5 Must-Have Tools For DIY Home Improvement Projects

These expert-recommended utensils will make any task a breeze.

diy home improvement project

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Whether you’re hanging drapery, painting trim, building a bookcase, or completely redoing a space—there are some tools you’ll want to have on hand. If you’re an avid home improvement DIY-er, it’s likely you already have a few of these tools, but for the novice looking to take on a DIY project , there are some tools you’ll need to invest in. Of course, every homeowner should have a basic tool box stocked with a hammer, Phillips-head and flat head screwdriver, wrench, and pliers. These essentials come in handy for day-to-day tasks from tightening a kitchen cabinet knob to hanging artwork.

We asked interior decorator and do-it-yourself aficionado, Rashida Banks , for some of her must-have tool recommendations. For more advanced DIY projects, you might need a few more tools like Banks’ favorite RYOBI saws, which help to cut wood and trim easily, but these are her five go-to tools for DIY home improvement projects. “When I think about projects I’ve done in the past and what makes them easier and more comfortable to execute, these are the things I reach for the most,” she says.

A Level

From hanging treasures on the wall to building a piece of furniture, it’s important to ensure you’re working with straight lines. “I like having multiple levelers handy. Small ones, medium sized ones, and long ones—but I reach for my small one the most,” says Banks.

Tape Measure

While most basic tool boxes come with a traditional tape measure, depending on what type of home improvement projects you’re getting into, you should consider upgrading your measurer. “I can get accurate readings for any space very easily and quickly with a Bosch Laser Measure ,” says Banks. However, a laser measure is not always necessary, in which case, her other go-to is a RYOBI tape measure with the fractions.

Power Drill

Electric power tools come in handy to complete tasks that one might use a hammer and nails or screwdriver and screw for, but in significantly less time. A power drill will make any DIY project much easier and faster, like to pre-drilling holes for nails or screws, which is especially important for anything you intend to be long-lasting. Banks’ drill of choice is the RYOBI 18v Cordless Compact 1/2 inch drill . “I love how small it is compared to a standard size drill. I'm able to get into tight spaces easily,” she says.

A Good Paint Brush

While you’re likely reaching for a paint roller rather than a brush when it comes to adding a splash of color to the walls, when it comes to painting a piece of furniture or a fresh coat on the trim, using the right brush can make a big difference. Banks recommends the Wooster 2 in. Pro Short Handle Angle Sash Brush , which has a rubber handle that is ergonomically ideal. “It bends with my hand movements and causes less cramping, especially if I've been painting for a long time on a project,” she says. “I use this brush for just about any type of paint project.” The brush comes in different kinds of bristles depending on the type of project you're working on and paint you're working with.

Pocket Hole Jig

While this tool is more specified for wood working, it’s one you won’t want to skimp out on for the best, professional-looking finished product. It does the hard work for you by precisely drilling an angled hole into any piece of wood, resulting in a concealed joint. “I use the Kreg pocket-hole jig whenever I build anything,” says Banks, “It joins pieces of wood together easily, holding a strong joint without the screws ever being seen on the finished side of your project.”

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