The Sims 4 Building Basics:

Build Mode Guide for Beautiful Homes

by Norma Blackburn

Build a House in Sims 4

For many Simmers, building is their favorite part of the game. For others, it can be a daunting task to build a house for their Sim household that is more than just a box with doors, windows and a roof. This guide will hopefully help the builder just starting out and may even help experienced builders with a few hints and tips.

The Very Basics of Build Mode

Enter Build Mode by pressing F3 or selecting the Build Mode button in the top right hand menu (the spanner and hammer icon). Once in build mode, you will see a grid on your land and in the bottom left corner will be an image of a small house. If you have previously been in buy mode, you will need to click on the small house icon at the top of the menu in the bottom left corner. By clicking on various parts of this house, different selection panels will come up, giving you access to all that is available for that area of build mode.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: Build Mode Interface
Build Mode Interface:
1. Walls and empty rooms12. Fences
2. Doors13. Gates
3. Windows14. Stair railings
4. Roofs15. Columns
5. Foundations16. Spandrels
6. Stairs17. Pools
7. Wall patterns18. Outdoor plants
8. Floor patterns19. Fountains
9. Roof patterns20. Terrain paint
10. Roof trims21. Styled rooms
11. Friezes and exterior trims22. Wall sculptures
23. Roof Sculptures

Getting Started - Understanding Rooms

Anyone familiar with building in previous Sims game will notice a change in how the game behaves in build mode. The game now recognizes rooms and will automatically add ceilings and floors to a room when it is built. This can be advantageous, but it can also cause headaches if you are not familiar with how it all works.

Firstly let's look at what a room is exactly as seen by the game. A room is a defined area that has either a floor or is enclosed completely with walls. You can remove the floor from a room and as long as it is enclosed by walls, it is still a room or you could leave the floor and remove all the walls and it will still be a room. However, if you remove the floor and even just one piece of wall, it is no longer considered a room. Rooms are the foundation building blocks in Sims 4, so let's take a good look at how to use this new feature.

Before we do that though, we will first look at the different ways to build a room. When we select the Walls and Empty Rooms tool in Build Mode, we have a number of options.

We can select the basic wall tool and draw out individual walls. This tool is also useful for adding a wall to split an existing room into two rooms.

Half walls can also be used to build a room. It does not matter what height the walls are. As long as the area is enclosed with walls, it is a room.

The room tool is used to drag out a square or rectangular room. Click where you want to begin and then click again when the room is the desired size.

The custom room tool is another way to build an unusual shaped room. Start by clicking on a point to start building. Drag the wall out to a point and click again. With each click, you will see a preview of the wall you are building. The room will be completed when you click on the starting point again. The wall can also be built even if it's not a complete room. Just return to the last click point that is shown by a ball and click once again there. Any walls you have drawn out will then be built.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: custom room tool
Click to Enlarge. It's easy to build unusual shaped rooms with the custom room tool

Room shapes are premade rooms in a particular shape. Once placed, you can drag the wall to make them larger, however, the triangle room will not retain its shape when enlarged and is really only useful for adding to an existing room.

Flat rooms are rooms without walls and are useful as decks and patios.

Decks are similar to flat rooms, but include a fence around the edge. Flat rooms and decks can be joined together to make larger rooms of different shapes.





Let's return to learning more about rooms.

We will start by building a simple 6 x 4 room. We can do this by using the room tool to drag out the room or by using the wall tool to build four walls. This is automatically seen as a room and a floor and ceiling will be added.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: features - enclosed room auto-adds floors and ceilings
Click to Enlarge. An enclosed room is detected and the game adds a floor and ceiling to that room

An interesting exception is when we create an area surrounded by rooms. In this case, the area bounded by the other rooms is not recognized as a room and a ceiling and floor will not be added. This is fine if you wanted a courtyard type area, but you will need to make it a room if you need the floor and ceiling. To make it a room, just use the room tool to drag out a room in the open area.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: how rooms are made
Click to Enlarge. Four rooms together do not automatically make a room in the middle

Let's go back to our simple 6 x 4 room. At this point, you could remove some or all of the walls and it would still be considered a room.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: Even with a wall removed, it's still seen as a room
Click to Enlarge. Even with a wall removed, this is still seen as a room

Now let's add a bit on to our room and change its shape. If we build the walls out from the hole in the wall, the game doesn't see this as being part of the room and will not add a floor or ceiling to it, so we have to fix that ourselves.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: this is not recognized as a room
Click to Enlarge. This extension is not recognized as a room and clicking on it will only highlight sections of the wall

The simplest way to fix this is to build a wall where the original wall used to be. Once the wall is there, the extension will be seen as a complete room and when that happens, we can remove the wall and the two rooms will be combined as one room. Of course, you could just build the extension, then remove the wall.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: adding a wall and rmoving it combines two rooms
Click to Enlarge. Adding a wall between the two areas and then removing it will see the rooms combined as one

Using the select tool (H) in the top toolbar, click anywhere in the room and the whole room will be highlighted. Once the whole room is highlighted, there are a number of things we can do.

Resizing

Grab an arrow on any wall and pull or push it to move that wall. This can change the shape and size of the room. Note that if a room is furnished, moving the walls will also move any furnishings that are close to the wall. If there is not enough room for the furniture in the newly sized room, the furnishings will be moved to the household inventory.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: pull or push to move the wall in or out and resize the room
Click to Enlarge. Pull or push an arrow on any wall to move that wall in or out to resize the room

Floors

With the whole room selected, you can also add and remove the floor. Use the select tool to highlight the whole room then click again anywhere on the floor. A pop up bubble will tell you to remove the floor. Move the cursor over the command and click to remove all the floor in that room. Doing so will reveal the natural ground cover for rooms on ground level and on rooms on upper levels, the room below will become visible.

If your room doesn't have a floor already, you can select the room and you will see a yellow outline around the base of the room. With the room selected, click anywhere on the floor and you will get a pop up to build the floor. Move the cursor over the command and click to build the floor in the room.

The sledgehammer tool can also be used to delete a floor. Using the sledgehammer will remove all the floor of that room.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: building and removing a floor in just the click of a button
Click to Enlarge. Building and removing the floor with just the click of a button

Note that rooms on ground level do not need to have a floor. You can place floor coverings straight onto the ground, however, if you move the room, the floor coverings will stay where you placed them. Rooms on upper levels have to have a floor (or the ceiling of the room below) before you can add floor coverings.

Ceilings

Ceilings are something else you can add or remove when you have a room selected. Use the select tool to highlight the room and then go up to the next building level (page up) Similar to the floor view, there will be a yellow border around the outline of the room. If the ceiling is already there, click anywhere on the ceiling to get a pop up to remove the ceiling. Move the cursor over the command and click to remove all the ceiling for that room. If there is no ceiling and you want to build one, click anywhere on the yellow border to get the pop up to build the ceiling. Click on the command and a ceiling will be built on the room.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: removing or adding a ceiling
Click to Enlarge. Building or removing the ceiling

Moving a Room

One of the better features to be added to build mode is the ability to move an entire room anywhere on the lot. Select a room and you will see a selection menu in the middle of the room. Hover over it and you will have the choice to change the height of the wall, to rotate the room or to move the room. Click the move room icon and you can then move the room to any place on the lot - just click again when the room is in the desired spot. All the furnishings and wall and floor coverings will be moved with the room. This is a great feature to use if you have a room that you like, but would like it in another spot. No need to rebuild it elsewhere, just pick it up and place in the new position.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: move an entire room anywhere on the lot
Click to Enlarge. Move an entire room to anywhere on the lot

There are a few points to note about moving a room. Doors and windows that were between two rooms will be moved with the room.

If you place the room down on anything on the lot, those items will be removed to the household inventory and you will be refunded or charged for any changes made to building materials. Even plants in your garden will be placed in the inventory.

Half walls
Although not restricted to just half height, half walls add more flexibility to buildings. They can be used to divide rooms into smaller areas and work well to hide the back of appliances in island counters. They could also be used to close in porches.

Half Walls in The Sims 4
Click to Enlarge. There are five different heights for half walls

Rooms without Walls

Another room that the game recognizes is a room without walls. After selecting walls and empty rooms from the building menu, select one of the flat or deck shapes and place it. These will add just a piece of floor in the shape that you choose. If you chose a deck, a fence will be added around any open boundaries of that room. Like any recognized room, you can use the select tool and highlight the whole room. Once selected, you can add a ceiling to the room just as you do with a room that has walls and you can pull and push 'walls' to change the shape and size of the room. You can also select an area of wall and build a wall or a fence there. The option to remove the floor is also available when you highlight one of these rooms but it is worth noting that if you remove the floor on a room that is not enclosed all the way around by either fences or a mix of fences and walls, the area will no longer be classed as a room.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: rooms can be decks with or without fences
Click to Enlarge. Rooms can also be decks with or without fences

Foundations

By default, when we start a fresh building, there is no foundation under that building. If you want to raise it up, select the foundation tool in the building menu. Here you will find a slider to adjust the height and a selection of finishes for the foundation. Foundations and terrain interact with one another as of November 2018 allowing different heights for sections of a home. See the Terrain Tools page to learn more about this.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: foundation height slider and selection of finishes
Click to Enlarge. Foundation height slider and selection of finishes

Grab the slider and move it up. The higher you move it, the higher the foundation will be. Foundations are built across the whole lot, so it is not possible to have one building at ground level and another building on the same lot on a raised foundation.

Choose a finish you want for the foundation by hovering over one of the finishes and then clicking on the palate to enlarge it. Click the color of your choosing and then click on the foundation to change it. Changing the color only does so on the foundation under one room. You will need to move around the house to change all pieces of foundation. This feature could also be used to have different finishes on different parts of foundation.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: foundation finishes should be added to each room
Click to Enlarge. Foundation finishes need to be added to each room

If you have a basement, any stairs you already have or stairs you build up from there will be automatically placed through the foundation, however, if you alter the height of the foundation, the stairs will be adjusted and could be removed if there is not enough room for the new staircase.

Other Building Guides

Sims 4 House Building
Building Cheats
Counters and Islands
Decorating Inside Homes
Decorating Outside/Landscaping
Island Living (Stilt Foundation, Glass Floors)
Roofs
Split Levels and Lofts
Stairs and Basements
Terrain Tools


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Comments (49)

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New
cheatsfansays...
wish there was a mention of building cheats. they always help me.
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Admin
Playalotsays...
They are on the building cheats page here (click). Also have a few or the generic cheats here on the Main cheats guide
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New
AbiDeParkssays...
Hello,
I've been having this problem where I can't seem to get onto the pre-made rooms once I click on it. How do you solve this?Unsure
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New
Carlangassays...
did you checked if those rooms have doors?
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New
Noxyoursoxsays...
I noticed that when placing stairs next to a wall, friezes on the outside of the wall dissappear where there are stairs. The behavior of friezes in general is frustrating, any tips?
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Senior
Playalotsays...
No tips, it's a known bug unfortunately.
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Regular
Elizabethsays...
it will never let me in ive bin chriing to do it for a long time now
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New
Karasays...
I learned a new trick (new for me), I wanted to make a patio roof outside look like a grate but could not figure out how the guy in the youtube video made his. I finally figured out how to do it, to make a house look aesthetically nice, instead of building a whole upper level, use the lowest height half wall, make them a tile apart for the length you wish, then use the hammer tool to smash the floor out. Then you can add a roof to the rest of the house but that part I made can now be used as a patio roof.

It allows the light in and makes your house pleasing instead of seeing a huge bulky second story with a roof.
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New
Juniorsays...
I've read a lot your guide I don't think you've put enough about the xbox one it has different controls and is missing certain tools.
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Admin
Playlotsays...
That's because this was made in 2014 way before it was available on console. There are no plans currently to redo all the guides to include Xbox specific information however we do have a console section on our forum where you can ask questions
Console Section
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New
Christinasays...
Hi, I'm not sure if this is the right place to be, but I recently moved my game onto an external hard drive and now all of my houses are empty and when I try to put in furniture it disappears. Any way to fix this?
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Admin
Playlotsays...
Oh dear, it sounds as though it may be this bug Furniture Disappearing. Have a read through the bug reports and see if this is what is occurring in your game.
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New
RedMalliesays...
Thank you for your Tutorial.
Please a question about wall coverings.
When I choose a wall covering (siding) with a brick, stone, or wood trim on the left or right side, the game applies these to the outer corners of the building (using the whole room tool). I tried then to add the trimmed walls to some other corners or walls, and I can't. I changed the whole wall too for the individual wall tool, but still, I can't add trims. Is there a Tutorial about overriding the auto-trimming?
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Admin
Playlotsays...
No, we don't have a tutorial for that. I don't know how to overcome that issue. Maybe place a completely different siding on just that section and then try the one you want over the top?
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New
RedMalliesays...
Thank you. I will try that.
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New
SimsSammssays...
When I try to fence in my yards, it automatically adds the foundation. Then when I add a gate it sits on top of the foundation. The Whalen house in Willow Creek has bypassed this problem some how. What do I do to remove the foundation or to put a gate through it?
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Senior
Playlotsays...
Draw the fence towards the house, not away from it, that way there will be no foundation. You can place gates where you want them using the MOO cheat. Guide to Cheats
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New
mariam grishikashvilisays...
SmileSmilei don't now
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New
CrazyCatLady1402says...
I’m fairly new to Sims 4, got it for my birthday in February, and I’ll admit, my houses....well...they weren’t the best.
But I kept practising in build mode and now my houses look pretty amazing. If I do say so myself. (In comparison) I don’t upload to Gallery, but I might be considering it. (Only thing I uploaded was a pretty awful house) Should I do it again?
(EA Gmaer tag is CrazyCatLady1402)
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New
PurplePinyatasays...
Yeah! I want to see if you’re exaggerating your abilities. Do have a question though? How do you make an underground house? Have u made one?
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New
Osiejsnskaksndbsays...
Is it possible to build fences on the furthermost grid lines. MadHuh? Any cheats?
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Senior
Playlotsays...
No, it is not possible and there are no cheats or mods that make it possible. The building limit on all lots is one block in from the edge.
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Regular
Joriasays...
I've forgotten how to do half and quarter tiles on floors, please help.Blush
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Admin
Playlotsays...
Select the floor you want and press Control and F. Make sure you're in single tile mode and not the whole room mode
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New
Shelonsays...
SadI'm trying to build a pool under the house but first I'm trying to put a door so that way they can get to it but it keeps saying "footprint intersects terrain"how do I get rid of that so I can add the door.
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Admin
Playlotsays...
Try making the basement space one block smaller to allow room for the door to open maybe? Difficult to tell without seeing what you are actually building. Any door you to place will have to be into another basement room and access will need to be via a stair from within the house or at the least from an outside room that leads down into the basement.
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New
Janesays...
how do i rotate an objectCrying
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Admin
Playlotsays...
While holding the item with your mouse you can use the arrow keys. Or if you play with the sims 3 camera you can use the middle mouse key and rotate the mouse.
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New
Lupinsays...
I am trying to make a foundation on a house but the slider does not show up. How do i fix this?
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Admin
Playalotsays...
Carl has a detailed Guide on terrain tools/foundations here so that should help you. Basically when you click on the house you should be able to grab the pointer and slide it up/down changing the foundation height. The guide shows this in a gif. so you can see what to look for. Guide to Terrain Tools 
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New
Nancy J Sextonsays...
can someone help me? i'm trying to join you guys but its not loggSading me in.HuhMadCryingScaredSleepUnsureShocked
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Admin
Playalotsays...
Did you mean you were trying to join the Forum? If so it may be that MrsFlynn is still processing your inquiry. Smile
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New
Ruth Craigsays...
For some reason and for while now I can not build a foundation. There is no foundation slide bar to adjust for a foundation. If I place a home with a foundation its fine but I can not build one. If I move one of the rooms from the downloaded building and set it down the foundation disappears. Help.
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Admin
Playalotsays...
This was changed in the terrain tool manipulation patch. Take a look at this guide page and as you scroll down the page you'll see the portion towards the bottom that directly informs you about the new way foundations are made: Terrain Tools
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New
Jolynn Gonzalezsays...

I am trying to learn to build something other than the dreaded box.I am seeling this about foundation s ..my game isnt offering the foundation hieght tool .Why would it not show for me ?

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Admin
Playalotsays...

Have a read through this guide to the new Terrain Manipulation Tools. You'll be able to see how the new foundations work as you read down the page.

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New
ladylaurelsays...

Had to resort to playing online version of S4 until I can reinstall on new computer. Trying to add foundation to existing rooms but slider is not an option. Suggestions?

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Admin
Playalotsays...

On this page of the guide Click you'll find a Terrain Tools guide, scroll down until you see the heading "Terrain Tools & Different Foundation Heights" and you'll see a picture/gif that illustrates how to change foundation heights.

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New
autoguysays...

The interface changed. Make the room on the ground. Click to highlight the room as always. In addition to the horizontal resize arrows, there is now a arrow set pointing up and down floating in the center. Grab that and move it up and down and set the foundation height you want. And yeah, this needs updating. I was scratching my head too.

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Admin
Playalotsays...

We have an updated guide here (click) on how foundations and terrain manipulation tools now work.

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New
Jennsays...

I am so grateful for this guide. I was trying to build something way beyond my knowledge last night and could not figure out the rooms, removing ceilings and floors thing. Now that I read this I understand what was happening and how I need to do it, thanks!!

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New
lulucasy25says...

So i want to ask sometimg, hopefully there is someone would help me with this problem. My sister accidentally put some big bed in the center of apartment lot, so my sims can’t go outside because of the bed, so is there any recommendations how to fix or delete the bed?

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Admin
Playalotsays...

Best bet would be to use the T.O.O.L mod and delete it TOOL Mod link

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New
Jeanettesays...

I love it



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