One of my favourite things to do in the Sims 4 is build houses using custom content, or CC. I always feel like it gives me a lot more creative freedom than the standard Sims designs. Plus, it’s easy to find stuff that looks more realistic and less cartoony.
I have a habit of picking designs that look high-end, like marble countertops and fancy fixtures. Because of this, I equate CC with higher-end homes, and my builds that use CC always turn into these intense things that my Sims have to work and save up for.
As fun as that is, I really hate the intro phase of that. Because let’s be honest, starter homes are never cute.
For a while, I got around that by starting my Sims off in apartments in San Myshuno, but that left me pretty limited. So I decided to challenge myself to build a starter home using CC that could pass my picky standards!
Here’s how that went.
Part 1: Working with the budget
The most important part of building a starter home is that it needs to be one your Sim can afford. This can vary depending on how you play; families tend to get more Simoleons to start because there are more people.
Because I typically start my Sims as single and will build relationships for them later on, I had 20,000 Simoleons to work with. And the further under I could keep it, the more spending money my Sim would have for bills if their career didn’t immediately take off!
This tight budget gets chewed up pretty quickly by things like kitchen counters and appliances, so it takes careful consideration of how big you want certain rooms to be.
It’s also important to think about your land price; even without any buildings, different lots come with different prices.
And the last big thing that chews up your budget is room size—which leads me to the next part.
Part 2: Considering size and structure
Rooms and walls are expensive in the Sims 4, which is why starter homes are pretty small. They’re usually one storey, with one little bedroom crammed in somewhere and a tiny kitchen.
That’s really not my vibe; I love letting rooms breathe. So my first challenge was getting enough space for what I wanted to do.
I left the main floor intentionally small and open. Walls cost unnecessary money! Then, I used the roof to double my usable space. While rooms cost money, roofs are free and work perfectly as attics!
Another way I saved with this build was on deck space. Most of the starter homes you get with the Sims 4 have a front porch, but I decided to use a trick I learned from tiny home building and extend the top of the stairs to create a little porch for free instead of wasting precious budget on a deck.
Part 3: Incorporating necessities
There are some core necessities every Sim will need, like a kitchen, a bathroom, a bed, and at least one form of entertainment. Oh, and don’t forget the sinks, mailbox, and trash cans!
Before I got started, I made sure to make a list of everything necessary for my Sim, and double-checked it with the requirements list for the lot.
But once that was done, I had my own list of necessities that I would need for them because of the way I love to play:
- A computer for their writing career, which I always start with because you can write up to four books a day and each gives you passive income for about a month after you publish
- An easel for their art career, which I always do after writing because it gives larger chunks of cash while you wait for all your book royalties to come in
Neither of those items is cheap, and definitely not for a starter house. So I did bend the rules a little, and used a couple of my CC packs that have intentionally set the prices on things ridiculously low. I think of it like getting a hand-me-down from a relative, or finding it in a thrift shop rather than buying retail.
Part 4: Adding nice-to-haves
Of course, every home needs some nice features that aren’t just all about the necessities!
Because of the limited budget with this build, I decided to add the nice-to-haves in the form of the house’s aesthetic, especially in the kitchen with its nice pink cupboards and chevron backsplash. Both were more pricy than they needed to be, but worth it.
The other big, totally frivolous buy that I did for this build was the back deck. I added it after the fact for the fun of having something that led to the river, where Sims love to hunt for treasures and fish. And of course, I had just downloaded a backyard set with a hanging bench, so I added some overhead slats and installed the bench for some lazy afternoon reading in the sun.