The Sims 4 Building Tutorials:

Advanced: Split Levels, Lofts, and Dormer Windows

by Norma Blackburn

Sims 4 Building How-To's: advanced building techniques

Once you are comfortable with basic building, why not try your hand at a few more advanced building techniques.

Split Levels and Lofts

Different levels in a build can be an interesting feature and are not too hard to do.

To make a split level or a sunken room, the rest of the house needs to be on a foundation, so let's start with building a rectangle room and lifting it up with a foundation. Now divide this into two rooms with a wall. Once you have two rooms, you need to use the sledgehammer tool and remove the floor from one room. This room will be the lower room. At this point, if we remove even one piece of wall to add stairs down to this lower level, it will no longer be seen as a room and the ceiling will be removed. Instead, we will replace some or all of the room with a fence.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: replace the wall between the two rooms with a fence
Click to Enlarge. Replace the wall between the two rooms with a fence

Now we can decorate both rooms how we like. The lower room will not have a floor, so you will need to choose a floor covering and drag it out over the area. Note that if you move the house later, the flooring will stay behind as it is not really part of the room. The default foundation has a ridge around the top, so you may want to select a different foundation type to get a smooth wall in the lower room. Add stairs to the upper level. You can add windows to the sunken room, but they can only be placed on the wall area and not the lower foundation part of the wall. Doors cannot be placed in the foundation part of the walls, so entry to the sunken room has to be via stairs.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: Windows allow light into the lower area
Click to Enlarge. Windows will let light into the lower area

The sunken room can be anywhere you want in the house. Simply build a room where ever it needs to be and remove the floor from that room and continue in the same way as before. Remember not to remove the wall, but replace it with a fennce.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: create a sunken room
Click to Enlarge. You can remove the floor from a room anywhere in the house to create a sunken room


Lofts are similar to split levels, but don't need to be on a foundation and are usually two storeys high.

Let's build a simple one bedroom loft to learn the basics. Start with a rectangle room and build a second level the same size. We need to divide the upper room in two but instead of just adding a wall straight from one side to the other, we will also have a cut-out for the stairs. If the walls are the short walls, this cut-out needs to be three squares.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: beginning of a loft
Click to Enlarge. The beginning of a loft

Replace the dividing wall upstairs with a fence and then remove the floor from the room that includes the little bit for the stair well.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: loft before stairs
Click to Enlarge. The loft before adding stairs

Add the stairs up to the loft. Remember to put the stairs through the bit of fence at the top. If you remove the fence the room area with no floor will no longer be seen as a room and the ceiling will be removed.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: adding stairs to the loft
Click to Enlarge. Add the stairs to the loft

You can now add doors and windows downstairs and decorate as you wish.

Sims 4 Building How-To's:

Dormer Windows

Dormer windows are usually associated with attic rooms. They let light into an otherwise dark area enclosed within the roof of a house. Let's take a closer look at the parts needed to build a basic dormer window.

Start by building the lower floor of the house. This can be any size, but ideally, it should be at least three squares wide and at least nine squares deep. Go up a level and build another room the length of the first room, but starting three squares in from the front and ending three squares from the back. This room can end more than three spaces from the back if you don't want back dormer windows, but it needs to be at least three squares deep.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: dormer

Now build a small room the size of the dormer onto the front of the upper room. This can be any width and can come out one, two or three squares. How far you come out from the main room will determine how much space you will have for the front window. Remove the wall between the dormer room and the main room. Here I have built a few different sized dormers to show how they change the look.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: gable roof on the upper level. tutorial.

Add a gable roof on the upper level but not out over the dormers. Make it so the gable ends are at the sides of the house. Now pick the half gable tool and place it on the lower floor at the front with the slope of the roof matching the roof on the upper floor.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: continuing our dormer windows

With this piece of roof selected, grab the arrow handle and drag it to the other end of the house. Don't worry about going through the dormers, when you look at that level, the rooms will have no roof pieces through them. Grab a full gable roof piece and place it on top of each dormer so that the gable end is facing the front. On the narrow dormers, you will need to pull the roof in to fit the smaller size. On the dormers that come out further, you will need to grab the back arrow handle and extend the gable roof section so that it goes into the main section of roof and you can no longer see the back end.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: making dormer roof pieces extend into the main part of the roof
Click to Enlarge. make sure the dormer roof pieces extend into the main part of the roof

Now you can add windows to the dormers. How wide they are and how far out they come will limit what windows you can use, but using the moveobjects cheat will give you more choices.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: none of the windows needed moveobjects on
Click to Enlarge. None of these windows needed the moveobject cheat

For wider dormers, consider using a very low half gable roof for a different look.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: dormers

You don't have to have dormers on both front and back of the house. It could be finished with just a full length of half gable to match the front or the roof might not extend as low as it does at the front. You may even go for a combination of the two.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: making a loft

Note that although I have said that the areas where the half gables go need to be three squares deep, they can be smaller or larger, but matching up roof sections becomes a lot harder when the size is changed.

Other Building Guides

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

How You Can Support The Site and Channel

If you like my sites and Youtube Channel, consider supporting me on Patreon to help me to continue. If you'd like to support my guides in another way you can use our Amazon link for your next purchase (if in the US). We also offer a paypal donate link so you can contribute directly.

Back to The Top

Check Out My Youtube Channel!

We now have a Youtube Channel with over 50 guides in video format to go along with the huge site I've already created. Check it out and consider subscribing if you like my style.

Share Tips and FAQs (26)

Our Sims 4 Community is the place to go for faster answers to questions and discussions about the game. Use the form below to share your own experiences and provide helpful tips to other readers. We are not affiliated with EA and cannot make changes to the game, nor fix bugs.

Buy Sims and any other item at Amazon to support our forum

Support The Site via Amazon
1 2 > Last
i just want to share a little of my experience playing the sims 4, i've tried this once on my tudor style house, but unlike in the sims 3, the surrounding walls in gable and half gable roof of the sims 4 is "undeletable". so in case of dormer windows, those surrounding roof walls are blocking the access to the dormer. maybe it's only me and my base game, is there anybody here suffer the same?
31st July 2015 5:02am
berli, I just had a play and was able to recreate your problem. I found that you need to have a ceiling in the dormer area before you add the gable. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I must have just been lucky in that I always had a ceiling when doing this. I might have to update this guide to reflect that requirement.
3rd August 2015 6:34pm
Simple & great information. I'd love to see the building section updated with basements and pools.
30th October 2015 11:00am
Check out section 2 (stairs and basements) and section 6 (Decorating - landscaping) They have the information on basements and pools.
13th November 2015 10:42pm
With loft houses, is there any way to use ceiling lights in the double-story section without them having to 'hang' from mid-air on the lower level?
21st December 2015 8:25am
Unfortunately, if you want light in the lower section, yur best bet is to use wall or stand lights. I thought that light (from lights or sunshine through windows on the upper floor) would shine down to the lower section, but seems I either dreamed that lol, or it has been changed
1st January 2016 9:27pm
When I was building the Dormer Windows, I would move the roof to the side, and it would go through the walls and be in the room, blocking it off and filling it with the continued roof. Is it supposed to be like this or am I doing something wrong?
25th December 2015 3:16pm
I'm trying to visulise what you mean and think I understand. Does it do that in live mode too? Often roof pieces merge into rooms while iin build mode, but once you go to live mode, everything is fine.
1st January 2016 9:17pm
Hi! Never posted here so first off, thank you SO much for all the info you provide! Smile That said, I recently purchased all TS4 games and am still in the process of remodeling my couples' "dream house," heh. In the basement I'd like to build a little stage for comedy/music. Nothing huge, but a small elevated level like TS3 allowed. I've been trying to do so with the tips here but nothing's working. Does anyone know if this is possible?

(Note: The home is already on a foundation, in case that matters. I assume the problem is it being in the basement?)
1st February 2016 10:47pm
hi guys,ok this is amazing.YOU guys are amazing
ps.KN I think you cant have a basement there I think I am not sure ok?
20th March 2016 11:26am
I built up a huge house and then decided I wanted to experiment with split levels. Keep in mind the house has already been built. After following your steps I hit a wall when it came to putting down flooring. No matter what I tried the game still would not read the lower level as a room. I didn't remove walls and there was a ceiling above. Does the room have to be a rectangle? Mine is a bit odd in shape. Or does this not work after you have already built the house and you are adding this as an after thought?
5th April 2016 2:48am
How do you move part of a household without moving everyone out?
20th April 2016 6:59pm
Carl's got a great page on moving sims.
Moving Sims Guide
20th April 2016 7:49pm
hi guys sorry to but in but I'm very stuck.. I'm new to the whole sims thing, but thoroughly enjoying it..i want to build a bathroom or bedroom on two levels. ( one room but have part of it raised).. I figured out how to do it on he lowest floor with my foundations on 3 but I want to do this in a room on higher floor within the house.. any help or tips would be great. thanks x
2nd May 2016 5:00am
It is just the same process as splitting the ground floor and first floor. Smile For example, if you had a 3 story house you could have a split level bathroom across the top floor and the 2nd floor by drawing a fence across the top floor and placing stairs up from the 2nd to the top.
4th May 2016 8:14pm
Alexandria Raplee
Does anyone know if there is a way to change the sunken room "wallpaper" to something else instead of foundation? Would love a way to use something other than what options we have for foundation designs. Thanks :)
2nd May 2016 8:42pm
Not that I know of in the vanilla game. Maybe some CC creator has made different foundation patterns that would look more like what you have in mind. There are some really great CC wallpapers out there so have a look around and hopefully someone has made new foundation colors too.
4th May 2016 8:16pm
Bethany Brown
Hi all, I'm having an issues when making a second story, open to below in one of my houses. From the upstairs everything is fine, and I can see into the downstairs living room. But when i'm downstairs looking up, I can't see the upstairs, only 'sky' as though I had no roof. The lighting and everything is okay, I just want to be able to see the two floors at once from the downstairs. Thanks in advance!
11th May 2016 6:27pm
That is just how the game works. If you put all the walls up and then go into 'tab' mode and move around with the arrow keys then you will have a 'better' view but in ordinary live mode, that is just what it looks like.
12th May 2016 7:11pm
I am having a problem with my house with a loft. For some reason it seems that removing the floor on the upper level is disabling the counters and the refrigerator and my sims can no longer cook as a result. I though I had solved the problem by replacing all the wall I had drawn freehand wit walls I made using the "L" shaped room tool. That worked for awhile. Next thing I know she was right in the middle of cooking, stopped, and started waving at me. She was all of a sudden no longer able to use the counter top she had just been using. Nothing changed...she just realized there was a loft again. Any suggestions on how I can fix this? Thank you.
11th September 2016 4:07pm
Did you use MOO to place the counters etc as that can cause issues. I've not had a problem with removing ceilings before (to make a loft) so I'm thinking that something else is causing the issue.
11th September 2016 5:09pm
Nooe, no MOO, at least not in the kitchen. I agree it was not the roof/floor. I replaced the floor and figured out it was not the counter she couldn't use but the stove. I tried debug the stove, no good. I deleted the hood, no good. I moved the stove away from the wall and it worked. Problem is I want it against the wall. I changed the place with the counter next to it and the stove works there (but not on the other side).

She eventually got frustrated and transformed the stove. It turned into a chair so we don't even have to worry about it anymore. She cannot afford another stove right now.
12th September 2016 7:06am
Well, least you found out what the problem was! I suppose your sim will get more use out of a chair!! Laugh
12th September 2016 9:27pm
I'm trying to build the split level. I replaced the wall with the fence like you said and placed the stairs but the fence is blocking the stairs. Sorry I can't explain it well LOL. If I try to remove the fence in front of the stairs it is no longer recognized as a room.
4th February 2017 3:16am
I do know what you mean. I've been having the same issue in my game. This feature seems pretty buggy right now. Just keep trying to place the stairs through the fence and eventually it happens. Try it the other way around too, place the stairs and then draw the fence.
4th February 2017 4:58pm
1 2 > Last
Page 1 of 2

Join in:

(never displayed)
Bold Italic Strike Quote Line Bullet Numeric Link Image
Smile Sad Huh Laugh Mad Tongue Crying Grin Wink Scared Cool Sleep Blush Unsure Shocked
Notify me of new posts via email.
Remember my name and email for future contributions.
I have read and understand the privacy policy. *

Support Us

Readers who use adblock or those who'd like to thank us for our efforts can now pledge $1/$5 monthly via Patreon to help us retain the freedom to do what we love to do.

New Videos and Guides

Armageddon Mod (Mod/CC Reviews).

How to Write Songs in The Sims 4Latest in The New How To Section : Learn How to Write Songs and Make Money with Music in The Sims 4. Also, How to Get Abducted by Aliens. We have a guide for using Pregnancy Cheats, Get a Job, Adopting a Kid and How to Cheat.

Alien Abduction in The Sims 4Alien Abduction: I made a Video Guide to Alien Abductions, Alien Babies in The Sims 4 Get to Work.

New How To Section : The new How To's section is updated with How to Get Abducted by Aliens. You can also learn how to use Pregnancy Cheats, Get a Job, Adopting a Kid and How to Cheat. It's meant to help newcomers or those with specific problems and will be greatly expanded over coming months.

New Charisma Video
I've created a fairly detailed Charisma Video Guide to accompany the normal Charisma text guide. My goal is to have every skill covered by the end of the year, if possible.

Seasons and Guide Updates