DIY Home

Itching to DIY? Here Are All the Tools You’ll Need to Get Started.

Think of it like a capsule wardrobe, but for fixing and making.

April 15, 2021
Photo by Julie Molliver

This past year was a real make-lemonade-out-of-lemons situation for me. The lemon: a global pandemic that forced us to spend all our time indoors and make peace with our homes being our entire worlds. The lemonade: making the 500-square-foot apartment I share with my husband feel bigger than it is.

I’ve bought more tools and done more home DIY projects in the last year than in the six years I’ve lived on my own. And I’m not the only one! A friend that once sat through a wine-and-paint event like she was having her teeth pulled out at the dentist now calls me regularly to discuss her DIY projects.

The question I get asked most, as a repeat DIY-er, is “What tools should I buy?” I usually counter with two questions of my own: Are you shopping for a one-and-done project or are you looking to invest in tools for a lot of future projects? If it’s the former, I would tell you to borrow the tools you need from a friend since it’s not worth the investment. If it’s the latter, I would recommend starting with the following items.

1. Cordless Drill/Driver

The first power tool I ever bought and the one I use the most! This versatile tool can do everything from putting furniture together to cleaning the grout lines in your bathroom. I recommend getting a 12-volt cordless drill/driver. It’s powerful enough for home use without being heavy and unwieldy.

2. Drill/Driver Bit Set

You’ve got the drill, now you need the accessories! A drill/driver bit set has an assortment of bits that help you make holes of different sizes and drive in different screw heads.

3. Basic Tool Kit

A collection of hand tools is a staple in every home. There are a lot of configurations to choose from but this one has all the basic tools you are likely to need. It also includes a measuring tape and level that will come in handy for home décor projects.

4. Stud Finder

As much as my husband likes to joke that I don’t need a stud finder as I’ve already found one (join me as I roll my eyes), it’s a valuable tool to have when mounting anything heavy on a wall. You’ll need it to help you find the wood studs in your wall to drill into, as well as avoid live wires or an HVAC line.

5. Hardware

Having a combination of drywall anchors in varying lengths on hand is useful. I also like having nails for hanging pictures or these awesome no-tool picture hangers.

6. Hand Saw & Mitre Box

Before graduating to power saws, invest in a hand saw with a mitre box that can make simple, accurate cuts in dowels and narrow pieces of wood.

7. Staple Gun

Next to my drill, this is my most used tool. It’s a must-have for upholstery projects and also for building picture frames. You can choose between an electric or manual staple gun. The electric is less effort, but the manual is cordless and more portable.

8. Glue

On to sticky things! The two types of glue I keep on hand and use often are wood glue for all manner of wood projects (wood glue creates an extremely strong hold between two piece of wood once dry) and one-part epoxy E6000, which dries slightly flexible, which makes it actually very strong.

9. Sander or Sandpaper

Sanding is a necessary step in a lot of DIY projects and it’s good to have different grits of sandpaper on hand. Investing in an electric sander can save you time, effort, and a trip to the doctor for Carpal Tunnel.

10. Safety Equipment

Definitely the most important tools in your arsenal! Invest in a pair of gloves, an N95 mask/respirator, protective eyewear, and noise-canceling headphones. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

There is truly no end to the number of tools you can buy, but I try to follow the cost-per-use rule: If I buy a $100 tool and I use it only once, it cost me $100; if I use it a hundred times, it cost me just $1 per use. Moral of the story? If you think you’ll use it often, it’s worth investing in.

Put that tool kit to work

How many of these tools do you currently own? Which ones did we miss? Let us know below!

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Sourya Venumbaka

Written by: Sourya Venumbaka

Owner and Creator of Sové Home

1 Comment

urook April 16, 2021
Such a helpful article! I'll definitely be ready for my DIY projects that I've been putting off because I didn't have the right tools. Does it matter if I get the 12 volt or 20 volt drill/driver?