Once you have your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island decked and and full of features, you may still find it somewhat lacking. If you’re anything like me, you’re fine at that part of the process, but actually decorating them can be a problem. How do you make that trading post, that gathering hub, or your island entrance truly feel alive? The answers are relatively simple really, though it’s going to take some practice (and a lot of item cataloging) for my island to truly live up to some of the ones we see online. Here are a few tips that will get you started.
More Animal Crossing: New Horizons
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- 15 Best Custom Path Designs for Your Animal Crossing: New Horizons Island
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons Heart Crystals Guide – How to Get & Spend Them
Come Prepared With Lots of Small Items
The devil is in the details, as they say. A lot of what makes your island feel truly realistic is the inclusion of lots of small items. Think about it. When you stumble upon a camp site in real life, sure there may just be a table, a fire pit, and some chairs, but that changes fast. You’ll quickly have some items on the table, some coolers around, tents, etc.
Try getting the general structure of your island features down first then go to town on small, decorative items.
Download a Few Transparent Custom Designs
Speaking of small details, one way to make your island pathways feel more natural is to add some fallen leaves on the ground. Since New Horizons reduces your island ranking for having weeds, this is really the only way to get the same effect without suffering a penalty.
Try downloading these fallen leaves and using them throughout your island!
Creator Code: MA-2666-2445-8950
Item Code: MO-V2X6-7LG8-XSSG
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Abnormal Paths
One reason you may find your island lacking is because it feels to sterile and dry. Switch things up by making your paths curve randomly. Round those edges and make half turns that don’t really accomplish anything other than varying things up.
Some users have even taken to just making stone circles in their grass to define paths. Who said a path had to be completely solid and made out of one material?
Nature Is Rarely Symmetrical
While many players do love a symmetrical island, that’s not really the norm when it comes to the real world. There are plenty of places where civilization is asymmetrical and you can choose to embrace that with your island. Not every villager yard needs to have the same features, shape, or objects. Switch it up! Change shapes!
Layer Your Walls With Hedges, Fences, and Slats
If you’re not particularly creative like myself, it can be really easy to fall into the trap of only using one of the above at a time. Experienced players know the variety that comes with combining them. Don’t just line your paths with either hedges or fences, use both! Slap down some fences and make gardens behind them. Add sporadic bushes and line your cliffs with hedges. Both will help vary things up and make them feel more natural.
If you’re really feeling limited, grab some of those slats that the Nooklings sometimes sell and apply custom patterns to them. They can be used as fake glass windows, a trellis with vines, and basically anything else you can think of!
These are just our initial tips. There are surely dozens of tips that experienced players have when it comes to making their island shine. Have your own? Know of some players who have shared theirs? Leave a comment below to help your fellow Animal Crossing island designers!