If You Dream It, You Can Build It in The Sims 4
In one of my previous build mode articles, I gave you a complete introduction to the build mode screen and all of its functions. If you're not familiar with the build mode screen, you might want to take a look at that first.
Moving on now to exteriors, let's build a basic house using those tools. The easiest type of house to start with is a simple square or rectangle. This is all you need for building simple homes, whether you want your sims to live in a low-budget manufactured home, a quaint little cottage, a stately Greek revival house, or a sleek box-style modern house.
It all starts with a box.
Step-by-Step Simple Rectangular House
- Select the "Room Tool" (second from left on the "Wall Tools" menu) and drag it across your lot diagonally. This automatically puts up four walls with a foundation and a ceiling. Click on that structure to highlight it.
- Adjust the size of your home. Click the side arrows and drag the walls in or out to adjust the size of your space. You can always adjust this later, so just get a general size for now.
- Adjust the wall height. When your structure is highlighted, you'll see a square menu hovering above it. At the top of that menu, you'll find options for low, medium, or high walls.
- Reposition your home if you wish. By clicking on the crossed arrows, you can move the structure around and reposition it on your lot. Click the curved arrows to rotate the structure. Note: any parts that go over the edge of the lot will be clipped off.
- Adjust your foundation height. Click on the double up/down arrows in the center of the box and drag up or down to raise or lower the home's foundation.
- Put a roof on it. Click the "Roofs" tool and choose one of the options. For this style of house, it's best to choose a gabled, half-gabled, hipped, or half-hipped roof because they're square. Click the chosen roof, move it to the top of the structure, and click to place it down. If you're having trouble getting the roof on top of the house, try clicking the page-up arrow on the upper right corner menu and try again.
- Adjust your roof. Click the conical arrows on the four sides of the roof to drag it so that it fits your house perfectly. Use the boomerang-shaped arrows to adjust the roof overhang. Use the up-pointing arrow at the top of the roof to raise or lower the roof height. Use the round dots on the sides to curve your roof inward or outward, if desired.
- Give your house a porch, patio, or deck. Click one of the foundation tools and position the chosen shape next to your house to attach it. Click to put it down. The height of the platform will automatically adjust to the same height as your house foundation. Use the arrow tools on the sides to make your foundation larger or smaller.
Pull back and take a look at your work—you just built a house!
Of Course, Your House Isn't Done Yet
Now comes the fun part: giving your house some style. All this can be done by clicking different parts of the house image on the bottom left side of the screen.
- Click "Wall Patterns." Choose siding, paneling, brick, stone, or whatever kind of wall covering you want. Hold down the "Shift" key while clicking to cover the whole house at once.
- Click "Foundations." Select a pattern to cover your foundation. Note: you do not need to shift when applying foundations.
- Click "Floor Patterns." Holding down the "Shift" key, lay some wood, stone or other floor tiles down on your porch, patio, or deck.
- Click "Roof Patterns." Change the style and color of your roof. You can also click "Roof trim" and give the roof a nice finished edge in the color of your choice.
- Add stairs. You'll only need to do this if your house is on a raised foundation. Click the "Stairs" tool and select your preferred stair design and color. Move it to an empty area on your lot and hold down the left mouse key. Move the mouse in a circular motion to rotate the stairs to the desired angle, then move the staircase over to your porch, deck, or foundation and click. When you click, the stairs will automatically attach and line up to the proper height of your foundation.
- Click "Fences." Enclose your deck or porch. If you hover over the side of an open platform, the railing should appear along the edge. If not, or if you want to make a fence around the house on the ground, just click and drag it to draw your enclosure.
- Click "Stair Railing." Find a matching railing for your fence. Hover over the stairs and click; the railing will fall into any open space along the stairs.
- Click "Gate." Add a gate door to your fence, if desired. If not, just use the hammer tool at the top of the page to make an opening in the gate or railing.
- Add doors and windows. You may wish to tweak the placement of these later, but it can be helpful to get some on the exterior doors and windows up to help you decide on the interior floor plan.
Remember, if you don't like something, you can always click "undo," and if you change your mind, you can click "redo." If you really don't like how things are coming, press "Bulldoze Lot" to start over (warning: this action will demolish everything and cannot be undone).
The Annoying Thing About Doors and Windows
Doors and windows are functional objects, so they have very specific placement slots. Sometimes they just won't go in the exact spot you want them to go. Sometimes you may need to fuss with the placement to make it more aesthetically appealing.
Here are some things you can do:
- Make the wall a grid square longer (or shorter)
- Choose a different door or window (some take up only one panel on the grid, and others take two or even three, which may make your placement more aesthetically pleasing).
- Go for an asymmetrical look. Asymmetry isn't a bad thing; it all comes down to how well you balance it out.
Since it's so easy to move these items around, have fun experimenting.
*May 22, 2020 Update: Our door and window problem looks like it will soon be in the past. A new base game update coming in June for the new The Sims 4: Eco Lifestyle Expansion Pack will include the ability to freely move and place doors and windows! Note, you will not have to buy the expansion pack to get this upgrade.
Let's Get Fancy
Once you get comfortable with the tools for building a box-shaped house, take it to the next level. Use the same tools to build additional "boxes" that are just out in different directions. That's all a house really is; a series of connected "boxes" arranged in interesting shapes.
To make your multi-box design house even more interesting, use multiple roof pieces on different parts of your house. Play around with them until you find a shape you like. This is how a house goes from a simple square or rectangle to a more complex-looking shape.
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.
© 2020 Kenzie Cartwright