go with the yellow brick road into the emerald city or hogwarts or something. The options are kind of limitless.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:10 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

A different possibility is a monster getting ready to spring out.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:11 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, I wish I had a picture - my coworker, on his way out, put a relevant photo from Being John Malkovich behind such a door.
posted by ftm at 8:12 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

A mirror, a la Alice through the Looking Glass.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:12 PM on September 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

Idea: A revolving series of big text posters, cheaply printed off whenever you get bored:

posted by Tomorrowful at 8:12 PM on September 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Try wall mural wallpaper... the possibilities are endless.
posted by patheral at 8:15 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Narnia or a Weeping Angel.
posted by MsMolly at 8:19 PM on September 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

Definitely a mirror. But maybe something non-breakable because people will walk into it. And then, when you get tired of that, just drywall over the thing. My goodness!
posted by amanda at 8:22 PM on September 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Could you put up a picture of a smaller doorway Alive in Wonderland style.
posted by wwax at 8:27 PM on September 6, 2012

Beaten to Malkovich but

- wood shelves, paper back books (I did this)

- video gamey screen, LOADING WORLD 1-1, PLEASE WAIT

- video game screen, INSERT COIN AND PRESS START

- acutial thin tv to which vid games are hooked up

- the view of Boos room from monsters inc

- a mirror painted view of the room the person is in but upside down

- rig up with flashing lights & horns & a sign proclaiming congrats to the 1,000,000th visitor

- thin shelves stocked with tinned food wrapped in GENERIC style wrappers from Repo Man

- Phone booth (with phone)

- rig with curtain & painting of outdoor scenes (sunny, mountains, seashore) & change out scene (posters?) & matching ambiance sounds

- rig with LCD that streams webcams from around world

- rig with curtain & frame to pop into popcorn stand, puppet theatre, beach changer cabana

- rig with fold out table
posted by tilde at 8:30 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Can't you stack like 200 ping pong balls, or rubber spiders (or both) back there? Leave it as a surprise for nosy or confused guests.
posted by hermitosis at 8:30 PM on September 6, 2012 [18 favorites]

posted by tilde at 8:32 PM on September 6, 2012 [12 favorites]

fill it with toy snakes!
posted by elizardbits at 8:34 PM on September 6, 2012

Paint the back wall with chalkboard paint, and leave a piece of chalk hanging there from a string. Periodically check and look for messages.
posted by hermitosis at 8:35 PM on September 6, 2012 [20 favorites]

Dang hermitosis beat me to it. Charkboard paint and colorful chalk, for the win. Oh the creativity you'll see!
posted by anitanita at 8:40 PM on September 6, 2012

Life-size Elvis poster.

Also, print your own posters on your printer at BlockPosters.com
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:48 PM on September 6, 2012

"76% Loaded ... Please Wait ..." with appropriate loading graphic. WHAT IS LOADING? YOU WILL NEVER KNOW.


I think you should get big sheets of sturdy whatever, cut them to size, and give them to your friends to decorate for the Door To Nowhere, in any way they choose. You'll probably get a ton of clever, cute, amazing, stupid, etc., options to swap out. Like maybe one friend has their five-year-old draw full-sized crayon monsters, and another friend creates a video game platformer in progress, and another one paints a desert island ...
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:49 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Jim Morrison?

The Doors took their name from the title of Aldous Huxley's book The Doors of Perception (a reference to the unlocking of doors of perception through psychedelic drug use). Huxley's own title was a quotation from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in which Blake wrote: "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite." - via
posted by argonauta at 8:50 PM on September 6, 2012


Or a teeny tiny door at the bottom, much like Alice might have found in wonderland.
posted by Kololo at 8:50 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

How about a fake cave entrance? a la Wile E. Coyote?
posted by special-k at 8:51 PM on September 6, 2012

I've just today seen a photo of a similar door. That door's owner put signs on like so:

Outside: MORDOR

Inside: You don't just walk into Mordor.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:51 PM on September 6, 2012 [16 favorites]

You could do it up so that it looked like something from Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Or you could paint an obviously-fake door. Or how about a skeleton in the closet? You could even rig it up to play spooky music when it's opened. Or paint a window with a fake view. Or a fake fancy room. Or a staircase. Or a picture or (getting pricey) video clip of people training like in Wayne's World. Or it could open to a "cliff" dropoff. Man, you could do anything!

I really like the idea, above, of rigging it so that it changes every time you open the door.
posted by windykites at 8:51 PM on September 6, 2012

Mordor door.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:54 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think you should rig a pop-up monster that jumps out at people who dare to open the door (triggered by the door opening, of course).
posted by sadmadglad at 8:56 PM on September 6, 2012

Ooh! Or you could have a painting of sandworms ready to attack!
posted by windykites at 8:56 PM on September 6, 2012 [6 favorites]

Halloween is coming. Can you hack some decorations so when it's opened, one of those fake hand things seems to grab the door shut with a terrible scream? Juleps if you put a curtain & fake looking window on the outside (& change knob to exterior door hardware) so it looks like an outdoor exit.

If the room stays cold enough, slim shelves & make it a canning pantry.

Keep hardware rig in it for indoor clothes line.
posted by tilde at 9:09 PM on September 6, 2012

Invite all your friends over and take a high-res photo of everyone peeping their heads around a door frame. Take it to a print shop to get it printed out door-size, then paste that up in the spot. Then, whenever folks open the door, they'll get to see everyone staring back at them!
posted by phunniemee at 9:17 PM on September 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

I don't know why, but patheral's link eventually led me to all the cat/kitten decals on that site, and I imagined plastering the wall behind the door with kittens, cleverly arranged so that they appear to be stacked one on top of another.
posted by brina at 9:46 PM on September 6, 2012

Brick it up from top to bottom. About waste high, put a mail slot. Wedge a dinner plate in there.
posted by brownrd at 9:48 PM on September 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

A mural of space/stars, overlaid with the perspective of peering over the edge of the world, & the turtles all the way down.
posted by tilde at 9:50 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

A winter forest and lamp post a la Narnia.
posted by tamitang at 9:56 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you google wall murals, you can find all sorts of neat stuff, but it's liable to be rather expensive changing them out frequently.

Could you live with posters? They're reasonably cheap and you can get them just about everywhere--music stores, movie theaters, Wal-mart.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:57 PM on September 6, 2012

I think the fold-out table is an awesome idea, like a table version of a murphy bed.
posted by Joh at 10:11 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'd paint another door on it.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 11:18 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Fake brickwork, overlaid with art from a talented local graffiti artist.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:51 PM on September 6, 2012

If I was feeling whimsical I'd paint it white except for a little gnome door at the bottom. (You can buy them at the craft store.) I'd also rig a little window with frosted glass at the appropriate height and put a little LED light behind it so it looked like someone was home. (The light would be switched on when the door was opened.)

If I was into mischief I'd take some burgundy paint/fake blood splatter it on some old rags and and old axe, wad them up and stick them behind the door. Wait... possibly years... for someone to ask what's behind the door. I'd say "I don't know, I've never been able to get it open." and wait for them to give the knob a turn.

BUT since I've actually had a one of these, I feel I need to point out: It's not a door to nowhere. You have a 3" deep closet!

Put pegboard in there. You'd be amazed how many things are less than 3" thick and need to be stored out of the way. Mine was full of tools and was literally a broom closet.
posted by Ookseer at 11:53 PM on September 6, 2012 [6 favorites]

A waterfall?
posted by islander at 12:40 AM on September 7, 2012

I would buy a life-sized cardboard cutout of someone and rig it up so when you open the door they lean out and when you close it they go back. You can rotate through different cutouts, and it gets the maximum use out of the surprise element.
posted by 23 at 2:18 AM on September 7, 2012

A giant eye, like the T-Rex eye from Jurrasic Park looking in the window (maybe that was the second one). Floor to ceiling, yellow with veins, lizard vertical slit of black. Focused tightly on the space a foot past the door. Bonus points for a sound file that plays when the door is open with the hunter saying "clever girl."
posted by Ghidorah at 2:57 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

So many great ideas! Thank you! How in the world I didn't think about Narnia is beyond me- I must've read those books a hundred times when I was a kid. And Monster's Inc is my favorite Pixar movie- didn't even occur to me to do Boo's room.

Definitely doing the spiders/snakes/ping-pong balls (perhaps all three) for the housewarming party- if remodeling stays on schedule, we'll move in right around Halloween. Ooh! And snakes reminds me- I need to find/print a poster of where they're keeping the Ark!

I like the murphy table idea, but if that door is open, the front door won't open (I think that nowhere used to be a coat closet), so I don't think the table would get much use.

I'm also going to take brina's stacked kittens idea, but use pictures of John Malkovich instead.

The mirror got me thinking... the kitchen is on the other side of that wall, so if I can get the angle right, I may use MexicanYenta's fabulous link to print up a poster of the kitchen so it looks like you can just walk through to it.

when you get tired of that, just drywall over the thing. Oh no! This door was a big selling point for me! I may not be able to have a house with a real secret room, but dammit, I can have a pretend secret room!
posted by dogmom at 6:01 AM on September 7, 2012 [12 favorites]

I'd do a nice altar. You have just enough depth for icons and beads, and crystals and whatnot. But I'm witchy like that.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:30 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

There's a kitchen on the other side? Put a hole through that "door" wall and a box on the top side of the door at counter height for a built in spice cabinet on that side. On the bottom half of the door side, Malkovich / Alice / Fairey door. Or rig up with music and print a series of posters for the smaller inset ala Get Smart entrance.
posted by tilde at 6:54 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Make it so it appears to be a brick wall, but not quite finished, a row or two of bricks short of the top, maybe one partially-completed row.

Rig up the door so that when it's opened, you hear a man say, "For the love of God, Montressor!"
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:54 AM on September 7, 2012 [7 favorites]

Corkboard mural, so you can rotate the jokes?
posted by Tom-B at 7:41 AM on September 7, 2012

posted by Sunburnt at 8:26 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Btw, I would love for a built in spice cabinet in my kitchen. Actually, depending on where the "door" is relative to the kitchen, I might have a few shelves for spices, and one "sticking out" into the kitchen for cookbooks.
posted by tilde at 9:30 AM on September 7, 2012

Brick it up and on the inside of the door write "For the love of God, Montresor!"
posted by Turkey Glue at 10:01 AM on September 7, 2012

Probably too expensive to pull off, but I remember the old Muppet Babies cartoon had it so that whenever they opened a door they'd get random perilous stock footage (freight train coming straight at them, etc)
posted by ckape at 10:46 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

er, late to the party, but I didn't see him mentioned elsewhere.. is Sulley too mainstream for this place? cos that'd be pretty awesome too.
posted by lonefrontranger at 12:28 PM on September 7, 2012

Frank Zappa!
posted by BlueHorse at 4:53 PM on September 7, 2012

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