Living Room Built In Cabinets

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Project by Will_Wood posted 01-05-2012 10:04 PM 3504 views 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As one of the final steps in our home renovation, I built cabinets for our living room. The cabinets house the audio/video equipment and keeps it out of reach of our young kids (thanks to the universal remote with Radio Frequency!). They also provide storage for kids’s books and other random stuff for the living room. The shelves are relatively minimal because I worked around the existing windows and left a generous opening for the TV. I used pretty simple techniques. I built and leveled baseframes before installing 24” deep base cabinets constructed from birchply and poplar faceframes. I added an applied bead molding to the shelf openings and made the shelves adjustable through drilling holes for shelf pins (pegboard makes a cheap template). I made cope/stick inset doors and installed them with european hinges. I left open spaces for cable chases between the base cabinets and up to the TV location for cable management, and even remembered to pre-load a fishing cable for the next time I need to pull a cable. I must have been in a little bit of a hurry, as I included a board with some obvious (after the fact!) warping, which resulted in one of my inset doors not sitting flush in the corner when closed (yet another reason to get my planer/jointer restoration project completed!). I’ll replace the door next time I’m building doors for a project. One of the best things I learned through this process was how to use Google Sketchup. I created this portion of my living room in the program as a starting point in order to experiment with different dimensions/scales of cabinets. It was a great tool for determining how the different elevations and planes would relate to one another. I was a little concerned the deeper base cabinets would make the relatively recessed mantle area look awkward, but I was able to experiment in the program and satisfy these concerns before wasting any wood or effort. I completed over nights/weekends in a couple of weeks or so in 2010.

Photo 1 is the final product. Photo 2 is the before shot (with one of my first woodworking projects – a TV cabinet – in the foreground). Photo 3 shows the coping profile I used on the doors and flat panels.

5 comments so far

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 2434 days

#1 posted 01-05-2012 10:13 PM

They look great! I have a very similar project for the living room in the plans…will probably look very similar to yours with the exception of the TV space.

What did you use for the finish?

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3001 days

#2 posted 01-05-2012 10:38 PM

First class work will ,great great job. It looks beautiful.

-- Custom furniture

View spud72's profile


323 posts in 2918 days

#3 posted 01-05-2012 11:02 PM

It really does a good job of using the wall space and adding some character to the room. Job well done.


-- Guy,PEI

View MichaelA's profile


778 posts in 2312 days

#4 posted 01-06-2012 01:31 AM

Will, this is an excellent example of taking a meaning less wall and creating a very harmonious center of balanced components! Great planning and follow through.

-- The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. "Helen Keller"

View Will_Wood's profile


28 posts in 1760 days

#5 posted 01-07-2012 01:01 AM

Thanks everyone for the comments.

live4ever – I finished the cabinets in the same Behr Ultra Premium semi gloss latex as I used on the rest of the trim in the house. I brushed it on to keep the same surface finish, but it smoothed out pretty well. The problem I ran into was the long final cure time for latex. Things wanted to stick to the surface even a couple weeks after it was dry to the touch. I think there is paint designed for cabinets, maybe “Cabinet Cote”?, that cures more quickly. Next time I do such cabinets in paint, I’ll find a better product. I’d welcome anyone’s input on this issue so I know the best solution next time around.


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