May is passionate about video games and especially enjoys design simulators.
What Is Design Home: House Renovation?
Design Home is a game available in the App Store that allows you to design rooms using virtual pieces of furniture from around fifty well-known furniture brands such as Pottery Barn, Serena & Lily and Tommy Bahamas. The game also contains links to the websites of these brands in case you want to consider buying furniture for your real home.
Whilst the game is free to buy, in-app purchases are available. Many new players give up on the game because they run out of in-game dollars but with careful planning, it is possible to progress without using your real-life hard-earned cash.
This game was created by Crowdstar Inc., the company that created Covet Fashion. And if you aren't familiar with that game, I've written another article about it.
Read on to understand how the game works and how you can progress through the levels without having to spend real money.
How Do You Play?
The game is played by completing "Challenges". A challenge involves placing pieces of furniture into a room. It differs from many other home design games in that you don't get to choose the wall colours, etc. Think of it as choosing pieces of furniture and decor for a room that is otherwise complete. Usually, they're rooms in a house, but occasionally they may be somewhere like a TV studio or hotel lobby. Players choose and place required pieces of furniture and decor in the spaces provided.
Challenge results are determined by other players of the game who vote on designs. If a player receives four stars or higher, they win a piece of virtual furniture to use in future challenges.
Players progress through the game by reaching certain dollar values of room design costs. For example, once a player has placed $20,000 worth of furniture in room challenges, they move up to Level 2. When they spend $50,000, they move up to Level 3 and so on. Each time a player reaches a new level, more accessories such as pictures and plants become available, and they also receive a number of items to use for free.
Dollars, Diamonds, Keys and Home Points
You can see how many Dollars and Diamonds you have at the top of your screen. Your Key tally is near the top at the left, and your Home points are on the right near the top.
- Dollars are used to purchase furniture items. They are paid to the player when they enter an event. Most events pay $500; the Daily Challenge event pays $2,500. Some special series events pay $1,000.
- Diamonds are necessary to purchase accessory items such as pictures and plants. These items cannot be bought with cash. Also, some pieces of furniture, such as those which have been allocated as prizes cannot be bought with cash. Diamonds are harder to come by than cash so spend them wisely. The game gives you 500 diamonds daily, and you can earn 125 bonus diamonds if you win 5 stars for a challenge. Some special events also offer diamonds as a prize in addition to cash.
- Keys are needed to enter an event, and this is their only function. Most events cost 25 keys to enter; the daily event costs only 20. Keys can be earned in two ways—by collecting the 20 keys allocated daily and by voting on challenges. You can also enter events by spending diamonds. The maximum amount of keys you can have is 75. After that, you won't accumulate any more until you use some to enter an event.
- Home Points This is part of the game which is new since I started playing. The game now offers a separate, non-competitive section to the game where you can design rooms in a house, including the floor and walls, without having to enter challenges. I actually don't do this, because you have to use pieces of your furniture which then means you have one less use for them in entering the challenges that help you progress through the game (I will explain the limited use of items in a minute). Still, it's a bit of fun if you want to just play around designing a room. You earn one "Home" point for every challenge. Home points unlock rooms for you in the "My Homes" section of the game. The maximum amount of Home Points you can accumulate is 50.
How to Enter Challenges
In order to enter a challenge, you need to place the required pieces of furniture. To do so, click on the coloured bubbles (see picture below) When you click on a bubble, it will bring up the selection of that item that you own, and beneath that, items that you can buy. Blue bubbles are required, purple bubbles (usually plants, pictures, vases, etc.) are optional. You will not be able to enter an event unless all the items in blue bubbles are placed. You don't get to choose where to place the items, only which items to use.
You can filter items by colour, brand, style, and pattern which can make it much easier to find what you need.
Note: Be careful when buying items to check whether you can buy the item with virtual cash or if you have to used diamonds. Diamonds are much harder to come by, and this is where some people use real cash to buy items.
Most challenges come with restrictions for example "three green items," or "A Pottery Barn Table". The only challenge that comes with no specific instructions is the Daily Challenge, which players are mad not to enter!
How Do I Win a Challenge?
Challenge results are determined by game players, just like you. Players have to choose their favourite of two designs by tapping on their favourite. If your entry is selected by enough voters, you will receive four stars, which enable you to win the prize. If your look is popular enough to win five stars, you will win the bonus prize of 125 diamonds.
Don't be disheartened if you don't win every event. Remember, some voters may not put much thought into their selection. However, if you look at the top looks for each event, they're usually pretty spectacular which makes me think most voters take the responsibility seriously enough.
It can take a few days to get results for challenges.
Once you purchase an item, you are only able to use it five times before needing to purchase it again. This is extremely frustrating at first (especially to players of Covet Fashion, Crowstar Inc's other hit game) but you get used to it. You are able to see how many of each item is left in your inventory by the number in the little green bubble at the top right corner of each item (see example below).
As I said previously, this is why I don't bother with the "My Homes" section of the game—because when you place furniture in these rooms it counts as 1 use, which means it's one less time you can use it for entering a challenge. If you remove the piece of furniture from your "My Homes" section though, you can reuse it.
Any pieces of furniture that you have won as a prize need to be re-purchased with diamonds, so it's really important to be careful to check this before re-buying something. I never buy furniture with diamonds.
I've noticed more and more rugs are requiring diamonds to buy them but if you scroll down further, you'll find plenty of rugs you can purchase with dollars.
Tips for Success Without Spending REAL Money
1. Collect Your Daily Tickets and Diamonds
This is the easiest thing to do. Even if you're not entering a challenge, each day open up the game, click on the little head and shoulders icon at the bottom right-hand side of the screen and collect your daily reward. There are 500 diamonds and 20 keys. Diamonds are invaluable as you need these to purchase decor items such as pictures and vases. This is also the only way to get diamonds, besides earning the full five stars for entering an event which is very hard to do,(If you earn 5 stars, you receive 125 diamonds), or if you enter a special challenge that pays diamonds.
Warning: The maximum number of keys you can have at any one time is 75, so if you're about to max out enter an event before collecting your keys so they don't go to waste!
2. Enter the Daily Challenge
There is a Daily Challenge that pays you $2,500 dollars for entering. It also only costs 20 keys to enter, and there are no specific furniture requirements. Yes, it will tell you whether you need a couch, bed, etc., but it will have no specific requirements as to brand or style as many other challenges do.
This is by far the easiest way to build up your cash. If you do nothing else, enter this event daily. In fact, in the beginning, I recommend only entering this event to build up your cash and inventory. As you win more prizes you can then go on to enter other events.
3. Purchase Furniture Items With Cash, Not Diamonds
Before buying an item, check that it can be purchased with cash, not diamonds. Save your diamonds for purchasing decor items. Diamonds are harder to come by and you really need to use them for purchasing accessory items to bring your room to life.
4. Buy Cheap Furniture
Whilst the way to move up through the game is based on the dollar value of your room design, it's important to have enough cash to purchase required items. So initially, at least, it's best to buy cheaper furniture items to make sure you have enough cash to buy the required items.
5. Enter Special Challenges
Every now and then Design Home offers a series of challenges that are linked together. If you enter four out of five of the challenges you win a collection of items. These series events also pay $1,000 game cash to enter, so they're worth entering if you can afford the special requirements.
The game also occasionally offers special challenges that pay some diamonds, in addition to cash. These challenges usually have quite specific requirements and may involve you needing to purchase a lot of furniture. However, because I have a ton of cash, but not many diamonds, I like to enter the challenges that offer 500 diamonds just to build up my stock of diamonds. I put very little effort into these rooms and don't place pieces of decor. I simply enter them in order to get the diamonds, I don't bank on winning the challenge.
6. Borrow Items From Your Facebook Friends
If you have Facebook friends who also play Design Home, you can link up with them and borrow from their inventory. This can save you a lot of cash as you don't have to purchase every piece of furniture yourself.
7. Don't Enter Events Unless You Think You Can Win
It may be tempting to enter events just to collect the cash, but it's important to remember that each time you use an item, you'll be closer to needing to purchase it again. If you're just throwing items together that look horrible, you may want to reconsider entering the challenge altogether—without winning the prize you're basically throwing away purchases for $500. The only challenge I would bother entering regardless of how it looks is the daily $2,500.
The exception to this rule, as I mentioned above, is when you enter a special event in order to collect a special reward, such as a series prize, or a diamond reward.
8. Pull Your Room Together With Decor Items
The optional items can really pull a room together. When purchasing decor items, try and choose items that will go with a variety of room styles and colour themes. I tend to use pictures more than plants. The accessories that sit on tables, such as piles of books and vases go a long way to completing the look of a room. Again, look at the cost of each item and choose wisely, since these items can only be purchased with diamonds.
As you progress through the levels, you'll get more choices of decor items.
Sam on July 30, 2020:
Why do some items say "prize" over them when purchasing for a challenge?
May Galnou (author) from Melbourne, Australia on April 27, 2020:
Hi Woodstock, thanks for reading my post. Not sure what you’re talking about re G.ratio rated rooms etc. but I can say I never spend real money on this game and yet still win many events.
WOODSTOCK on April 27, 2020:
Get Real! Sorry folks, these games are based upon one simple factor~ yup! The almighty buck! $\($D$)/$ if you spend, and know how to design G.ratio formulated rooms, you will win. If you design fantastic rooms and don’t spend, the SCA (system coded algorithm) will never allow you to win. TRUST ME!
Lee Campos on April 19, 2020:
I have been playing this game for years, but it has become a daily event this past year. And I have read all the comments, both from players and (supposedly) people from Design Home. And MY biggest issue is with the voting process. First, it is NOT TRUE that each design gets paired with a comparable design. I have TONS of screenshots I have taken during the voting process where one design has ONLY just met the requirements while the other is fully completed, and quite often the empty design has as many stars as the first, if not a tiny bit more. This is the case every time they put a completed design, that truly isn’t a 5.0....and the voters know that the empty design will never become a 5.0 so in order to prevent a sub-par design from getting a 5.0 (which it still happens, I witness it every day) they vote for the empty one. I believe the ONLY way to truly make the voting fair, is to constantly shuffle the designs so they aren’t paired with the same design throughout all of the voting process. NO LIE...I have had a design where I used EXACTLY the same furniture, rug, and art as one of the 5.0 designs/winner....yet MY ‘identical’ design got a 4.20. In what world is that fair? Also, I have repeatedly written to ‘Design Home’ about the designs that have requirements. On THOSE designs (unlike the top, daily design) when you have the required furniture/brands and before decorating with art, if you decide to read the requirements again, what used to always be the BACK button now becomes the SUBMIT button. When I first started I would think to myself, “What were these people thinking? To spend all that money buying furniture and then not decorate it??”
Until it happened to me.
And the easy way to solve that issue is to merely make the SUBMIT have a 2 part process like buying diamonds does. You first click on something to buy it, but before it actually takes ‘real’ money from your account, it makes you click on it a second time by asking you to ‘CONFIRM’ that you did indeed wish to purchase whatever it was. If they added that 2nd step while you’re designing, it would stop all the designs that are empty.
AND while I’m on this subject and combining my first issue with this, I have had TWO “accidental submissions” that ONLY had the mere requirements, get a 4.34! And TWICE I have had an awesome design, fully finished, ALL MATCHING furniture, art, etc. and somehow only got a 3.93 on both of them.
So the voting system in this game is totally rigged, depending on what other design your design gets paired with. I wish this site allowed attachments, so I could show everyone the proof.
Pamcakes on April 03, 2020:
Will you be adding more my home challenges soon??
Janette past player of Home Design on January 20, 2020:
I had a real problem tracking my purchases made with my credit card. The dates and amount never reconciled The customer service never responded to my inquiry for help or an explanation Fun game but Buyer BEWARE - they might charge you more than you authorize and no help provided to remedy! Awful!
KC Jones from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA on October 09, 2019:
Hope you come back to see this. Limited items are only available for a limited time when design home adds the items. It’s mostly decor, and the items could be for sale (to purchase with diamonds) under the different decor types in the store. For instance, the plant bubbles that show up while doing a challenge. If you tap on that bubble, it will show your current inventory first, then the store items below that. During a limited event, the limited items will show up in the store first.
Sometimes during an event, they may also have decor packs for sale, but these are always available for real world currency only, as an in-app purchase. They typically range anywhere from $1.99 USD, to $3.99 USD. There are generally two limited time packs running at the same time, and during series events, there will usually be a total of 3 packs available but they will run 1 for the entire event, and the other two will only be offered for half of the event time.
For example, they recently did the Countryside series. When the series event started, it offered a pack of green/natural, and a yellow pack. Halfway through they stopped the yellow pack, and exchanged it with a purple pack, but the green pack ran though the entire series event.
When the time has run up on a limited pack or item, you cannot purchase them again. However, any limited items you purchased will still be available to use in future challenges or in your own homes, until the amount you have in your inventory runs out. Once you run out, you cannot use the item anymore and you will no longer see it in your inventory or for purchase in the store.
Helen dekock on October 08, 2019:
Where do I look to purchase limited items. Can’t find anything anywhere on the app.
May Galnou (author) from Melbourne, Australia on October 03, 2019:
Hi Tia. I have no way of knowing that but my guess is that they’ll keep adding more. Thanks for reading my hub.
B on October 03, 2019:
Is the tropical villa the last my home challenge? Or will more be added soon? Tia
Oknative on October 02, 2019:
Some things to keep in mind to keep if fun and yourself sane,
-When you go to vote unless you entered the challenge there’s nothing to let you know what decor was requested. That’s why high scores are given to turquoise beach decor in a woodlands cabin
-Unless you are into all matching upholstery, rugs and artwork (who does this in real life?) don’t have high expectations for a 5 score
-Consider if you really want the prize being offered. Do you really want to spend your inventory to get back something you don’t want and will never use?
-Open up other rooms to test out purchases you plan on making to see how much use you’ll really get out of them
-Unless you have an amazing stockpile of accessories, monochromatic rooms will not be your friend in voting
May Galnou (author) from Melbourne, Australia on August 14, 2019:
Hi Everyone, Let me respond to all your comments. Thanks so much for reading this hub.
Yes, Lawrein, I too wish the game gave us more diamonds but this is how the game makes its money - by hoping you’ll spend real cash.
Fizzpop - no, you can only add Facebook friends.
Linda - unfortunately the decor bundles are only available using real life cash. Whilst it tells you the diamond “value” of these packages, you cannot use diamonds to purchase the bundle.
Mignon Lee - I don’t think there’s any way people can game the system, so many people play it, it’s completely random as to who you vote for, and in fact you can’t even see the user name of who you’ve voted for until you’ve voted.
Jeni- the exclamation mark is just to alert you to the fact that there are bundles available to purchase for cash.
Tamra - so sorry that happened to you. I wonder if someone hacked into your account?
Ambogirl - Foxxy 5.0 is correct - your keys only go when you use them to enter an event. No one can steal them.
Hope this is helpful.
Lawrein on August 08, 2019:
I want you to give us more diamonds PLEASE!!!!
Fizzpop on August 07, 2019:
Can you add friends who are not your facebook friends? such as just other players in the game?
Linda on July 19, 2019:
How can I use diamonds to buy special decor bundles? I have enough diamonds but each time I try to purchase a special bundle it asks for my account information. I have no intention of using real money to play this game.
Mignon Lee on July 07, 2019:
The way those who get top scores and top recognition are gaming the system. My suspicion is that they have an agreement with their facebook friends to vote for their designs and they vote for their friends designs. This is much easier than one would think because the game allows you to "share" your design BEFORE voting. Therefore, they can share their design with everyone so that each friend knows which design should get their vote. The only way to stop this is for the developers to limit sharing until AFTER everyone has voted on a particular challenge. I like to play, but I wish it were fair.
Diane on July 03, 2019:
I agree the ones that get a 5 some of them are a lot of them are poofy and not a lot creativity so when you do the same.. But differently you’ll get a lower score than if you would throw together ugly furniture and mismatched items...its a rip!
Jeni on June 20, 2019:
Why do I have an exclamation mark next to my diamond score?
Tamra on May 29, 2019:
Why did the game steal everything but my diamonds. Boost me to level 13...
I was only at level 4. Went to sleep woke up I was on level 13. The game is fun but frustrating with glitches. I'd like my level 4 back and all my monies it took...#smh Complaining to the coversation board doesnt help.It seems it needs someone to talk to..
Ambogirl on May 09, 2019:
Hi does anyone know how to stop someone constantly borrowing my keys all the time leaving me almost none? It’s rea starting to make mad! How do you borrow keys. I’ve put a lot of money in the game so I’m getting sick of this particular FB friend stealing my keys. Help!
May Galnou (author) from Melbourne, Australia on April 02, 2019:
Hi Fawn, Everyone gets the same room for a challenge but there’s a lot of challenges. My guess is that your friends are entering different challenges or that the ones you’re looking at are from a different day. I know The voting system seem frustrating but I can’t really think how else they’d do it.
Fawn on March 27, 2019:
I dont understand why the votes are centered around other players critique when we are given specific instructions on what the design is supposed to be. If it specifies a coastal room and you decorate the room in black and white rustic, hows it even possible that person won the challenge? Theres got to be a better way. I also notice a few of my friends designs are in rooms that I've never seen. I thought everyone got the same rooms each day?
Mimi on March 24, 2019:
What is the point of showing inventory? It’s not what you currently own. I don’t get it. ???
Laura on March 23, 2019:
I agree with too many stools and benches. In real life how many people will sit on a backless bench or stool in a living room? Also I would love to have more accessory options, i.e. books, bedspreads, prettier artwork (I mean lips? for reals?) I LOVED the most recent limited edition Spring items. They were gorgeous. I wish they would be available all the time and similar items in different colors.
I love this game, I spend way too much time chasing diamonds and get frustrated when earned diamonds don't show up. Tapjoy came through with some after I complained but several games I installed to earn diamonds don't even show up as being installed. I spent days getting to the appropriate level only to find out I wasn't credited with installing the game so be aware and be sure to check that doesn't happen to you.
Jackie on March 18, 2019:
Im on level 7 but i can design anymore till leval 10? How do i level up?
Bev on December 05, 2018:
I loved this game until I began about 2 weeks ago being charged for purchases I that I didn't receive credits for. I still am unable to purchase diamonds to play the game, yet when I do try and purchase I get an error but my credit card is charged !! No fix yet though I have contacted several times. Extremely frustrating.
Tara on November 30, 2018:
Does anyone know why a furniture prize that I’ve won for 4 stars shows up in my inventory but when I choose the catagory it belongs in to use the item in a design it won’t show up as something I own. Are you only allowed to own a certain amount of items? It’s a chair and it’s in my inventory but if I try to use it in a room it doesn’t show up.
May Galnou (author) from Melbourne, Australia on November 26, 2018:
Thanks everyone for your responses. It is interesting reading what annoys people about the game. One thing that bugs me about this game is all the benches, stools and ottomans in every lounge. I wish they could make it more optional - like just have a “seat” requirement that could be anything from an armchair to a stool. Heather, I agree about that wedding cake - it was a freebie so it’s sitting in my inventory but it never looks right.
Heather R on November 19, 2018:
I love the game but get angry when the winners' designs are so predictable, fussy, don't follow theme instructions and are totally symmetrical with the same exact artwork in multiple places. Who does this in real life??? Also, why does everyone insist on decorating with that GD wedding cake?? In a bedroom? Living room? Patio? Huh? And that blue bunny rabbit as table decor?
Canticleer on October 15, 2018:
I wish you could filter by price that would make it so much easier than scrolling thru everything
Tanreh on September 22, 2018:
My main frustration with Design Home is that often the entries that win have fulfill the requirements but not the design explaination. Ex: a child's room that is not kid friendly, a restful vacation Villa decorated like a nightclub. Does no one read the explaination of the challenges? Just because the stuff in the room matches doesn't mean it belongs in that room! ...and that should shape our voting decisions. People need to use the = sign when voting unless the entry is truly fabulous. Please address voting in your blog since every bad vote given effects the averages on votes received.
AJ on September 16, 2018:
I love this game, only been playing a month but already pretty addicted and have started using real cash, help! I'm going to try and follow your advise from now on and get a life! One thing I hate is all the monochrome winners and the designs that don't follow the criteria. I vote them down
Rosetta on August 30, 2018:
I think design home should give you the items you pay for,, ,forever ,,,not just 4 days,It cost users their
hard. earned cash to play this game
Michele on August 29, 2018:
I love this game. Absolutely. I am finding myself rethinking my own rooms and furniture placement. Minimizing and reorganizing. I love accessory design but was always afraid of it. This game throws you into it. Brilliant.
May Galnou (author) from Melbourne, Australia on August 28, 2018:
Hi Natasha, that’s so weird. If you click on the question mark in the top right hand corner of your game screen it will drop down a menu, look under the “trouble shooting” section and see if there is a solution for your problem. If you can’t find the solution there they have a “Contact Us” option. Good luck.
Natasha on August 28, 2018:
my design pic cut in a half, i already restart and uninstall the game then install again, but still nothing happened. I'm afraid this will drop my rate if u know what i mean, what should i do to get the pic whole again?
MayG on August 21, 2018:
Hi Karyn, Thanks for reading my article. Yes, it is frustrating when you see people getting a great score when they don't follow the criteria - I guess because when people vote they just vote based on the overall look.
Karyn Thomas on August 19, 2018:
Great article thanks! It is sometimes frustrating tho, when you spend a lot of effort on a challenge and do not get a 5 also if say there's an eclectic challenge and someone completes it using all french furniture etc. All matching! I wonder how they some times get a 5? Nevertheless I still love the game and can see myself playing it for a long time
May Galnou (author) from Melbourne, Australia on August 10, 2018:
Hi Noah, I found that really frustrating at first too, but it isn’t too bad once you get used to it.
Noah on August 09, 2018:
This game sucks. You dont even get to keep the items you buy for future use. Why use expensive couches and such to lose them after using them 5 times.