Hi and welcome to Ask Mellindi, a weekly (or bi-weekly) column in which I answer all your questions about gameplay, mods, builds — or whatever Sims 4 topic you find yourself needing help with!
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Could you do a tutorial on how you build your homes? Thanks!
Building is one of my favorite things to do in The Sims. In fact, when I was first introduced to the game, back during Sims 1 days, I spent countless hours in build mode, building and decorating little houses for sims I never intended to play with. One day though, after catching a glimpse of my sibling’s chaotic gameplay, I decided to give it a shot and now they both share equal space in my heart.
Now, as much as I love building, I also know it can be frustrating at times, especially when you feel like you can’t get it right or worse, you’re not even sure where to even begin! I talk all the time about how I make the homes I build for my sims feel cozy and lived in so let’s talk a little about my process for the actual build itself.
I almost always go into a new build with a reference photo (or two) that encompasses the overall look that I’m going for. These can be found literally anywhere, from a simple Google search to houses in your actual neighborhood and while I do draw inspiration from the architectural styles found around my city, Pinterest is my favorite place to find (and store) new ideas.
While we’re on the subject of inspiration and reference photos, before you get started on your new journey as a Sims 4 Architect, I recommend taking some time to check out Build Mode. Once you get more comfortable with the items we have in game (including CC), it’ll be much easier to figure out what styles will and will not translate well into the game.
For example, this Victorian house is beautiful! But the intricate roofs, columns and window placement makes it a little difficult to replicate. Even with with CC, you might find yourself more than frustrated trying to get it just right and in the end too discouraged to continue. This isn’t me saying it’s impossible, because I have seen some amazing stuff from this community, but that the difficulty you’re finding while building may actually be due to your style choices not lack of skill.
The house in this photo looks to be a split-level home but we’ll be making our version a one story.
Whenever I’m building any kind of lot whether it be a house, a restaurant, a cafe/bowling/workplace/daycare (yes, this was actually a thing, lol) I start with the basic shape of the build or the structure. As you can see, what we have here is not large enough for what we’re actually going for but its fine because right now, we just want to get the base (the front of the house) down.
Next, I add the front door and first set of windows to make sure I like the direction the house is going in. For me, it’s very important to do this from the beginning because there have been times where I’ve skipped this part, finished the entire structure, just to place the doors and windows and realize I hate it and if I hate it — I’m bulldozing it — no if ands or buts about it, so this just saves me a headache and an afternoon of time wasted.
The same goes for little details like shutters, window box planters, fencing and railing. Seeing these things all together help me visualize what the end result will be.
The Floor Plan I
Once I have a base that I’m happy with, I move on to the floor plan — expanding what we have…
into something livable.
Now, I usually don’t use a reference photo for the floor plan, instead, I just build around what I see working for my sims and a set up like the one below is perfect for a single sim. If you do find yourself needing help in that department though, you can find floor plans on various sites as well as Pinterest.
This seems to be where most people find trouble. In fact, I’m almost willing to bet that like 85% of people who say they’re bad at building in this game actually aren’t — they just don’t understand roofs.
I don’t have a solid process to follow when it comes to this part of the build as I tend to just go along with the reference photo but I do allow myself freedom to improvise especially for things I think would look better done another way and areas that aren’t visible from the photo.
For this build, we’ll start off with the gable roof on the left side. Since this area sits out further than the rest of the house, it makes the most sense to me to start here.
When deciding where to ‘end’ the roof, I usually make it match the edge of the room its on top of. That might not make much sense now but it will as we continue.
Next, we place a half gable roof, on top of the room, right next to it.
Right here, you can see where both roofs ‘end’. I chose an edge that wouldn’t leave an overlap. Don’t worry about the empty areas, we’ll fill those in once we’re done with the front roofs.
Now, lets add another half gable roof right next to the first one (second roof, but first half gable roof).
For the final roof, let’s place a gable roof right over the room with the door and that’s it for the front! Let’s move on to the back.
Here’s where improvising comes into play. From the photo, we can’t tell what kind of roof is in the back so we’ll just go by what looks best. This, of course, is subjective as what I think is good may not be the same for someone else, so don’t worry about getting it right, just go along with what you like.
I chose to go with a hipped roof, placing one on top of both of the remaining spaces.
The Floor Plan II
The next thing I like to do is add all of the interior doors and remaining windows. The inside should look more like a house now.
Finalizing the Exterior
Now that we have our base completely done, it’s time to finish up the exterior with paint, flooring and landscaping.
For paint, I chose a wall covering similar to the photo. For the landscaping, I went with a simple look, choosing plants that I felt like matched the theme of the build. With flowers on the door and underneath each window, I felt a colorful assortment fit well here. If you find yourself needing inspo here, you can find tons of it on Pinterest as well.
This is where the real fun begins!
So, whenever I decorate a room, I always follow this exact process. Not only does it make it much easier for me to get it all done — it’s never failed me.
The Focal Point
First, I find the ‘focal point’ of the room. This can be something like a painting, a rug, a throw pillow, curtains — anything that has a theme or collection of colors that I like. Once I find this focal point, everything in the room will follow its lead.
In this build, the focal point is this painting (the one the arrow is pointing to). It has a color palette of: salmon, peach, teal and a little beige. These are the colors I’ll use as a guide to decorate the room. Along with this palette, I’ll also keep in mind which wood tones I think would compliment them.
As you can see, the sofa, cushion, rug and painting on the wall all follow the focal point’s theme.
Things like plants, candles, books, baskets and other accents can easily fill up empty space and keep a sim’s home from looking too empty. I usually try to place several of these things throughout each room.
Making it Personal
Selfies, collections, achievements are all things that make the home personal. It shows character and makes it feel like it was really lived in. If you’re just starting out, you may not have any of these things yet and that’s fine because just like in real life, your sim brings a little piece of their life home with them everyday so it’ll feel just like theirs in no time.
And that concludes our tutorial for the day. If you have any questions or need anymore tips, let me know!