Setting up a kitchen for the first time can be fun and frustrating at the same time. With all the choices one has, and all the places to purchase the necessities, it can be a little on the daunting side. One of the first purchases one might think of, are knives, whether singly, or in a block set.
Of course, price plays a big part in it, but let's leave that out for now, and just concentrate on what might be a more or less cover-it-all starter set. You are going to chop, cut, carve, peel, slice, dice and mince with these knives, so size and shape, will play a part in the purchase of a starter set.
The small paring knife will get used as much as all the others put together. Two or three of these in various blade shapes will do nicely, with blade lengths from 2.5 to 4 inches. A utility knife might be next, with about a 6 inch blade. These are still light, easy to handle and maneuver, and will take a fair slice off of whatever you choose to cut into.
If you plan on cutting a lot of meat, you may want a boning knife. The blade is fairly flexible and nicely curved, to cut around the bone. Jumping up the scale to the larger, longer blades, a chef's knife would be the next choice. They come in a variety of sizes, from 6 to 12 inches, and are the strong workhorses of the kitchen.
Of course, the size of the blade and the size and strength of your hand should be a consideration when buying one. Try them out, hold them, pretend you are cutting something. If it feels good in your hand, and you can safely wield it, it will be fine.
Along with this small start, you should add a set of steak knives. A long serrated narrow blade knife, commonly used for bread slicing, would round out the set nicely.
That's the basics, you can add from there. There are specialty knives in all categories, all shapes, all sizes, and all styles, from cleavers to carvers, to knives from the orient.
Now back to price, remember, there is no substitute for quality, buy the very best you can afford.