Although The Sims 4 has made building houses better than ever, it’s still a bit tricky to make your dream home. Here are a few tips to help you graduate beyond just making a box with windows.

There Are A Few Hidden Options For Roofing

Roofing is a pain in the ass. Roof pieces never seem to fit together in the way you want, leaving you with a roof that should not be seen by man. One huge annoyance I used to have with putting roofs on a Sims house was eaves. If you’re using a gabled roof, it has these little flaps that hang over the edge of the house. Those are called “eaves.”

This house looks like it’s off to a good start, but by placing that half gabled roof down, I’ve made myself a fun logic puzzle for finishing the roof. How can I blend this smaller roof with the roof that’ll go on top of the rest of the house? I’ll tell you how: hold shift to adjust one of the eaves at a time:

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And then hold the alt key for more fidelity while adjusting the roof’s pitch.

Buildings Can Have Different Foundation Heights

This is new with the update for the Get Famous expansion. It used to be that every separate building on a lot would have to be on the same foundation level. If you wanted to make a main house with a porch, but then just a ramshackle shed in the backyard, you’d be out of luck, as the shed would also have to have a foundation like the other building on the lot.

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Now, as long as the two seperate buildings are fully enclosed—meaning either they’ve got four walls, or you’re using the flat “foundation” pieces—each building can have a different foundation height.

I took the opportunity to go wild on renovating the Munch house, and gave them a little gazebo. Take a look at how it’s a different height than the mansion itself. I think it looks pretty classy.

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You Can Make L-Shaped Stairs, Kinda

This one is tricky and probably won’t work right on the first try. Because different buildings can have different heights, players have figured out how to trick the game into building staircases in shapes other than just straight up and down.

The thing is, the game really doesn’t want to do this. I had to fiddle for about an hour to get it to work right. But it can be done, so if the game’s giving you trouble, just try again.

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First you’ll want to place your foundations. To make these stairs, you want to arrange your foundation pieces in the shape of an L. You need one square about four notches high, another at eight, and then the last square is actually made of walls, at the smallest wall height. Place the stairs on these pieces, like this:

If nothing fits exactly the right way on the first try, try fiddling around with the heights of the foundations, bringing them up or down, or moving each square closer or farther apart from each other. This is actually the easy part, if you can believe it.

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The hard part is enclosing these stairs in a room. You won’t be able to use the room tool, which allows you to manipulate an already enclosed square of walls, so use the plain old wall tool. When I tried this, I could get the walls all the way around, and then the game would give me an error reading “conflicting block clusters” when I tried to place the last piece of wall. I finally found success by drawing a small section of wall elsewhere on the lot, then moving that piece of wall to fill the gap in my room.

The game won’t recognize this as an enclosed room, but the only issue that’ll pose is with painting, and that’s not even that big of a deal. Instead of using the shift key to automatically fill the room with a paint color, just drag your mouse across each wall.

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Put Your Furniture Anywhere

This tip isn’t complicated. The Sims 4 is built on a grid system, so objects snap to place on that grid by default. That leads to awkward-looking stuff like garbage cans sitting conspicuously far from walls.

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If you type control+shift+C, a box you can type in will appear in the upper left corner of your screen. If you type bb.moveobjects on, you’ll no longer be as constricted to the grid, though objects will still snap to it. If you hold the alt key while you’ve selected an object in build mode, now you’ll be able to place it anywhere. If you hold alt and the left mouse button, the game will let you rotate the object freely. It’s how I got this backyard movie area looking so cute.

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Don’t Forget To Landscape

So, you’ve built some L shaped stairs, fit a roof on top of your house, and decorated every inch with objects nestled in every corner. The last thing to do is landscape.

The Sims 4 now has terrain editing tools, which you can use to give your backyard some dimension, but I honestly don’t use it all that much. If you’ve planned for it ahead of time, you can have fun building retaining walls for the hills and valleys on your lot. While the terrain tools won’t allow the earth to envelop walls, it will swallow parts of foundations and roofs. To make this mediocre retaining wall, I made a thin room, raised its foundation, and then used terrain tools to submerge the foundation in the ground a little.

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I think that adding plants and trees is what makes a house in The Sims 4 feel like a home. (I also feel that way about real life houses, which is why I belong to a subscription service that sends me two succulents a month. Sims plants are easier to care for than real ones, though.) In order to make your garden look like something off of HGTV, make sure bb.moveobjects is on, and then try layering plants on top of each other.

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Here, I placed a tree, free rotated it to the angle I wanted, then started placing different grasses, bushes and flowers around the base. Plants aren’t very well behaved. In life, they just grow where there’s adequate light and water. While some people like manicured gardens, I like the wildness that comes with a garden whose gardener isn’t quite up to the task of regularly pulling weeds.

I used to hate building houses in The Sims 4, but now that I’ve seen what the game can do, I’ve come around to it. If you’ve got the right inspiration and a little bit of grit, you can use The Sims 4 to make your dream house—or at least, something Instagram worthy.