Most bedroom doors don’t have a reliable lock that you can operate from the outside. However, there are situations when you need to lock your bedroom door to keep prying eyes out.
Fortunately, in most cases, you don’t need to call a locksmith as there are many simple ways and tricks to securely lock your bedroom door from the outside.
In fact, the methods that I’m about to show you are regularly used with success by many of my clients and friends.
And in this article, I’m going to show you the best portable, temporary and permanent solutions available to lock your bedroom door.
Let’s get started!
1. Add a Padlock to Your Bedroom Door
While using a padlock to secure a room door from the outside is a pretty old-school method, it definitely works.
Now, you might think that using a padlock is an unsightly solution. Well, it can be but it doesn’t have to be. It all depends on the implementation.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this method work:
- padlock hasp
- power drill (not always required)
- marker pen or pencil to mark the screw holes
In a nutshell, the process is the following:
- First, make sure you buy a hasp of the right size that suits your bedroom door (for example, this one looks pretty good)
- Before installation, you have to check if the hasp fits right on the closed door.
- In most cases, the mounting plate should be installed on the door frame while the hinged locking arm is mounted on the door.
- Next, mark the screw holes.
- Drill pilot holes to prevent the wood from splitting when you install the screws.
- Mount both parts of the hasp on the door and the frame using a screwdriver.
Now your door is ready to be used with a padlock. From start to finish the whole process takes about 15-20 minutes (less if you’re an experienced DIYer).
Keep in mind that as you have to mount the hasp with screws, the door won’t remain untouched. Therefore, if you’re a tenant and you’re not allowed to do any kind of modification in the apartment, you’re probably better off choosing another solution to avoid conflicts with the landlord.
However, you can use several methods to fill the holes up later, if necessary. I regularly use wood fillers to make holes disappear, but often you can get pretty nice results with epoxy fillers or wood plugs as well.
Let’s see the main advantages and disadvantages of using a padlock.
- it’s an effective yet affordable DIY solution to lock a room door without a lock
- installation is simple and can be done in just a few minutes
- you don’t have to make any changes to the existing lock (if there’s any)
- a padlock serves as an effective visual deterrent
- it works with both outward and inward opening doors
- the result can be ugly when the implementation is poor
- you have to drill holes into the door
- the door can be locked from the outside by anyone using a padlock (or even wires), in which case you won’t be able to open the door from the inside
To sum up, using a padlock to lock a bedroom door from the outside is not my favorite method. However, I do know at least a dozen people who successfully used this approach to keep their flatmates out of their private rooms.
Keep in mind that you should never lock any door that’s an emergency exit.
2. Use a Doorknob Lock-Out Device to Lock a Bedroom Door Without a Lock
A doorknob lock-out device is a quite creative tool. It offers a hassle-free solution for anyone who needs to secure their room from the outside.
It can be an ideal choice for tenants and anyone who needs a quick and simple way to lock an interior door from the outside.
How does it work?
It’s simple: a doorknob lock-out device, such as this one from Prime-Line, prevents the knob from turning. And this is how it blocks entry.
It comes with a key that allows you to lock the device to prevent any unauthorized person from accessing the knob.
So when you leave your bedroom, all you have to do is place the device over the knob and lock it. It’s that easy.
Here’s how it looks:
I think this portable device can be a reasonable choice if you need a simple and temporary solution to restrict access to your room. For example, I know many college students who use a similar product to improve bedroom door security.
It allows you to lock most interior doors with a doorknob from the outside within just a few seconds. This way you can keep your belongings relatively safe, even if someone has a master key.
Also, the lock can be removed quickly and easily and the original condition of the door can be restored in no time.
Before buying, don’t forget to check the dimensions of the selected model to make sure it will fit the doorknob in your bedroom.
FYI – This security device will only work with doorknobs (so for levers you need another solution).
- it allows you to put a lock on your bedroom door without drilling and screwing
- costs only a few bucks
- works with outswing doors as well (make sure you check out this guide if you want to secure an outward opening door)
- the key is not unique and as a consequence, anyone who owns the same model will have access to yours as well, and vice versa
- it doesn’t work with levers
- the cylinder could be of better quality
- in most cases, it will keep your flatmates out, but it won’t really withstand brute force attacks (if that’s a concern for you, check out this article on how to make a door kick-proof)
3. Secure Your Bedroom Door With X-Lock
X-Lock is a security device designed to lock and secure internal doors from the outside. Unfortunately, chances are good that it’s not available in your local hardware store as it’s not a widespread gadget but you can order it online, of course.
Two different models of X-Lock exist. One that works with a padlock and one that comes with a locking knob. I recommend that you opt for the latter one as that’s easier to use.
How does the X-Lock prevent entry?
It’s a portable lock that consists of two main parts.
When you leave the room you have to slide one part under the door and that one stays on the inside of the door (it’s the wedge-shaped part). The other part containing the locking knob goes on the outside (this is the part that can be locked with the included key).
Simply put, the device helps you place a wedge on the inside while you’re outside the room. So, it’s very similar to a door wedge, but a little more sophisticated.
Here’s a short video that demonstrates how the device works:
Note that you won’t be able to use the gadget if there is less than 1/6 inch (approx. 4 mm) of space under the door.
According to the manufacturer, this door lock works on both hard floors and carpets. It can be used to secure not only bedroom doors but other interior doors (such as doors at a workplace) as well.
I consider the X-Lock as an alternative to the previously mentioned doorknob lock-out device with a few differences. On the one hand, its activation takes slightly more time, but on the other hand, it doesn’t require a knob to work.
- portable but the device itself is quite big, thus not ideal for travel purposes
- can be quickly removed without damaging the door
- works with outward opening doors
- for some people, it might be a little cumbersome to use
- it’s not a well-known brand and not much information about the manufacturer is available (I suggest you contact the seller before buying)
- some parts of the lock are sharp
Tip: If you want to improve bedroom door security, make sure you also check out this article for some useful tips.
4. Install a Keypad Bedroom Door Lock: a Secure Keyless Solution
Using a keypad door lock is a stylish and convenient way of securing any interior door from the outside and improving privacy without having to use a key.
Actually, there are countless possibilities when it comes to keypad locks. They’re available even in the form of smart locks.
I’ve had the most success with keypad door knob locks (such as this popular model) as they’re pretty simple to install and operate.
Installation usually takes less than 30 minutes: often you just have to replace the existing doorknob with the new keypad doorknob. If they have the same dimensions, in most cases all you need is a screwdriver.
While it can be very tempting to use a keyless lock, I highly recommend that you choose a model that allows you to open the door with both code and key.
Most keyless door locks are battery-operated and while they usually indicate when the battery is low, I’ve come across several cases when the battery died and the owner simply couldn’t open the door the regular way.
Rarely happens that the battery itself works fine but the keypad stops working.
Should the above-mentioned situations happen, you’ll be glad if you have a keyed backup option.
The only advantage of a non-keyed keypad lock over a keyed one is that it’s resistant to lock picking (but it’s highly unlikely that any of your housemates would pick your door’s lock).
Here’s an electronic keypad door knob lock that works with both key and code:
Make sure you opt for a model that fits your door and always check if the lock can be adjusted to the thickness of your door.
- a very convenient solution to lock a bedroom door from the outside without a key
- pretty failproof: if the keypad fails, you can use the key, if you lose the key, you can still use the keypad
- in most cases, installation is not time-consuming
- access to the bedroom is restricted to people who know the unique code
- more often than not, you can remove the lock without damaging the door when you’re moving out of the apartment or shared house
- more expensive than the previous methods
- you have to remove the existing doorknob
- if you’re a beginner DIYer, you’ll probably have to read thoroughly the manual and check out some videos as well to be able to install the product appropriately (but it’s not rocket science)
5. Replace the Existing Door Knob or Handle With a Keyed One (Without Drilling New Holes)
Most interior doors don’t come with a reliable built-in locking mechanism (probably this is the reason why you’re reading this article).
We’ve already discussed several ways you can lock a bedroom door from the outside.
However, one of the most straightforward methods is to simply replace the existing unkeyed doorknob or door handle with a keyed one that has the same design and dimensions. Of course, the keyhole should be on the outside part of the door.
Actually, I’m a big fan of this method because it’s a really elegant way of making a door lockable from the outside.
Installing a new keyed door knob is not a complicated task. If you choose the right model, you don’t even have to drill holes as you can use the existing ones.
In most cases, the only tool you’ll need is a screwdriver.
Also, you can easily put the old doorknob back in place when you move out. If you’re a tenant, I suggest you ask your landlord if it’s ok to install a new lock.
Not all keyed door knobs are the same, therefore you have to check whether the model you buy is compatible with your door.
Usually, you have to measure the diameter of the circular bore hole, the thickness of the door, and the backset (it’s the distance between the center of the bore hole and the edge of the door) and choose a knob accordingly.
While it’s true that most doorknobs are adjustable (such as this one), they still won’t fit all doors.
If you’re a visual type of person, check out this video:
- it’s a clean and elegant solution
- the bedroom door will look pretty much the same as before
- can be used to secure French doors too
- easy to operate
- while it’s true that this method relies on a latch bolt, it’s not easy to bypass (especially by roommates or guests)
- once you lose the key, you’ll probably have to call a locksmith to enter the room (unless you keep a spare key somewhere)
- you have to choose the model carefully, otherwise, it may not work with the door
- the existing knob has to be removed (thus, you’ll probably have to ask permission from the owner)
6. Use a Universal Portable Door Lock
Actually, there is not a large selection of portable door locks on the market that can be used to reinforce an interior door from the outside. It’s especially true if you need one that works with both levers and knobs.
One exception is this lock from Calslock.
It’s a simple portable device with a hook at one end and a slide lock at the other.
It consists of 3 main parts:
- a notched bar with a hook at the end
- a squeeze slide
- a keylock
Briefly, this is how it works:
As a first step, you have to insert the hook into the strike plate, then close the door, squeeze the slide lock while pushing it down the notched bar until the clamp hits the door, and finally activate the keylock. It allows you to lock your bedroom door in just a few seconds.
Important: Keep in mind that if you want to use this security device to lock a bedroom door from the outside, the door must be outward opening.
While this portable door lock is not cheap, it can be an ideal choice for those who need a quick and simple temporary solution.
It can also be used as a travel lock, therefore it’s useful for Airbnb where strangers might have access to your room as well.
While it probably won’t prevent burglars from getting inside your room, it will keep your housemates out and give you peace of mind.
Two major drawbacks of the Calslock door lock:
- it takes about 20 seconds to pull the squeeze slide off the notched bar
- as I’ve already mentioned above, it won’t allow you to lock an inward opening door with a key from the outside
7. Installing a Deadbolt Lock
When it comes to locking a bedroom door from the outside, installing a deadbolt is one of the most secure methods out there.
Compared to a latch bolt, a deadbolt is thicker and more durable and goes deeper into the frame. It’s also harder to pick.
At the same time, installation is pretty time-consuming and it requires special tools (such as a hole saw) that most tenants don’t have at hand.
Also, you need to make some modifications that cannot be undone later.
Therefore, I can’t really recommend this solution unless you ask for help from a locksmith and permission from your landlord.
8. Remove the Door Handle/Knob to Quickly Secure a Bedroom Door From the Outside
If you’re on a budget but want to reduce the chances of someone snooping around in your room while you’re away, you can simply remove the exterior handle or knob.
It’s an old and cheap security hack to lock a bedroom door without a key.
Removing the door handle will indeed improve security, however, it will also make your own life more difficult as it will take more time to open the door.
Once you get rid of the handle, you won’t be able to get inside your room unless you put it back or use special tools.
Note that this method won’t work with all types of handles and doorknobs.
9. Install an Electromagnetic Lock
Using an electromagnetic lock connected to a keypad is a pretty awesome way of locking a bedroom door.
However, it requires quite a bit of time and some experience in DIY to get an acceptable result. That’s why it’s not for everyone.
Also, you want to make sure the door can be opened from the inside even if the lock fails.
To be honest, I rarely install electromagnetic locks but I didn’t want to leave them off the list as I think they can be a great way to lock a door without a key (both from the outside and the inside).
+ 1: How to Lock a Bedroom Sliding Door From the Outside
If your bedroom door is a sliding door, this section is for you.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many options if you want to lock a sliding door from the outside.
The method that works best for me is to use a keyed sliding door lock, such as this one.
While sometimes you can convert your existing mortise lock to work with a key and certain handles will let you add a key cylinder, in most cases, you’ll need to install a new lockset.
Before buying, make sure the keyed lock will fit your sliding door. If it does, installation is pretty straightforward and does not require too much time.
You’ll find the main types of sliding door locks here.
An Alternative to Locking Your Room Door to Keep Flatmates Out
Locking your bedroom door from the outside is not the only solution if you want to prevent your housemates from getting inside while you’re away.
In many cases, installing a wifi security camera above the door or inside your room can be a really effective deterrent.
This way you’ll know for sure if someone has entered your room, and you will also have unambiguous evidence in your hands. That discourages most (but not all) people from entering their flatmate’s room.
Instead of a wifi security camera, you can use a baby monitor too.
Locking a Bedroom Door From the Outside: Wrapping It All Up
As you can see, there are multiple ways you can secure your bedroom door. Every situation is different, and you need to choose the solution that best suits your needs.
If you want to take security to the next level, use several methods in combination with each other (for instance, a portable door lock with a security cam).
When making any changes to your door, you must read and follow the local fire safety codes.
Do not lock your bedroom door if it’s an emergency exit. Never modify fire doors. And never lock any door without the permission of the owner.
If you make any modification to your bedroom door, make sure you’ll be able to open it from the inside in every situation to avoid entrapment. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out to an expert for help or advice.