Decorating on a (legacy) budget

As an avid reader of Living Sims, an online magazine for architecture and décor in The Sims, I grew more and more frustrated with my legacy home. I wanted it to be adorned with fine art, high-end appliances and lots of little beautiful dust-gathering objects. The Paon family could barely afford all the goodies I wanted for them at the speed rate I expected.

After going through three complete rebuilds, I believe I might have a few tips to share that can help your Sims get that luxurious house look for less. The first 4 tips refer to the hardcore building process, while the last ones cover furniture and decoration.

1. Spend more money in the structure than in the details. Building and decorating on a budget means making choices. If you’re like me, you’ll want your Sims to have a house full of details, but those are easier to acquire and modify than the house floor plan. Before you even start, consider your gameplay preferences. Do you like playing with double-stores houses or do you consider the time your Sims take to go down the stairs a daily morning waste? Do you want a basement and a garage? Do you want an indoor pool or a pond? After answering those questions, design or find an adequate house plan. And don’t spare money on this step. You don’t need to build the whole floor plan at once, but do the room you have money to do already in the right dimensions and position. Use the terrain grid to guide your construction.

2. Choose a décor style for your house before buying new items. This will make the décor process easier. If you aren’t quite sure, go for neutral items such as the Insta Door or the 21st Century Library Bookshelf. They fit a French country cottage as well as a modern minimalist house and therefore will last through many redecorations of your legacy home.

3. Opt for terrain paints on outside patios or verandas. When outside, Sims don’t get the bad moodlet “Room unfinished” when you use terrain paints instead of floors. Terrain paints cost nothing and some of them, such as Slate Stones or Red Cobblestone, look great for garden and barbecue areas.

4. Go for a wall paint with different color channels for dado, border, chair rail and baseboard molding. The cheapest one of those costs 5 simoleons (against the 3 simoleons of the cheapest Pool Wall paint) and they’re ideal for the long run. All channels can be colored on CAS to be of the same color so you have a timeless look or be worked on to have a funky wallpaper to the upper side and a wood panel down below. Hear me here, kiddo: you’ll get tired of your paint work. It’s 10 generations, for Sims’ sake! So if you choose a Pool Wall, for example, somewhere along you’ll want that room to be an office and crave for wood panels. The result? Painting the room again and spending money twice for the same job.

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5. Instead of buying the most crappy cheap furniture item, hold on to your money for a few more days and invest in something really worth it. You’re already sleeping on a bench, showering at the gym and grabbing a snack from the public crops. Believe me: your Sim can endure an extra day of humiliation and it will pay off soon enough. In the beginning you won’t be able to afford the sumptuous Sleep Slave Double Bed, but you can make the needed money for a Fit for a King (size) Bed, for example. This one is an interesting choice: by altering it in CAS, you can easily get either an extravagant look or an elegant appeal. Also remembering browsing between items within the same price range. The Slumber Saddle of Sleepnir Bed is a dumb purchase: it gives nothing more than the Small Brass Bed (both share the following stats: 4+ energy and 3+ stress relief), but it costs 135 simoleons more!

6. CAS is your best friend. Paint that wood counter in a shiny paint finishing and it’ll be brand new. Add a stone counter top, if your heir/ess wants a more masculine look or let the worn out wood show up to review the history behind that piece of furniture. I love the possibilities of The Impossible Mission Counter Series, but The Counter Culture Series will do the job for less than half the price.

7. Store, rather than sell. I know selling a sofa to get a bigger bed or a shower to get a crib might look like it’s the only option you have left, but it’s not. In the long run, you’ll get yourself counting pennies much more than once and eventually you end up having to buy the same items you sold. And as you know, you always get less money than you paid when you sell a furniture piece. So put unused beds or toys at the corner of the lot or in a small garden – or even in the family inventory: what else is it rather than a big closet?! – shed and repurpose them as you go through your legacy story.

8. If you do have to sell, pick an item you recently bought rather than an old one. The chances are will be able to get what you’re desperately in need and still hold back a few simoleons. By getting the closest amount possible to the original price of the item, you not only minimize the impact of an act of despair but also stays close to the needed amount of money to buy the item you sold once again.

9. Never sell kids’ apparel. If you’re playing a legacy, you’ll have to raise at least 9 kids. All of them will need a crib, a potty and toys. Child books and toys loose value specially quick and are not worth selling. But the main reason for never selling kids’ apparel isn’t this one. You should not do it specially because you’ll have to buy them again for the full price – no escape. Save them on the family inventory, a corner of the lot or a garden shed when not in need and put them back in the main house when yet another bundle of joy comes to life.

10. If you’re playing with Sims that have Brave as a family trait, there’s no need to buy a smoke detector or a burglar alarm. During three generations, for example, I have never had a fire or a robbery. And Brave Sims usually have fun extinguishing flames or fighting burglars.

I hope these tips will make your house cozier and more beautiful. For inspiration, don’t forget to check the amazing projects at Living Sims – new issues almost monthly and loads of pictures entries for décor challenges at the forums. I strongly recommend it!

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5 thoughts on “Decorating on a (legacy) budget

  1. Sidsel Pedersen says:

    These are great tips! I hope you will not mind if we at livingsims steal a few of them at some point.

  2. jurocha says:

    I’m glad you liked the tips. And you guys from Living Sims are more than welcome to use them somewhere in the magazine or the forum. In fact, it would be a pleasure for me! 🙂

  3. lupusfati says:

    …I… I never thought to just store items in the family inventory. I rarely ever use it and forget about it most the time. Next Legacy I attempt (I have yet to complete one since I get bored easily) I’ll have to utilize it more effectively. Also nice wall tip, I was used to using the pool wall. Might have to use that 5 dollar one instead, since I can always recolor it.

    As for my ‘houses’, I have gotten a bit better at building them but I still find myself making the same stupid squares when starting legacies, or any sim family really. The Legacy lots are huge, and I also have trouble figuring out where I want to put the first room and how I want my house to look, eventually. Any tips there, especially on new, yet still cheap, room designs to house my Founders?

    • jurocha says:

      I am also a bit put off by huge lots; it is easy to feel completely clueless when you haven’t yet built anything on it. As a tip, I would say to pick a real floorplan and transport it to the Sims.

      If you search online (in websites such as http://www.eplans.com/, for example), you can better visualize the finished product in your grid. You needn’t build the whole thing at once, but you will have an idea of where to position the initial rooms better if you have this goal/ready house already in front of you (in the form of a floorplan).

      I also tend to leave 8 or less squares to the very front of the terrain and the entrance door, as this spares me morning time when Sims are walking out the door (they don’t need to cross a whole garden, for example) and also because I prefer the privacy of backyards.

    • jurocha says:

      I find this particular floorplan a good starter choice: http://www.eplans.com/house-plans/epl/hwepl65860.html?from=search. It has style, it can be built in stages (first the base, long and narrow main floor; later you add the tower and the porch) and, if you choose to build it to the side of a large lot, it can easily be used as a guest or kids house once you have more money and set for a bigger, more elaborated floorplan to your main house (to the build in the middle of lot, for example).

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