After buying our first fixer upper house in 2009, transforming it on a zero-budget, and then recently tackling a large-scale addition and renovation in 2014/15, we have tackled do-it-yourself projects big and small. You can catch most of them over at my blog, THE SWEETEST DIGS.
There is nothing I love more than rescuing a piece of furniture in the garbage pile and giving it new life by sanding it down, staining or painting, and replacing the hardware. My husband, on the other hand, loves to break out the more heavy-duty tools and build. Whether it’s laying a new deck or building shelving or creating a custom desk for all of his computers, he finds it super rewarding to grunt through it himself.
Even if you don’t want to tackle any major projects, even the small-scale stuff requires some tools. Here is a round-up of our most used (and loved) tools – something every DIYer needs in their tool chest.
The 10 Tools Every DIY’er Needs
A tape measure. I’d be surprised if you don’t have one of these already, but time to grab one from the hardware store if you don’t. You’ll probably use it for just about every project you ever do around the house.
A hammer. Again, seems kind of obvious right? A good old-fashioned hammer will get you places. Even if it’s just hanging up some pictures around the house.
A portable drill. Having a good portable drill, particularly one that is light and that you can easily re-charge, is a great investment.
A screwdriver set. Even though you can use your drill for most things, for small stuff like replacing hardware on a dresser, it’s really nice to have a simple screwdriver. If you don’t want a whole big set, just buy one of the ones is change-able and comes with multi-heads – so practical.
A bullet level. Any level is going to be useful, but the “bullet level” is a smaller version that will be easier to store. Hanging just about anything on your walls is going to require a level. I put up wallpaper in a closet the other day, and the level was useful for getting that first perfect vertical line to work from.
Stud finder. Again, when you’re hanging anything on your walls – shelves, cupboards, headboards, and basically anything heavy – you’re going to want a stud finder so that you can identify where on your walls the studs are. Drilling into these makes everything way more secure. Plus, they beep like metal detectors and are kinda fun to use.
Chop-saw. There are lots of different types of saws you can buy for all kinds of purposes, but our most used saw is a chop saw. You can do both straight and angled cuts, which is what you need the majority of the time.
A brad nailer. For building furniture, putting up trim, whatever, having a brad nailer can be things sooooo much speedier. Having a cordless one that doesn’t require a compressor is even better.
Hand sander. Remember how I mentioned my love for re-finishing old furniture? Well, sanding is my least favourite part. Having an electric hand sander is the only way to make it go quickly and painlessly.
A good painting kit. Having the right tools for any painting project is going to make it much easier and result in a better job. Get a high quality angled brush (2.5 inch is my favourite size) for cutting in trim, a good roller, a tray with inserts, and one of those “handy pails” for when you’re painting up on a ladder. As someone who has spilled an ENTIRE gallon of paint on her brand new hardwood floors, trust me on the handy pail thing.
That’s it! Having DIY tools around your house will set you up for most DIY projects. You’ll be an expert in no time, and everyone will be super impressed at what you’ve been up to at your own pad.
Do you guys have any others you would add to the list? I’d say a super close #11 for me is a staple gun. I constantly use that thing for upholstery projects!