Interior decorating and landscaping are tricky, even in the real world. Unfortunately, in The Sims 4, there are unique challenges. Furniture size, limits to Colour or design, and the basic functionality (or lack of it) can create significant obstacles. This article provides tips, tricks, and ideas that can help you create beautiful sims homes – inside and out.
Have a plan before you begin your Sims build
While themed bedrooms are popular, the house itself should have its own plan. Decide on a style and stick to it. So many Sims builds fail because they have no cohesive theme. All the furnishings and décor should fit the theme if you are making a farmhouse, for example. Sure a modern surprise in the form of a sofa or statue works well sometimes, but it can also go very wrong.
Pro Tip: Look at lots of pictures before you begin to get a general feel for the desired style. Go in with a solid plan, and you will come out victorious.
Less can be more
One of my favourite things is designing and decorating tiny homes in the Sims 4. Small spaces seem to breed creativity. Developing innovative ways to add the items your sims require is so much fun. In my earlier days, I would create huge rooms that felt vast and empty. However, I quickly realized that I needed to scale things back if I wanted a home to feel cosy and inviting. Nothing is worse than a vast empty house that takes an hour for your sims to cross – think of the Chateau Peak lot in Del Sol Valley. Your sims house should always feel cosy – even when it is a large celebrity mansion
Pro Tip: Take time to learn each item’s size, so you know how large/small to make a space.
Embrace colour in your Sims builds
Colour can be scary sometimes. Too much or too little colour can have a significant impact on a build. Of course, you want to have colour in your home, but how do you do it without creating a circus? The key to colour is to introduce it slowly in small doses. Neutral walls (blue, grey, white, beige) are excellent options, as they provide you more flexibility in design. A neutral backdrop allows you to have fun adding pops of colour with furniture and décor.
Pro Tip: A red table or yellow sofa are a great way to liven up a space without overwhelming the senses, and the same goes for a single accent wall. Don’t be afraid to add unexpected pops of colour to your sim’s homes to create a fun and exciting atmosphere.
Throw your Sims some shade
Curtains are truly underrated. Adding drapes can make or break a build, and they help create an area that is cosier and more realistic. While there are not enough options available in-game, you are still likely to find a set of curtains to fit a room and make it look finished.
Pro Tip: Curtains are a great way to add some personality or introduce colour in an otherwise muted space.
Thinking outside the Sims building box
The room catalogue can help you design a space, but the pre-set rooms can be boring. Cabinets in a foyer, a sofa in a study, or shelves lining a headboard can add the depth and personality that the game lacks. Don’t be afraid to place items in new and exciting ways. The results may surprise you.
Below are two of my favourite ‘Think Outside The Box’ ideas to get you started:
Get clever with Sims cabinets
Cabinets are for more than the kitchen. They can be a great way to liven up a space and add personality. For example, using cabinets that have been reversed (so that the back is showing) to create a headboard or liven up a living room wall can create excitement and drama in an otherwise simple home. Use cabinets to frame a television and mimic built-ins, or create a custom desk. Use your imagination and experiment to find new uses for items in the game. Layer them up and stack ’em high. With the bb.moveobjects cheat, the sky is the limit.
Make a custom ceiling in The Sims
Use shelves and lights to create a bold, custom ceiling. Grab a flat shelf and raise it to the roof using the 9 and 0 keys. Create a frame around the top of the room. Next, grab the flat light strips used on the bottom of pools and raise them to line the shelves’ edge. Once again, frame the room to create a unique custom ceiling. This trick can be frustrating at first and takes practice, but the final result is a cosy, customized space rich with drama.
Pro Tip: Look online for inspiration. Find images of interiors and save them for later. Pinterest is an excellent tool for gathering ideas. Use it to create a look-book of inspiration and use it when you are ready to build.
Along with the tips above, remember the following when designing the interior of a sims home.
Don’t be afraid of DIY, Sims style
Is there an essential piece of furniture that you wish you had? Why not create it yourself! Plenty of simmers are using DIY hacks to make unique, custom items in the sims, and you can too. Play around and experiment to come up with some new and exciting objects.
Mix old and new
Mixing old antique furnishings with fresh new items creates a unique look that you are sure to love. Use an antique dresser with a modern bed, or add some contemporary curtains to a cottage-style home to make it unexpectedly interesting.
Experiment with your Sims builds
When I look back at my older builds, I tend to cringe. However, all of my past mistakes helped to improve my skills. Thankfully, I am a better builder today because of them. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles, Colours, or furnishings. Experimentation and practice are the core foundation for any skill, and building in the Sims is no exception. If it looks awful, you can simply start over. That is the great thing about this game.
Love the Sims clutter
When it comes to the Sims, clutter is key. Perfectly placed clutter is what makes a home look cosy, lived-in, and realistic. It adds detail to a build that cannot be achieved any other way. Add clutter to your build to create a warm, comfortable environment. Just remember to use the bb.moveobjects cheat to allow for free placement of objects, and be aware of their functional properties.
Sims 4 landscaping tips and tricks
Landscaping in the sims can make your head spin. Reduce the stress with these simple tips and tricks.
Keeping up with the Goths
Look around the world and copy the plants that are already there. Use the surroundings for inspiration to help your home blend in.
Rotate, rotate, rotate
Rotating your plants or other furniture as you place them in the Sims 4 will help you avoid the harsh lines and manicured shapes that can happen with digital plant placement.
Use debug for free Sims 4 items
The debug menu is a fantastic tool for landscaping.
To access the debug menu in Sims 4, open your cheat console by pressing ctrl + alt + c.
Type the following commands into the space that appears.
bb.ignoregameplayunlocksentitlement (optional – unlocks career locked items)
You then type “debug” into the search field in the catalog (bottom left of the screen in build mode), and you will have access to almost every object in the game.
These items are sure to spark your creativity. Just be warned, once you start exploring debug, you may be lost for days.
*Note: Many of the debug plants can have harsh shadows underneath them. Try them out and experiment with various types to create the perfect look for your home.
But don’t go overboard
When landscaping, it can be easy to fill every space with plants and greenery, but you can quickly go overboard. Pick a few plants or trees to be the focal point and add others sparingly to frame the focus.
Cool by the pool for Sims outdoor spaces
Pools and fountains are another underrated tool that we often take for granted. Use these items to fill space and add personality to an otherwise mediocre yard.
Get creative with Sims landscaping
Adding unexpected items outside can be exciting. Try placing some potted plants, a couch, or an outdoor kitchen in the backyard.
The sky is the limit when it comes to landscaping.
Only your imagination confines you.
There are too many landscaping tips to list here, and this is only a brief overview… Stay tuned for a more in-depth article in a future issue of Simmed Up Magazine. For now, experiment, have fun and get creative!
This article first appeared in the February 2021 edition of Simmed Up Magazine.