"The Sims 4" Building for Beginners: Introduction to Build Mode (2022)

Kenzie needed a quick escape from real-life pressures, and found "The Sims 4." She now enjoys playing, writing, and YouTubing the game.

Complete Beginner's Guide to Building in "The Sims 4"

"The Sims 4" Building for Beginners: Introduction to Build Mode (1)

Learning to Build From Square One

Learning to build in The Sims 4 can be a bit overwhelming. This is especially true if, like me, you're not usually a big gamer or computer person. I remember one of my first build mode experiences—trying to fix a house for my Sims that needed a bigger bedroom. I somehow collapsed the second floor onto the first floor—and I didn't know how to undo it, so my Sims had to move!

I may not be much of a gamer, but I love to be creative, and I love decorating. Computers don't come naturally to me; it always takes a concerted effort for me to get the hang of something new on the computer. I was determined to learn how to master build mode, though. If I can do it, anyone can!

If you always wanted to learn how to build in The Sims 4, here is the place to start.

Taking a Closer Look at Build Mode Screen

To get into build mode, you can click the tool symbols on the upper right-hand corner of the screen. The build mode in some ways is very user-friendly; you will understand a lot of ways to use it off the bat. The beauty of the build mode is that you can make basic builds very easily and with minimal knowledge, but there are a lot of tips and tricks for some very complex builds,

Let's look at some of the toolbars and functions.

Build Mode Screen

The Bottom of the Screen, From Left to Right

First, look at the verticle bar on the bottom left. You'll notice four symbols are going down.

The little house symbol at the top of the verticle bar will show you a picture of a house exterior in the box to the right of it. Clicking on parts of the house or the items around it will bring up different tools for the following things:

  • Roofs, roof structures, patterns, exterior trims, and foundations
  • Wall, foundation, deck, and basement-building tools
  • Windows, doors and wall sculptures
  • Wall and floor patterns
  • Railings, fences, and columns
  • Outdoor landscaping tools and outdoor plants
  • Fountain and pool-building tools
  • Styled rooms and your library of saved rooms

The chair in the corner symbol will show you build items categorized by room. When you click this, you'll have the option to choose a room and click on the furnishings to view those types of items.

The chair (no corner) symbol will show you build mode items categorized by function. When you click this, you'll get a drop-down menu so you can choose the type of items you want to see.

The open box is where the household inventory can be stored.

There Is Quite a Large Selection from Which to Choose

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There are three smaller toolbars at the top of the screen.

Lot Panel

This is found on the left side of the screen. Click the little blue house with an "i" inside to learn more about the lot. This will tell you the value, the dimensions, how many bedrooms and bathrooms there are, and the items required for the lot. We're dealing with residential lots now, which don't have any requirements.

You can also change the lot traits. Click the question marks to open the selection of lot traits. Lot traits aren't necessary but they can be fun to add. Traits can make a yard have better soil for gardening, can make a place have a romantic aura, or you can even make your house haunted.

Menu Toolbar

In the top-right corner of the screen, you'll find the regular game menu. This includes the game options menu, notification wall, and the button to take you from build mode back to live mode. The photo symbols will open the library and the user gallery.

A few of these tools are useful for building, starting with the up and down arrows. Clicking these will allow you to go to the top of a building (all the way up to the roof), or down to the basements (if there are any). A building can have up to four stories above ground, a basement and a sub-basement for a maximum of six floors.

The square/hexagon/cube button changes the view of the walls in a building, just like in live mode. You can put all walls up, exterior walls only up, or drop all walls so you can view the rooms unimpeded.

The little camera opens another small bar that allows you to choose your camera control preferences. There is also a little box on there that is very useful—click it and you get a birds-eye view of the lot from above.

The Build Toolbar

The center-top toolbar is for all your important building functions.

  • Arrow: select to pick up or move an item.
  • Eyedropper: use to quickly get a duplicate of an item without having to search for it.
  • Design Tool: click on this then click on an item to see other colors or patterns available for it.
  • Left Arrow: undo your previous actions.
  • Right Arrow: redo actions you have undone.
  • Folder: save the room or the lot to your library or to share it in the user gallery with other players.
  • Crossed Arrows: use these to pick up a whole room or lot and move it around.
  • Bulldozer: use to clear a lot of the structures or landscaping on it.
  • Sun/Moon: use this to see what your lot looks like in different lighting throughout the day. I like to keep it on full sun (afternoon) just for better lighting while I build.

Let's Practice!

There are so many things that build mode can do; it would be impossible to outline them all in a single article. I plan on writing many build articles here, each focused on different functions and tips, getting more complex along the way.

For now, though, let's play with a few essential functions.

A Top-Down View

"The Sims 4" Building for Beginners: Introduction to Build Mode (4)

Look Around

  1. Click on the tool symbol in the upper-right corner to open build mode.
  2. Click the up arrow to move up a floor. This will be the roof if your Sim's house has only one story.
  3. Click the down arrow until you're down in the basement, or until you see the underground grid where the basement will be.
  4. Click the up arrow until you're back on the ground level.
  5. Click the square/hexagon/cube symbol on the top right toolbar a few times. Move around, getting a look with the walls up and down.
  6. Click the camera symbol and click the cube to get a birds-eye view from above.

Change the Look of a Room Just by Changing Colors and Patterns

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Play With Items

  1. On the bottom-left verticle bar, click on the chair in a corner symbol. Then click the easy chair image to open the living room item menu.
  2. In the picture of the living room, click to open chairs. Scroll through and find a chair you like.
  3. Click a chair to grab it, then click on a spot in the room to put it down.
  4. Click the chair to grab it again, then right-click the mouse to rotate it. When you want to put the chair back down, left-click the mouse again.
  5. Click the eyedropper tool from the top center toolbar and click on an item in the room. This will give you a duplicate item. You can place it in the room or click back on the eyedropper to let it go and make it disappear.
  6. Click the design tool and click on a piece of furniture in the room. Look at the swatches and change the color or pattern of that furniture piece.
  7. Click on the hammer in the top center toolbar then click on the chair you put there to delete it.

The Lock Feature Can Be Convenient

"The Sims 4" Building for Beginners: Introduction to Build Mode (6)

Play With Tables, Chairs and Other Objects

  1. Click on the dining room category and click on the dining room table to open the selection. Choose a table and place it in the room.
  2. Click the chairs in the menu and choose a chair. Click it and move it towards the table. The chair will turn and "lock" with the table with a snap. Click it to place the chair there.
  3. Move to another spot on the table. Another chair will snap and lock in place, and you can click it to place it.
  4. Click the select tool (the first arrow on the top-center toolbar) to release the chairs. Now click on the table and drag it around the room. The chairs are locked in place and will come with the table.
  5. Click to put the table down. You can move the chairs away by clicking on them individually and dragging them away.
  6. Click on the bookshelf symbol to open the office item selection. Click on the computer. Select a computer.
  7. Notice you cannot put the computer on the floor or the couch. Some items must be placed on a surface.
  8. Place the computer on the table. You'll see that it will also snap into place and lock there. All items you place on a surface will lock onto specific points on the surface.

Remodeling Has Never Been Easier

"The Sims 4" Building for Beginners: Introduction to Build Mode (7)

Play With Walls and Floors

  1. Click on the house symbol on the bottom verticle bar. Click on the side panel of the house that says "floor patterns" when you hover over it.
  2. Click on a floor pattern you like. If it comes in a selection of different colors, a small swatch menu will open; click on a color you want.
  3. Click on the floor in your Sim's house. This should fill in one square on the grid.
  4. Click on the floor and drag the color across to change several panels at a time.
  5. Hold down the Shift key and click the floor in a room. This will change the entire room floor with one click.
  6. Go back to the house symbol and hover over the side panel that reads "wall patterns." Click it and choose a wall color to click.
  7. Click on the wall in the room, and it will change a panel to your new color. Click and drag to change several panels of wall at once. Finally, Shift and click to re-paint the whole room a new color.

It Never Gets Boring

"The Sims 4" Building for Beginners: Introduction to Build Mode (8)

Create and Destroy Walls

  1. Click the house symbol again and click on the front wall of the house image to open the wall-drawing tools. You can also just press "b" on your keyboard for a shortcut.
  2. Click a spot on the floor and drag the mouse across a gridline to create a wall. Click where you want the wall to end.
  3. Make another wall starting where the last one left off. Drag it in a different direction to create a corner.
  4. Click the hammer and click the wall to delete one wall panel. Drag the hammer across the walls and click to delete a whole portion of the wall at once.
  5. Click the undo arrow on the top center bar to bring the wall back. Click the redo arrow to erase the wall again.
  6. Start clicking the undo arrow repeatedly—all the actions you've done in build mode will go in reverse until you get back to how the room was in the beginning.

Video Demonstration


Have a bit of fun experimenting with these basic tools. You can actually do a lot just with what I've shown you here, but that is barely the tip of the iceberg. Still, you have to start somewhere.

When you feel you have the basics down and are ready to start creating, check out my article on how to redecorate a home or apartment. It will give you instructions and tips to help you build on what you have already learned.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Kenzie Cartwright

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