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I’m not a gamer, but I have been a loyalist to the Sims franchise since The Sims 1 way back in the day. One of my favorite ways to use the game is to not play with the people at all, but to build and decorate houses. Of course, when we had an offer accepted to buy our first house, you know I had to build it in The Sims first. Here’s how I’m using The Sims 4 to model and plan furniture for our new home!

Building the Floor Plan

We’ve previously lived in apartments, which all publish their floor plans online. This makes it super easy to build a scale model in The Sims without too much thinking. When you buy a house, however, unless it’s brand new construction it’s a little harder.

I start with mapping out room locations and sizes. I used the listing photos to determine the placement of major architectural features. Then, I aligned those feature walls to the grid in The Sims build mode. For example, a single window would be one square, where a double window is two. Then I make minor adjustments to make it all fit.

Placing the Permanent Pieces

In The Sims, things like bathroom facilities, kitchen counters, and built-ins are counted as furniture, not build mode pieces. But in a house, these are usually fairly permanent (without a major renovation). So I use these pieces to help make sure the rooms are approximately the right size and shape.

Bath tubs, refrigerators, and ovens are a fairly standard width. I continue to use the listing photos to make sure what I’m building looks like the correct proportions. In the game, pieces snap to the grid, but there are cheats and keyboard shortcuts you can use to override that and get more accurate placement.

Details and Finishes

Once the house is built and looks pretty good from most angles compared to the photos I have, I will add in some of the smaller touches. This gives me a blank slate before we start hauling in furniture. First, I’ll add in wall and floor coverings, trying my best to match the colors and molding.

In our new house, the downstairs is hardwood with carpets in the upstairs bedrooms. The walls are mostly an off-white with white crown molding. Luckily, these were pretty basic to match. If we were working with some complicated wallpaper, I’d match the feel and color the best I could.

Then, I add in lighting. First, I will put in any lights I see in the photos, light wall sconces or chandeliers. However, in The Sims, sometimes you want more light in the rooms for better balance. To get more light, I’ll double up some lights or add in invisible sources.

Large Scale Furniture Planning

When we move, we’re not buying all new furniture for this house. We currently live in a good-sized apartment, and we are going to be bringing all of what’s filling that with us. I started by finding similar pieces in The Sims, and placing everything we own out on the lawn.

Then, I slowly placed the items into their new homes. Like any interior design, it’s best to start with determining the purpose of the room, and building around that. For the living room, I first placed the television, and then the couch. In the master bedroom, I started with the placement of the bed.

Filling in the Details

When those space-defining pieces were in place, I was left with about fifteen bookshelves, chests, and accent tables. I’m a maximalist, so our homes are always filled with lots of trinkets and collectibles, displayed on these pieces.

I started filling in some of the extra space with these items. For example, we only have a single dining table, which I placed in the eat-in kitchen. That left the formal dining room empty. Since that room is right at the front of the house, I decided to add a desk and some shelves in there, and we can use it as a game room or bar space.

There are some limitations to designing this way. I didn’t bother with the really tiny details, like thinking about organizing the kitchen cabinets or even small appliance placement. The bookshelves are all filled with default items and not our personal ones. The mantel and tabletops are empty. But in the end, I like having the 3D representation of what our home might look like! Hopefully it will hold me over until our closing date.

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16 thoughts on “New House Furniture Planning in The Sims

  1. Love this idea! I have made scale maps in illustrator for every place I lived since I graduated. Love this 3d modeling solution! I’m going to redesign my kitchen in the Sims!

    1. Yes! It’s the best for large scale planning, and not super great for small details. So a big redesign is the perfect time to use The Sims.

  2. You might get a mean message from my husband about being responsible for his wife spending hours and hours playing this game instead of doing anything else. I seriously got addicted to this game when it first came out! I would stay up until 3 am at my friend’s house because I didn’t have it at home. This is so good!

    1. Oh my gosh, I totally relate! I can definitely get super into this game and waste many hours. That’s one of the reasons I like to do projects like this – so I am mixing my fun escape with a task that is necessary. Hope you have some time to play a little bit!

  3. A woman after my own heart! I used the Sims 4 to plan my house when I moved to a new city several years ago, and it absolutely saved me the headache of finding out that a piece of furniture/art/etc. didn’t fit with the new space. I also retroactively created models of my former apartment and childhood home in the Sims… call it nostalgia, but it was a really useful tool to preserve some cherished memories. Mazel tov on your house!!

    1. Yes, I love how it’s such an easy way to do a scale model without needing exact measurements. I love that you created all your old houses! I may have to go back and create some of my old favorites as well – Once this new house project is done.

  4. Okay, this is a BRILLIANT idea! I haven’t played Sims in years, but this would solve so many of my indecisive home owning decisions — how to decorate, paint, organize rooms. I love it!

    1. Thanks! It’s super quick and easy to switch something out. Like how would this look with different colored walls or wood floors?

  5. Great job designing your spaces! Not currently SIMS players ourselves but this brings back memories of when we were. Thanks for sharing your technique!

    1. Thank you! I don’t play the game as much as I used to, but I loved giving it a second life as a design tool.

    1. Do it! Even when I’m not doing projects like this, I love building and designing homes in The Sims. It’s so relaxing!

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