The Sims 4 Building Tutorials:

Up and Down: Stairs and Basements

by Norma Blackburn

Sims 4 Building How-To's: making basements and two or three story homes

Eventually, every builder in the Sims will have the need to make a building larger. When we run out of room on the lot, we can always build up or down. Building up, we can build up to four levels of enclosed rooms. A fifth level is possible, but this level can only be a deck. Building a ceiling or walls on this level is not possible.

We can also build down with basements. Two levels of basements are possible meaning that our Sims have seven levels of space at their disposal.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: building up and down gives Sims more room
Click to Enlarge. Building up and down gives a Sim a lot more room

Building up is very easy, just use the wall or room tool to draw out the shape of the new room on the next level up. When using the room tool, the starting point has to be over an existing room or wall on the level below, but it can continue out over nothing. When using the wall tool however, all walls you build must at least start over an existing room or wall.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: an upper level can extend into thin air
Click to Enlarge. An upper level can extend out into thin air

Although upper levels need to have something below them when being built, once they are complete, any lower building or supports can be removed resulting in an interesting look.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: defy gravity with a floating room
Click to Enlarge. Defy gravity with a floating room


Once we have an upper level, we need to add stairs so our Sims can reach these new levels. Stairs are added from the lower floor up and will automatically remove the necessary floor tiles for the stair well. We can also add stairs to an upper level from outside.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: stairs can be added indoors or outdoors
Click to Enlarge. Stairs can be added inside or outside

Select stairs from the build menu and hover over the different styles to select the color palate for each style. Once selected, just move the staircase around until it's in the correct location and click to place. If you want wider stairs, select the placed stairs and grab the side arrow and pull out or to the desired width. The game will remove any extra flooring for the wider stairs or add flooring if you make wide stairs narrower.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: make stairs wider
Click to Enlarge. Grab the arrow to make stairs wider

If you have built a set of stairs and decide that you want a different style, there is no need to remove the first set and rebuild. Simply select the new stairs and place over the top of the existing stairs and click. The new stairs will replace the old ones and you will be charged or refunded the difference on price.

When we add stairs, we need to remember that more space will be needed if we have higher walls. With the walls set at the lowest height, 3 spaces for the stairs is required plus an extra square at the top and the foot of the stairs for a landing. For medium height walls, 4 squares for the stairs is required and 5 squares is needed for the tallest walls.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: higher walls require more space for the stairs
Click to Enlarge. The higher the walls, more space for the stairs is required

An interesting thing to note with stairs, is that although they are placed from the lower floor up, if we increase the height of the walls after the placement of stairs, the top landing will remain in the same spot and the lower landing will be moved. This means that if there is no room for the stairs to move out to the required length, they will be removed with the increase in wall height and you will need to replace them.

Stairs through Fences

When placing stairs, if there is a fence at the top landing, the stairs can still be placed and a piece of fencing will be removed to allow placement. This only works with fencing and not walls. Walls need to be removed before adding stairs.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: stairs need to be placed
Click to Enlarge. Even though there is a fence here, the stairs can still be placed


Building down into a basement is very easy and can be done in a couple of different ways. The first way is to select the Wall and Empty Rooms option in build mode and then select the basement tool. Drag out the size room you want and that room will be created on the level below. You can also draw your basement using the custom basement tool. This tool works the same way as the custom room tool and is handy when you want your basement to match the size and/or shape of the house or room above.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: use the custom basement tool
Click to Enlarge. Use the custom basement tool to trace around the outline of the room above

The second way to build basements is to go down a level (page down) and just build a room wherever you want on that level. Using this method, you can create different shaped rooms or import styled rooms from the catalogue or rooms from the gallery.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: build rooms where ever you want in basements
Click to Enlarge. Build rooms wherever you want in a basement or place a styled room

Basement rooms work in the same way as rooms above ground. Select the room and you can pull and push wall as well as add and remove floors and ceilings. Removing a floor in the basement will reveal the dirt floor or the level below if there is a room underneath. Removing the ceiling from a room on the first basement level will open that room to whatever is above it.

Sims 4 Building How-To's: remove the ceiling from a basement to make an open pit in the yard
Click to Enlarge. Removing the ceiling from a basement can create an open pit in your backyard

It is possible to remove the ceiling from a lower level basement, however the game seems to react in strange ways when you try to do this. The easiest way is to remove the floor from an upper basement room that is over the lower level where you want to remove the ceiling.

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
Platform Tool

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Comments (11)

I love your site, and find all of your tips useful. Thank you so much for all of the hard work you have put into it.
Glad it was useful to you. Smile
How do I get walls under my stairs? The ones that go diagonally underneath? I cannot figure out how to do this and it is driving me bonkers! Thanks in advance!
Do you mean the walls that fil in the area under the stairs? Those walls are added when you build the stairs, but not all stairs have them. The Ladder-Like Stairway, The Modern Floating Stairway and The Industrial Strength Railing System (from Get To Work) do not have these walls. If you have removed the wall from under a staircase or have originally placed a staircase that does not have the wall, the only way to get the wall is to demolish te stairs and build a new set that has the wall. Just replacing an existing set will not add the wall, you have to demolish the original set first.
I still not understand how to remove the ceiling of the basement .. Shocked
Remove the ceiling from a basement, the same way as you would a normal above ground room, just click on the room and then go up a level. You should then see the yellow line around the top of the walls. Click that to get the remove ceiling option.
How do you make the steps up to a front porch? I can't figure it out!
Just select the stairs you want to use. Use the < or > keys to rotate them to face the right way and just put them up against the porch. At first, you will see a full staircase, just move it toward the porch and next, you will get the steps plus a one square landing. If you don't want the landing, just move them closer to the porch and you will end up with just the steps.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I could not figure out how to get the stairs to rotate and they weren't doing it automatically like the couches etc. Your tip about the < and > saved my life!! :D

Maryanne McDowellsays...
Love your tips!! How do you do split level stairs please?
Just the same way but make sure you draw the fence right through the top of the stairs or sometimes the rooms do not register as rooms to the game and so the light don't work as intended.
If you are trying to stack stairs on top of each other start on the lowest floor and place them up one floor at a time.
Lauren Williamssays...
Hey, I'm trying to add stairs to make a second story but when i do it make my room go dark or blue, please help me, it goes from orange or bright to blue and dull when ever i add stairs, I've tried with all the stair and the same things happens please help me?
Make sure you have drawn a fence over the start of the stairs on the 2nd floor, this ensures the 2nd floor is actually a room. Also have you build a ceiling to the second floor?
Samantha Seabrooksays...
I'm getting so irritated! I'm trying to make a back porch on my Sims 4 and I make the porch and the stairs won't attach, except for on the side where they point backwards (or towards the front) and I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Help please
Without a screenshot it is a bit tricky to tell what is exactly going on but stairs will not place on any diagonal. They also need enough room to place.
I want to place stairs in the basement next to the outer wall. But i also want a foundation. But i noticed that every time I click to raise the foundation, the stairs I have placed auto delete even with 'moveobjects ON' Sad. Is there a way around that?
Well, nevermind. I don't know what I was doing wrong, but it is allowing me to place stairs in basement next to the outer wall without moveobjects on. I really have no idea what was going on before. Do you? Thanks and Happy 2017 Thanksgiving
You have to decide on the level of foundations you want first, then add stairs afterwards.
Hi i just downloaded sims 4 i saw ur tips then i attempted to make a really cool and big house thank u for these tips
Kylee Lopezsays...
How do I make a third floor?
Use the arrows (top right of screen when in build mode) to move the camera up another floor then just use the room tool to make another box on top of the last floor you built.

I am building a bathroom right behind a staircase (which has diagonal walls on it) but the walls of the bathroom and the stair walls don't align. The stair walls are pushed in a little if that makes sense. Is there a way to fix it so the whole wall is flush?


I do know what you mean but the only way around that is to redraw the walls so that even the wall behind the stairs is drawn again - so almost like drawing a wall over a wall. Using the wall tool and not the room tool.

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