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Family Room Built-In: The Tools That Made it Easier

This post is sponsored by The Home Depot.
White built-in  unit with tv in family room

Hey guys,

Thank you so much for all your kind words on my last post! This built-in unit was a project that kept me very busy all November and into the first weeks of December. During the holidays I felt awful because everything looked like a mess without the doors. - Ha, they were installed last week and I'm so happy how this project has improved the entire aesthetic of this room.

Anyhow, today's post is all about the tools I used during this project. And I have to begin by telling you, that you can build a unit like this with some basic tools... A saw, a square, hammer, nails, etc. But, it's gonna take you way more than two months and lots of effort to build it that way.

I'm going to point out the tools I used for this build, but have in mind that you don't necessarily need all those tools. As a member of the Home Depot ProSpective tool review program, I get to test lots of tools and that's why I put them to good use during my builds.

So let's begin here, when the room was emptied I went ahead and removed the picture frame moldings that were installed like 15 years ago!

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A utility knife, some wood shims, and a pry bar were the tools for that task.

I also removed the baseboards which was a pain because the hardwood floors were installed without removing the baseboards so, they were buried all along the wall and the floorboards. 😠

pry bar and lots of wood shims were the main tools here, but there were some spots where I had to cut the nails that were holding the baseboards to the wall with my Dremel Multi-tool, it was the only tool that fit in that small space! This is the tool that always gets me out of a tight corner. 👍
Dremel oscillating multi tool kit
DREMEL Multi-Max 3.5 Oscillating Multi-Tool

The room was emptied and with measurements at hand, I headed over to the Home Depot to get the materials.  I don't have a table saw, so I always ask the guys at HD to cut the big sheets of plywood for me. Besides, I can't even handle entire sheets of plywood! 

For this project to proceed smoothly, it would've been great to have a table saw at home. I'm now thinking of buying one, and I'm considering this one HERE.

At home, the longboards were cut to size with a circular saw equipped with a Diablo Tool blade and the Kreg Rip-Cut, which is nice to use when doing repetitive cuts.
Circular saw with Diablo tools blade
DIABLO 6-1/2 x 60T Ultra Finish Saw Blade  |  DIABLO 6-1/2 x 24T Demo Demon Saw Blade
Having the right blade for your project makes a huge difference!
Cristina Garay using DeWalt circular saw and diablo blades
DeWalt Cordless Circular Saw

Once the material was cut to size, it was time to assemble everything.
The base cabinets were built with pocket hole joinery, the Kreg jig.
On the upper shelves, the screws were driven in from the side and into the shelves.
All those pre-drills and screws were driven in with the DeWalt Cordless/Brushless Drill/Driver and Impact combo kit. Two tools with two batteries and a charger.
DIY Built-in unit being built
DeWalt Cordless/Brushless Drill/Driver and Impact combo kit
I like the size of this DeWalt drill/driver and impact combo, it runs on the small side, perfect for my hand.
The batteries have a long life and they charge quite fast.

I also like the dual-port charger with two USB ports for faster-charging batteries.

Installing everything in place was done by securing every shelf to one another and the wall, making sure everything was level.
A laser level is a great tool to have for this step, but a regular level is also a tool you'll need at hand as well as a good amount of clamps.
Ryobi Cordless brushless drill driver - Bosch self leveling cross line laser

For installing the header supports and front top boards I used the RIDGID 15-Gauge Angled Finish Nailer paired up with the RIDGID Portable Electric Quiet Air Compressor.  All I have to say is... What a combo!!
DIY - Built-in entertainment unit in family room #tools

I have to tell you that this combo has more power than what I needed. This is probably what a contractor would need for heavy-duty jobs.

The Ridgid angled nailer has this CleanDrive technology that allows you 17x more consecutive perfect drives.
DIY - Built-in entertainment unit in family room

The compressor is quieter than the one I've been using for years, but still, it's not silent. It pumps up fast and I like how it has a changeable air intake filter, that will make the pump life longer.

One of the features I like the most is that it has two universal push-to-connect couplers, so you can use two tools at the same time.
As I said, this is way more than what I needed for this job. For the trim work, I had to complete all over the built-in unit, I continued to use my trusty cordless RYOBI 18-Gauge Brad Nailer.

Opening holes in the counter for the tv cables to run down the base cabinets were done with the power of this RIDGID hammer drill/driver, this drill is solid, powerful!
It went through the two layers of plywood, MDF, like butter.
RIDGID 18-Volt OCTANE Cordless/Brushless 1/2" Hammer Drill/Driver

Now, this 19 piece Bosch DareDevil spade bit set is a must-have. I like the pouch they come with and keep them secured, but working with these bits is no trouble at all, they go thru the wood fast and make clean holes.
DIY - Built-in entertainment unit in family room
 Many painting tools were also used, but the most important ones were the Wagner Home Decor paint sprayer, sanding sponges and the Ridgid wed/dry vac to clean up all the dust.
WAGNER Home Decor paint sprayer

Last but not least, a good pair of gloves was a necessity throughout this project!
These are my current favorites: The Firm Grip Trade Master Duck Canvas Glove.
The heavy-duty duck canvas, the impact protection, the fact that you can wash them and they dry quickly without stiffness makes them an awesome buy! Oh, and they're touchscreen compatible and only $9.97. ;)
DIY - Built-in entertainment unit in family room
FIRM GRIP Trade Master Duck Canvas Glove
Well, my friends, that was a whole lot of tools, or as I call them, a good investment for all the projects we need to tackle around the house! ;)

This is a picture I captured when I was cleaning this space and was about to start the painting process.
Yep. It looked like a shop!

And yes, I felt like a BOSS! :D
Cristina Garay with #dewalt circular saw #firmgrip gloves and #diablotools blade

Here's the before and after of this big project, with the room the way it was used before, then, while in the middle of the painting process, and finally the after.
Before and after of family room with built-in
family room with white entertainment center, tv and shelves

Here are the links to all the work done for this built-in project:

I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the promotional program described above (the “Program”). As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

*This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. I just tried to post a comment asking if you can add the ability to zoom in on your photos but I don't think it went through. I love your blog and I think you're amazing!

    1. Thank you so much!! Yes, I think you can zoom on each picture, but overall, it depends on how you go about it and the system you're using.

  2. I'm just in awe of your ability to envision and then create this amazing wall unit! I absolutely love it!

    1. I really appreciate your always kind words, thank you! 💓

  3. I keep thinking of trying to do things like this, then chicken out. When you do your shelves are they all adjustable? how do you get the holes to level up?

    1. Hi Arlene, nope. the shelves are fixed. You need to measure well. For adjustable shelves there are jigs that you can make or buy to help you set the holes where they need to be.

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