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"The Sims 4" Building for Beginners: From Run-Down Apartment to Trendy Loft

Kenzie needed a quick escape from real-life pressures, and found "The Sims 4." She now enjoys playing, writing, and YouTubing the game.

Learn How to Use Build Mode in "The Sims 4": I turned this drab, boring apartment into a swanky luxury loft. I can hardly believe it's the same apartment!

Learn How to Use Build Mode in "The Sims 4": I turned this drab, boring apartment into a swanky luxury loft. I can hardly believe it's the same apartment!

Redecorate to Get the Hang of Build Mode

If the idea of decorating, remodeling and building houses gets your creative juices flowing, then you're going to love learning how to build in The Sims 4. Since I can't redo a room in my house whenever the mood strikes me, I'll just turn on my game and remodel an entire house! It's a great fix for my decorating addiction!

In my first article about using build mode in the Sims, which you can find here, I offer an introduction to the game's build mode and the basic functions. If you are new to the Sims or haven't ever used build mode, you might want to review that first.

If you know how to work the basic functions of build mode and you're ready to start creating, then the best place to begin is by redecorating a room, apartment or small house. Let's get started!

Getting Started

Choose an empty house or apartment on a residential lot to get started. This will allow you free reign to experiment. You won't have to worry about money or budget your build—you can get to that later.

  1. Go to "manage worlds" by clicking the grid symbol in the upper right-hand corner. It will give you the option to save; if you haven't done anything yet, you don't need to save. It's up to you.
  2. Click on the globe in the upper left-hand corner to see what worlds you have. Choose one.
  3. Click on a residential lot. Residential lots have a little gray plumbob (diamond) symbol above it. Pick a lot that doesn't have any residents (you'll see a Sim's picture if any are living on the lot).
  4. Click on the tool symbol in the lower right-hand corner to enter build mode.
If you have "The Sims 4: City Living" expansion pack, I chose the apartment at 1310 Chic Street; it's usually a cheap starter apartment (bottom corner). Now in my game it's a luxury loft.

If you have "The Sims 4: City Living" expansion pack, I chose the apartment at 1310 Chic Street; it's usually a cheap starter apartment (bottom corner). Now in my game it's a luxury loft.

Reminders: Before You Begin

  • If you're worried about messing up, save the lot as-is to your gallery first. That way, if it becomes a hopeless mess, you can restore it quickly.
  • Save as you go to prevent losing your work should your game crash.
  • Clear out the room or home of almost everything to give yourself a blank slate. You can even use the sledgehammer to break down the interior walls if you wish so that you can redesign the floor plan.
  • Remember, if you break something you didn't mean to delete, click the undo arrow, and it will be restored immediately.

Cheats You'll Want to Use

Some people love game cheats, while others shun them. If you don't like to use cheats in your game, that's fine, but this is when you want to make an exception. There is a game cheat you need to turn on when you build, or you're going to be very limited in what you can do.

You will want to enable the MoveObjects (one word) to cheat whenever you build in The Sims 4. Without this cheat, all items in build mode have a buffer zone around them so that you can't put things too close together. The cheat eliminates that buffer zone that allows you to group items closely. Without this cheat, all of your items will look unnaturally spread out in your homes.

As you can see, this cheat is not really "cheating" in any game or challenge; it merely allows you to move things around more freely when you're building. Sims don't gain any advantages from this.

How to Enable the MoveObjects Cheat on a PC or Mac:

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+C on your keyboard. A small text box will appear in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Type "testingcheats true" in the text box and hit Enter.
  3. Type "bb.moveobjects on" in the text box and hit Enter.
  4. A new text box should say, "MoveObjects cheat is ON." When that message appears, you can close the text box by hitting Ctrl+Shift+C again.

If you should ever want to turn this cheat off, simply go back to the text box and type, "bb.moveobjects off."

I Like to Make the Space a "Blank Slate" Before I Start Decorating: Here is the gutted apartment I was working on in build mode. I have just a few lights in the room. You can see the tool bars I mention above here.

I Like to Make the Space a "Blank Slate" Before I Start Decorating: Here is the gutted apartment I was working on in build mode. I have just a few lights in the room. You can see the tool bars I mention above here.

After You Clear a Room

You can proceed to decorate right now, but I like to take these extra steps. I give myself a blank canvas to work with and plenty of light. I feel it's just easier this way.

  • Go to the "lighting" category in items and find an overhead light. Add a few so that you can see what you're doing as you redecorate. Just click on any ceiling light, drag it to a place in the room, and click to let go of it.
  • Go to "wall patterns" and select a light, solid color for now. Click on it. Paint your walls with it in the area you're redecorating. You can do this by clicking and dragging the color across the wall panels, or by hitting Shift while you click on a wall to instantly repaint a whole room.
  • Go to "floor patterns" and select a plain, light color floor. Click on it. Apply it to the floor in the room you're redecorating by clicking and dragging your mouse or by hitting Shift while you click on the floor.
I Use Colored Carpeting to Help Me Decide My Floor Plan: I play around with the layout. When I'm satisfied, I draw walls or start laying out furniture. Then I change the flooring to match the room

I Use Colored Carpeting to Help Me Decide My Floor Plan: I play around with the layout. When I'm satisfied, I draw walls or start laying out furniture. Then I change the flooring to match the room

Creative Tips

You can certainly go into a room and just wing it as you redecorate, but I like to take a minute to get a plan in mind. That doesn't mean I have to stick to it, but having a plan helps if I should get stuck. It gives me direction, but I know I can always change direction.

  • When trying to redo a floor plan, I lay it out first with different color carpeting. This gives me an idea of how I want to arrange my rooms, how big I want them, and where walls need to go.
  • Think about a color scheme. Look through the items and choose an inspirational object. Rugs, artwork, curtains, and furniture with patterns are especially good for this purpose because if you stick with using the colors in a pattern, you will know that they'll go together.
  • Build items found in the same game packs tend to go well together. On the lower right-hand corner of the build screen, you can select "filter items" and click on the packs you want to use. You can also filter your items by styles and colors if you want help keeping your design consistent.
Draw Walls to Enclose Rooms: Since I was doing this apartment as a loft, I wanted to use as few walls as possible. I only enclosed the bathroom. The rest of the apartment uses dividers, furnishings or flooring to transition between areas.

Draw Walls to Enclose Rooms: Since I was doing this apartment as a loft, I wanted to use as few walls as possible. I only enclosed the bathroom. The rest of the apartment uses dividers, furnishings or flooring to transition between areas.

Useful Functions

  • Hit the "G" button on your keyboard to turn the grid-lines on and off. The grid lines are useful sometimes, other times they just obscure your view.
  • On the upper right-side toolbar, click the camera symbol, then click the box symbol to get an overhead view of your room. This can make it easier when you're spacing things out or drawing up a floor plan.
  • Hit the "b" button on your keyboard for a shortcut to the tool that draws walls. To draw walls, simply click on the spot you want to start a wall (you must follow the grid lines) and hold as you drag the mouse to where you want the wall to end. Click to release.
  • You may have noticed that items seem to "snap" into place on the grid. You can move items around freely and set them anywhere by using the Alt key. Click on an item and hold down Alt as you move it around without the grid restricting you.
  • You can also rotate items freely. In the upper right-hand corner, click the camera and click "The Sims 3" camera (if you're not already using it). Now click on an item and hold down the Alt key. You can spin it around by dragging it with the mouse until you are happy with the placement. Go back to "The Sims 4" camera if you're more comfortable with it after placing the item.
  • Start with larger fixtures and pieces of furniture first, such as cabinets, tables, beds or sofas. Leave finishing touches, like plants and clutter, for last.
I Like to Start With the Biggest Furnishings or Fixtures FirstI usually begin with kitchen and bathroom counters, tubs, major appliances, etc. Then I move to large furnishings, throw rugs and such. I finish up with small decorative details, like flow

I Like to Start With the Biggest Furnishings or Fixtures FirstI usually begin with kitchen and bathroom counters, tubs, major appliances, etc. Then I move to large furnishings, throw rugs and such. I finish up with small decorative details, like flow

Play Around With It All

It's so easy to move things around and switch things out, don't feel like every decision is a major commitment. A lot of times, when I build, I have an idea in mind. Then as I build, new ideas come. Before you know it, my finished project looks completely different than what I had initially thought of doing, but that's the beauty of the creative process. Let it happen; a room is just a work in progress until you decide it's finished.

Play around with your design—try furniture on weird angles, try mixing different colors and patterns, try mixing styles, or try combining build items to see if you can come up with something exciting.

There are so many great tips and tricks for building, but these will give you a great start.

The Finishing Touches Are My Favorite Parts: If you access the user gallery in the game you can find my builds under #positivelysimful. Download them for yourself and play with them. I'd love to see what you can do with them in your gallery!

The Finishing Touches Are My Favorite Parts: If you access the user gallery in the game you can find my builds under #positivelysimful. Download them for yourself and play with them. I'd love to see what you can do with them in your gallery!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Kenzie Cartwright