Out of Sight: Popular Ways to Use Access Panels

Out of Sight: Popular Ways to Use Access Panels | Diary of a DIYer

Living up to their name, access panels provide behind-the-scenes access to the concealed areas in your walls. They’re commonly used in the building and plumbing industries, but installing one yourself is a simple DIY project.

The type of access panel you use depends on its application. Some feature hinged doors for easy access while others snap shut as a safety precaution. The latter generally needs a screwdriver to pop the panel open, so it’s best to use them in places you won’t need frequent access to.

No More Pipes

One of the most popular uses for access panels is to conceal open plumbing like shut-off valves. While access panels help with covering unsightly plumbing pipes, the access panel itself doesn’t have to look bad. Get creative! Many plastic panels are able to be painted over (or wallpapered over, if that’s more your style). Or go the extra mile and install faux wainscoting to make a wall with hidden plumbing look attractive.

Conceal a Safe

Hiding a safe behind an access panel is one extra step to keeping it secure. Choose a location that doesn’t get too much traffic – a walk-in closet might be a good spot. After cutting the hole for your access panel, add a shelf that’s sturdy enough to hold the safe. If you aren’t constantly going in and out of your safe, an access panel that snaps shut will do just the trick.

Store Cable Boxes

We can control almost every aspect of interior design. While you can control so much of your interior, electronics haven’t quite caught up to the modern stylings of home décor. Modems, routers, cable boxes: I’m looking at you. Make your own panel door out of perforated sheet metal for proper ventilation and so the remote’s signal reaches the box. No point in covering your cable box when you can’t get it to work! Plus, they’re more decorative.

Pool Maintenance Cover-Up

Some types of access panels are built to withstand the elements and can be installed in decks. If you’re a pool or hot tub owner and don’t know how to cover unattractive filters and valves, this should be music to your ears. Use an access panel to cover anything used for maintaining your pool. Make it into a full-on DIY project by adding matching pieces of wood to the panel’s door for a seamless look.


Access panels provide quick access to hard-to-reach spaces. And while they’re most commonly used in plumbing settings, you can branch out and use access panels in new and innovative ways. Installing an access panel is an easy DIY project that offers a lot of versatility. With all their different sizes and finishes, there are a lot of opportunities for customization.

Have you used access panels for something besides plumbing? Let me know in the comments below or reach out to me on Twitter!