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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.