Everything You Need For A Grown Up Tool Kit (For All That DIY You Have Planned)

·3-min read

DIY is intimidating. There, I said it. If you've never given it a go, working out how to successfully Do It Yourself (whether that's fix a sink, build a shelf or mend a bed) can feel as confusing as reading Ikea instructions in Swedish. The potential for it to go wrong or, worse, get boring and leave you stuck with a half made bookcase, seems too much.

And yet, DIY has become more popular than ever. According to one ONS survey the average amount of time spent on DIY and gardening had increased 143% in the first few months of lockdown. And while this number dropped by October 2020, levels still remained higher than they did in 2014-2015.

Despite its intimidating nature, by definition anyone can do DIY (in theory). All you need is access to some YouTube videos, a bit of confidence, and the right tools.

That's where we come in. We have assembled the perfect essentials toolkit for those who want to be handy around the house but don't quite know how to start. Each piece is as practical and long lasting as it is stylish.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

The hammer is <em>fundamental</em>. Look for a comfortable grip, great balance, and crucially, a sense of long-lasting quality and durability. This makes an Estwing a great selection – it's a single piece of steel, perfect for pulling out nails, and will make you feel immensely capable.<br><br><br><strong>Estwing</strong> Estwing Hammer Curved Claw Smooth Face 12oz - Blue Nylon Grip - E312C, $, available at <a href="https://estwingtools.co.uk/estwing-hammer-curved-claw-smooth-face-12oz-blue-nylon-grip-e312c?gclid=CjwKCAjwhOyJBhA4EiwAEcJdcQ3iNzB96ajeI8eVlTBgwdgt3lCpYI-YzYydfwQMEDx381JHYwMaeRoCzBMQAvD_BwE" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Estwing" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Estwing</a>
The hammer is fundamental. Look for a comfortable grip, great balance, and crucially, a sense of long-lasting quality and durability. This makes an Estwing a great selection – it's a single piece of steel, perfect for pulling out nails, and will make you feel immensely capable.


Estwing Estwing Hammer Curved Claw Smooth Face 12oz - Blue Nylon Grip - E312C, $, available at Estwing
You will need a tape measure. This one is very sleek and has the added bonus that it can be written on in pencil, making measurements easier to keep track of.<br><br><strong>Muji</strong> Writable Tape Measure, 2.5m, $, available at <a href="https://www.muji.eu/pages/online.asp?PID=13461" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Muji" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Muji</a>
You will need a tape measure. This one is very sleek and has the added bonus that it can be written on in pencil, making measurements easier to keep track of.

Muji Writable Tape Measure, 2.5m, $, available at Muji
Not all screwdrivers are created equal, but the <em>element'ry </em>set is beautifully designed from solid beech, ergonomic (so can comfortably be used for long periods of time), and comes with six interchangeable bits, suitable for most uses.<br><br><strong>element'ry</strong> No. 1 Screwdriver Set, $, available at <a href="https://thescrewdriver.co.uk/product/no-1-screwdriver-set/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:element'ry" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">element'ry</a>
Not all screwdrivers are created equal, but the element'ry set is beautifully designed from solid beech, ergonomic (so can comfortably be used for long periods of time), and comes with six interchangeable bits, suitable for most uses.

element'ry No. 1 Screwdriver Set, $, available at element'ry
Japanese stainless steel with a matte black rubber grip, these artisanal scissors are designed to last. Ideal for cutting paper and cardboard.<br><br><strong>Foundland</strong> Stainless Steel Scissors, $, available at <a href="https://foundland.com/doing/stationery/stainless-steel-scissors/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Foundland" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Foundland</a>
Japanese stainless steel with a matte black rubber grip, these artisanal scissors are designed to last. Ideal for cutting paper and cardboard.

Foundland Stainless Steel Scissors, $, available at Foundland
Pliers are not glamorous but they are essential – slip joint pliers are particularly versatile, as they can be adjusted to grip different sizes of object. Own these and you are automatically one step closer to being able to fix your sink.<br><br><strong>Senator</strong> 255MM/10" Box Slip Joint Waterpump Pliers, $, available at <a href="https://www.zoro.co.uk/shop/hand-tools/waterpump-and-slip-joint/255mm-10%22-box-slip-joint-waterpump-pliers/p/ZT1011893X?" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Zoro" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Zoro</a>
Pliers are not glamorous but they are essential – slip joint pliers are particularly versatile, as they can be adjusted to grip different sizes of object. Own these and you are automatically one step closer to being able to fix your sink.

Senator 255MM/10" Box Slip Joint Waterpump Pliers, $, available at Zoro
For your more heavy duty cutting, you could do worse than a general purpose pair of snips.<br><br><strong>Irwin</strong> Irwin Gilbow General Purpose Snips 250mm, $, available at <a href="https://www.toolstation.com/irwin-gilbow-general-purpose-snips/p60793" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tool Station" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tool Station</a>
For your more heavy duty cutting, you could do worse than a general purpose pair of snips.

Irwin Irwin Gilbow General Purpose Snips 250mm, $, available at Tool Station
If you've ever made an Ikea bookcase you'll know that allen keys are a) incredibly useful and b) incredibly easy to lose. So this cleverly encased set from the new range of Zara Home tools reduces the risk of misplacing your keys.<br><br><strong>Zara Home</strong> Set Of 8 Tool Steel Allen Keys With Wooden Stand, $, available at <a href="https://www.zarahome.com/gb/set-of-8-tool-steel-allen-keys-with-wooden-stand-l43207043?categoryId=1020385003&colorId=052&ct=true" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Zara Home" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Zara Home</a>
If you've ever made an Ikea bookcase you'll know that allen keys are a) incredibly useful and b) incredibly easy to lose. So this cleverly encased set from the new range of Zara Home tools reduces the risk of misplacing your keys.

Zara Home Set Of 8 Tool Steel Allen Keys With Wooden Stand, $, available at Zara Home
You'll need some protective eyewear, but they don't have to be like the raggedy pair you wore in GCSE Chemistry. This pair snugly protects you from hazards with a square aviator style.<br><br><strong>SunglassMuseum</strong> Square Aviator Safety Eyeglasses with Protective Side Shields - Warrior, $, available at <a href="https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/890401667/square-aviator-safety-eyeglasses-with" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Etsy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Etsy</a>
You'll need some protective eyewear, but they don't have to be like the raggedy pair you wore in GCSE Chemistry. This pair snugly protects you from hazards with a square aviator style.

SunglassMuseum Square Aviator Safety Eyeglasses with Protective Side Shields - Warrior, $, available at Etsy
Another Zara Home number, a spirit level is key to ending the tyranny of wonky picture frames or shelves.<br><br><strong>Zara Home</strong> Beech Wood Spirit Level, $, available at <a href="https://www.zarahome.com/gb/beech-wood-spirit-level-l43212043?categoryId=1020385003&colorId=052&ct=true&style=1" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Zara Home" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Zara Home</a>
Another Zara Home number, a spirit level is key to ending the tyranny of wonky picture frames or shelves.

Zara Home Beech Wood Spirit Level, $, available at Zara Home
If you're short on space, a tool roll is a great option for storing your tool selection. Carhartt is a classic for a reason.<br><br><strong>Carhartt</strong> Carhartt Legacy Tool Roll, $, available at <a href="https://www.graniteworkwear.com/p_10672_carhartt-legacy-tool-roll?pvid=60336" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Granite Workwear" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Granite Workwear</a>
If you're short on space, a tool roll is a great option for storing your tool selection. Carhartt is a classic for a reason.

Carhartt Carhartt Legacy Tool Roll, $, available at Granite Workwear
Another more open-ended solution is a cargo box, inspired by the toolboxes of the 1950s.<br><br><strong>Alessi</strong> Cargo Box, $, available at <a href="https://hauslondon.com/products/cargo-box-by-big-game" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Haus" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Haus</a>
Another more open-ended solution is a cargo box, inspired by the toolboxes of the 1950s.

Alessi Cargo Box, $, available at Haus
And finally, the classic toolbox (in a lovely olive green).<br><br><strong>Trusco</strong> Hip Roof Toolbox in Olive, $, available at <a href="https://www.conranshop.co.uk/trusco-hip-roof-tool-box-olive.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Conran Shop" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Conran Shop</a>
And finally, the classic toolbox (in a lovely olive green).

Trusco Hip Roof Toolbox in Olive, $, available at The Conran Shop

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