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Tips and Tricks to Succeed in "Design Home: House Renovation"

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.

Follow the style requirements to enter the Design Home challenge.  If you receive four stars from voters you win the prize.  If you receive 5 stars you get 125 diamonds as a bonus!

Follow the style requirements to enter the Design Home challenge. If you receive four stars from voters you win the prize. If you receive 5 stars you get 125 diamonds as a bonus!

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.

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Read More From Levelskip

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!

Click on the bubbles to place furniture.  You can see how many of each item you have left to use, by the number in the green bubbles in the top right corner of each item.

Click on the bubbles to place furniture. You can see how many of each item you have left to use, by the number in the green bubbles in the top right corner of each item.

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.

Buying Items

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:

Hi Helen,

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.