Dreamhowl plays Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Happy Home Designer. She enjoys decorating her home and starting new projects.
What Is Animal Crossing?
Animal Crossing is a series of Nintendo games where the player sets up in a new town full of animal villagers. In this role-playing simulation game, players can befriend villagers, customize their own house, and make the town a more developed and wonderful place. In Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS, the player creates their own town, complete with a customized name and layout. Upon arriving in town from their train ride, the player gets mistaken as the new mayor and is put in charge of the town’s beauty and development.
In this new installment of the game, players can choose the placement of their house within the town, as well as the appearance of the roof, siding, mailbox, and fencing. After their house is built, players can spend more and more bells—the game's currency—to upgrade and expand the home by making rooms larger and adding multiple stories. The entire interior of the house is customizable, from furniture to wallpaper and flooring. Players can have a small, humble house or build a mansion-sized home to lounge in!
How to Decorate Your House
A large portion of decorating your house comes down to one thing—furniture. Decorative items can be found in multiple ways in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. You can purchase them from one of the city shops, purchase them from your friends’ catalogs, receive them as gifts from villagers or find them hiding in trees and in balloon gifts floating in the sky. There are several types of furniture at your disposal:
- chairs and sofas
- beds and dressers
- lamps and clocks
- televisions and radios
- tables and shelves
- artwork and plants
You can have a mixture of furniture in each room of the house, or devote different rooms to different styles and functions. For example, once your house is complete you can have a bedroom, bathroom, den, and living room all on the first floor! You can even display the fish and bugs you capture on the floor or on top of tables and shelves. Essentially, you can create the house of your dreams!
1. Pay Off Your Home Loan
When you start a new save file in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you start off without a house in your own town! Luckily, Tom Nook—the raccoon who runs Nook Homes—lends you a tent until you can put down a payment of 10,000 bells. The day after you pay off the loan, Tom Nook will build you a starter house; the loan will come out to 39,800 bells. It is the same size as the tent but the walls and floor can be decorated. Your house can go through multiple upgrades and expansions:
House Expansions, Room Sizes, and Loan Payments
|Home Upgrade||Room Size||Loan Price|
You can continue expanding and adding rooms to your house until every room on every floor is 8x8 in size. The first floor has the original room plus three more—the left, front, and side rooms. The upstairs and downstairs only contain one room each, which can be expanded to 8x8 as well. Once your home as been expanded, you can purchase external upgrades from Nook’s Homes, such as a new mailbox, new siding, and a new roof or fence. His choice of products changes daily.
2. Collect a Lot of Bells
If you want to fully upgrade and furnish your house, you will be needing a lot of bells! Bells are the currency in Animal Crossing and are needed to pay home loans, purchase items, and fund public works projects. At the start of the game, players have no bells and few ways to earn them. If you are absolutely broke, try these quick tricks:
- shake trees for bells
- find the money rock
- break the fake rock
- sell fruit and other items
Some of the trees around town will drop bells if they are shaken—pretty cool, right? Be careful though, because you can also disturb a hive of angry bees! If you have a shovel, try hitting the rocks around town—one of them is fake and contains a gem, while the other dispenses over 10,000 bells when hit repeatedly! You can also sell your native fruit at Re-Tail, the recycling shop run by Reese for some spare bells.
Once you’ve paid the first loan on your starter house (39,800 bells), the option to visit the island will become available. From the dock outside town, players can take a boat to the island, where it is always summer and there are plenty of fish and bugs to catch. It costs 1,000 bells roundtrip to visit but it is worth it—the island is the best way to make bells in the game:
- catch rare fish and sharks
- catch large and rare beetles
- gather non-native fruit
Sharks are the most lucrative fish at 15,000 bells, so if you see a shark fin, start fishing! For bugs, beetles offer bigger payouts on the island—the Golden Stag and Horned Hercules both have a payout of 12,000 Bells. You can only bring back items by placing them in the wicker basket, so try to fill up the most space with valuable items! Non-native fruit also sells for a higher price in town, so bring back some bananas and lemons to sell and grow in town.
3. Buy Furniture From the Store
In the city outside of town, players can buy furniture and other tools from the Nookling Stores. Previously run by Tom Nook, the store is now run by his raccoon nephews, Timmy and Tommy. In the beginning, Nookling Junction only sells a few items per day, one or two being furniture. However, spending bells in the shop can result in expansions, meaning more items for sale:
Nookling Stores, Items, Upgrades, and Days
|Nookling Store||Items Sold||Upgrade Cost||Days Open|
10,000 in loans, 12,000 spent
10 + 10 with Gardening Store
100,000 spent, 4 Gracie fashion checks
While Nookling Junction only sells two furniture items at a time, it is easy to get the shop upgraded to T&T Mart, which offers three furniture items daily, along with one wallpaper and one flooring item. Each upgrade expands the size of the store and offers a wider variety of items. The last upgrade—T&T Emporium—features three floors, with one floor entirely devoted to furniture! You can also find occasional furniture for sale from other villagers at Re-Tail.
4. Buy Furniture From Model Homes
Streetpass is a feature in Nintendo 3DS systems where users exchange information from their games and applications with other users. When the 3DS is on or in sleep mode, players can exchange data and their Mii information with other users in range. When two 3DS users who play Animal Crossing: New Leaf Streetpass each other, they get access to each other’s model homes in the Happy Home Showcase, where players can do the following:
- have up to 48 model homes to visit
- mark 16 model homes as favorites
- order five items daily from model homes
Furniture that has been ordered from the Happy Home Showcase will arrive in the mail the next day. This is a great way to complete themed furniture sets or find items that are rare or not found in your town. However, players cannot catalog special items or items refurbished by Cyrus at Re-Tail; these items will show up as not available. Try leaving your 3DS in sleep mode as you go shopping in public areas—you might get some new model homes!
5. Trade Items With Villagers
If you have talked with your villagers from time to time, chances are that they have asked for your advice, for your help catching a bug or fish, or even for some fruit to eat. If you appease your villagers by giving them items, making appointments to visit their homes, and giving them the items they seek, you are bound to get a gift in return. To receive furniture and clothing from your villagers, try the following actions:
- talk to your villagers at least once daily
- deliver gifts on behalf of one villager
- find an item a villager is looking for
- write a villager a letter and attach a gift
- visit a villager’s house when asked
By talking with your villagers, you can receive a task that will lead to a gift (or have them give you a gift for no reason). Sometimes, a villager will ask you to deliver a gift to another villager or deliver a package that isn’t theirs. If you deliver it promptly and speak with that villager again, they will sometimes give you a gift in return. You can also send villagers letters in the mail with a gift attached—they usually send back items that are worth much more.
If you and a villager are friends, they may ask you to come over their house and hang out. This requires setting up an appointment sometime that day, so choose wisely! When you visit a villager’s home, they will let you part with an item in their home that you like in exchange for bells. They won’t part with every item, but it is a good opportunity to get a unique furniture item. They may even send you a gift in the mail the next day to thank you for visiting!
6. Feng Shui Your House
Feng Shui is a Chinese system of arranging objects around the home to improve many aspects of life. Animal Crossing: New Leaf features Feng Shui by allowing players to place certain furniture pieces to improve how much money they find, overall luck, and the number of items they will find. Utilizing Feng Shui can turn a player’s luck around, and ignoring it can leave them falling down or falling out of chairs:
Feng Shui, Locations, and Item Colors
|Feng Shui||Room Location||Item Color|
If you have any items that match the colors above, it wouldn’t hurt to try to place them according to Feng Shui. By improving your wealth, you can increase how much money the money rock gives out, or how many bells will fall from a tree. Increasing your luck is always a good idea, and increasing the number of items you find can help you acquire even more furniture. Try redesigning items at Re-Tail with Cyrus to change their colors!
© 2014 Jessica Peri
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on February 16, 2018:
@Awesomeness Unfortunately I'm not sure.
Awesomeness on February 10, 2018:
I was wondering... Do you know where to find food items like the grapefruit table because I can't seem to find any decorations for my home and my theme is food so any suggestions?
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on August 17, 2017:
@Therese I'm not sure! I didn't even know that was an option.
Therese on August 14, 2017:
Do you, by any chance, know how to add a front lawn area to the mayors house? I've heard people say it takes hhd, and I have that, so just wondering if you know how to??
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on August 18, 2016:
@Menna Thank you for the compliment, and you are welcome.
Menna on August 15, 2016:
You are a very good writer and thanks for the advice and useful information
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on September 06, 2014:
@SimilarSam Thanks! I am working on decorating my town (and fully upgrading my home). When I don't check in for at least a week though, I log on to discover one of my villagers has decided to leave.
Samuel Franklin on September 06, 2014:
Very useful guide, I feel like playing New Leaf again now!
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on March 06, 2014:
Thank you! It feels like things are really looking up, and I'm sure your good advice helped me out along the way. :)
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 06, 2014:
Well, this really doesn't apply to me. LOL I just thought I'd stop and give you some support. I will say this: you are a good writer. You are clear, concise, and informative. Keep up the good work. I like that you have chosen a niche and you stick with it.