Tiny Homes – TSR Book of Building

Welcome back to part 4 of TSR’s Book of Building! Today, we’re learning all about one of the great challenges of Sims building–the elusive tiny home. Want to learn more about exterior building, interior design, or exterior decorating? Check out parts 1, 2, or 3! Without further ado, let’s get learning.

1. What does your house need?

Whenever I start building from scratch, I always ask myself what the family I’m building for might need. Since today I’m building a micro home, I know that I’ll need put everything this single Sim needs in a very small space (building for more than one sim in a micro home is a challenge that I am too scared to undertake right now). I know I’m going to need two rooms, a bathroom and a living space, and that’s all the space the 32 tiles will allow me to have. Now let’s start building!

2. Start with a room.

The first step of building a house for me is starting with one room. This especially applies to tiny homes, which can only have a specific number of tiles. Use the game’s menu to change the lot type to a tiny or micro home in order to see how many tiles you have left once you make this initial room–from there, you’ll be able to see how many you have left for bumpouts or expansions. Don’t worry about making room for places to put outdoor objects, since unlike with larger homes, your micro home is not likely to take up too much yard space. Once you have your tiny room, let’s make it look chic!

3. Add to the room.

Most houses aren’t shaped like perfect squares, so to make your house more realistic (and bigger), adding on to it is the next step. I like to add some angled walls to make the shape of the house more interesting to look at, as well as some standard square additions that can be turned into more rooms. Don’t add too much though! The game will tell you when you’ve added too much and moved out of the realm of “tiny home”. Once you’re done with all your additions, you can move on to the next step.

4. Satisfied? Add a front and back door.

After removing all the extra walls from my additions, it’s time to add a front and back door. Some builders prefer to wait for this, but having a clear entrance and exit point for my Sims really helps me to visualize what the final build will look like. I also like to add a foundation during this step. Not every lot needs a foundation, but I find that most house builds look better with them since most real life houses have foundations. Choose whatever door and window and foundation height suits your house, and then we can move on to floor plans.

5. Put down a floor plan.

Floor plans are supremely easy in tiny homes, thank goodness. Open concept living areas are pretty common in tiny homes, since you’re trying to make the space feel larger, so the basic floor plan in this house is just a living area and a bathroom (some people might prefer an open bathroom, but I think your Sims would like a closed off one better). Once you have your setup, it’s time to roof!

6. Add a roof.

Roofing can be a challenge, especially on massive houses, but on tiny homes they get quite a bit easier. Start by roofing the largest section of the house first. For me that’s the living area, so I placed a hipped roof on that section. For the rest of the house, I used smaller, half-hipped sections to cover the remaining rooms, making sure to connect them to the largest roof section that I placed earlier. I like to use the corner tool to pull out the roof pieces so they hang out a bit over the edge of the house. Once you’re done roofing, we’re on to windows.

7. Add windows.

Windows are one of my favorite parts of a build, since they really make the house start feeling like a place where your Sims will live instead of a collection of boxes. I try to make my windows match the doors that I pick, but you can do whatever you think looks good. Most rooms should ideally have at least one window to let some natural light in, but sometimes smaller rooms like bathrooms end up without them because of their limited wall space (also, who wants to be looked at in the bathroom?). Once windows are all placed, your exterior is practically done!

8. Add interior doors.


Deciding where you want your interior doors can be tricky, but in a tiny home with just one separate room, it gets much easier! Just place your bathroom door where you want it and be on your merry way :).

9. Put down flooring.

I like to put flooring down first for a few reasons. For one, it helps me to see just how much space I have to work with outside of the general floor tile count of the room. For another, it helps me to picture what the room’s final layout could be by making the room feel a bit more finished and less like a void that I’m staring into. In the living space, I went with a hardwood floor, and for the bathroom I put down marble tile. Once you’ve picked your flooring, it’s onto furniture!

10. Add required furniture.

There’s always gonna be furniture that your Sims absolutely need, and a tiny home means that a lot of that furniture is going to be pretty tightly packed. First, I put down a murphy bed/couch combo in order to maximize the lounge space. In the kitchen, I put down a stove, a counter, and a fridge. I also placed a toilet and shower in the bathroom. Now it’s onto additional furnishings!

11. Put down additional furniture.

The space feels so much more lived in now! By adding a TV set, more counters with a barstool for eating, and a desk area, the tiny home feels more like a home and less like an empty box. This is also a good time to put down rugs, which I’ve added in the living space and by the back door in order to help the different areas of the tiny home feel more defined.

12. Add decorations and clutter.

Decorating is probably my favorite step in this whole process! It makes a room feel much more “lived in” and realistic than the furniture alone does. You can add as many or as few decorations as you like, since it’s a very personal step of the interior design process. Some people like clutter all over every surface, while others like a single plant in their builds. I like my decorations somewhere in the middle–I’ve added some shelf decorations above the desk and some paintings on a wall, but there’s still room for the space to be usable. Decorated to your heart’s content? Let’s paint the walls!

13. Add wallpaper.

You may be wondering why I wait until almost the end of the decorating process to paint the walls. For me, it’s a bit of a habit but also a bit intentional. By waiting to paint the walls, I can place all the furniture I like without worrying that it won’t match the wallpaper I’ve chosen–I prioritize having furniture I like over whatever wall color I end up with. I also find it less distracting to work without any colors or designs on the walls, though your mileage with this method may vary. If you like putting up wallpaper sooner, that’s fine! Once you’ve got it up, we can move on to lighting.

14. Put in lighting.

While I build, I like to use small, bright lights (the super-subtle saucer light is my go-to) before I place any decorative lighting. Since there’s not a ton of space for floor lighting in a tiny home, I stick to hanging lights to illuminate the rooms. I added three mini lights over the kitchen island and a bigger chandelier over the living area, which helps to make each area even more visually distinct.

15. Add anything additional you missed indoors.

Your room is almost complete! Take a look around in live mode (it’s the best way to really get a feel for how the room will play) and see if there’s anything else you want to add–I only added a few tiny electrical outlets to make the space feel realistic. Sometimes I reach this step and I make a major change to the color scheme or decorations in the room. If this happens to you, or you just aren’t happy with what you’ve created, don’t worry! It’s just a part of the creative process (a very annoying part, but a part nonetheless). Once you’ve made the few (or many) tweaks that you feel your space needs, you’re all set! You can move on to the exterior!

16. Figure out what you want/need outdoors.

As with interior decorating, exterior decorating starts with determining what needs you have for the space. This Sim loves to garden and raises chickens, so I know for sure that I’ll need to add objects that allow that. She also loves grilling and dining outside when the weather is nice, so I’ll have to try and add a patio space too. Luckily, with a very tiny house comes tons of extra yard space, so this should be a breeze. Let’s get started!

17. Start with the big stuff.

Before adding my patio area, I added a fence–not every yard needs a fence, but I thought that this property would benefit from one. This is the step where you can add any big features you want in the yard–while I placed the planting areas and chicken coop, this is also the time where I would place a pool or greenhouse as well. These areas have large footprints (they take up a lot of yard space), so placing them first means you have enough room for them going forward instead of worrying about placing them later on (I have made that mistake too many times to count!). Once you’ve got your big stuff placed, you can start placing yard activities.

18. Add skill building activities to your outdoor space.

Sims have about a million skills that they can improve on, and why not take those skills to the great outdoors, especially in a tiny home? For this household, I placed a grill and a seating area for the grill. In a tiny home, especially a micro home, there isn’t space for a full table indoors, but outdoors has plenty of space and decorating potential too! Once you’ve got your skill-based objects placed, we can move onto decorating.

19. Add trees and bushes!

Landscaping can be one of the most fun–and one of the most challenging–parts of exterior decorating.  I like to start big and work down to smaller plants, so in this step we’ll just be adding trees and bushes. Unfortunately, it’s fall in my game, so the trees are a little sad looking and bare, but trust that when my game gets back around to summer they’ll provide lots of lovely shade. I made sure the trees I chose wouldn’t overwhelm the small house–a lot of the default trees are huge, so I usually opt to size them down before placing them. Once you’ve got your trees and bushes, we can move to smaller plants.

20. Plant some flowers.

Plants don’t look as radiant in the fall, but florals are still a beautiful touch at any time of year! I mostly opted to put flowers in front of the bushes, filling in any empty spaces and making the greenery feel more lush and healthy. Placing smaller plants also helps the tiny home look bigger. Alternating the type of flower you use is also an easy way to make your landscaping look more professional and “finished”, since the flowers won’t look super uniform. Once you’ve placed flowers, you’re almost done!

21. Add finishing touches and paint.

Finishing touches time! Time to make the yard feel lived-in. For this step, I opted to add a stone path around the yard to make the areas feel more intentional. The path I added is meant to look a little weathered and worn, so I used the round spray brush on half opacity to create the look I wanted. If you want a really clean, square path, using the square brush on full opacity is definitely the way to go–I actually did this out front and really loved how it made the front walkway look. Don’t be afraid to draw your paths a few different times to see what you like.

I like to wait until the end to paint my houses so I can see what color looks best with the features I’ve added. I went with a neutral green shade that looked good with the windows and doors I chose. Playing around with paint colors is a really fun way to end your builds and I highly recommend it–it takes away a lot of the stress of picking a color as well, because you already have your whole yard designed. Picking colors with a blank yard stresses me out a little too much now for me to ever go back to painting at the start.

22. Ready to play!

Thanks for reading the fourth edition of TSR’s Book of Building: Tiny Homes! Feel free to request what build guides you want to see in the future, and be sure to follow me on twitter at @TSRPaige. Interested in more build content? Check out Book of Building: Interiors or Room Reno: Exteriors. Looking for something else? Read our Room Reno: Y2K Bedroom or Room Reno: Luxury Lab!

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