The Sims 4 – PC tips and tricks to improve your builds without mods

By Alice Liguori, Thursday, 30 July 2020 16:10 GMT

The Sims 4 has a really good set of tools to help you build tiny homes, cafés, museums, trailers, nightclubs, mansions, and loads of other types of buildings.

But, not many people are aware of some small little hacks you can do using in-game cheats and tools. We’re going to talk you through some of these tricks so you can build the nightclub-mansion-museum of your dreams. On PC only – sorry, console players.

So here are our top six ways to improve your Sims 4 builds without Sims 4 mods. If you have any additional tips and tricks, please post them in the comments and let everyone know your favourite ways to build.

If you don’t want to read, we even have the same guide in video form below:

Can’t live without: console commands

Let’s kick things off with some console commands you should probably almost definitely use every time you build. To open the console, hit control, shift, and C. It’ll bring up a box you can type in in the top left corner. You’ll want to type in “testingcheats true”, which will allow a lot of cheats to activate, and also help you out with some cheats in live mode. The most important one, in my opinion, is “bb.moveobjects”. If you press alt with this enabled, this allows you to move objects off grid, move them through walls, move them super close to each other, and just make your builds look more “realistic” rather than… Sim-y.

Another pair of console commands you should bear in mind are the two that unlock all debug items in the game – this means you can access items that are otherwise not in the catalogue. One includes all of the things that your sims can essentially pull out of their arses – I mean, pockets? – like toothbrushes, or food items. Note that when uploading this to the gallery to share with other simmers, some of these will not transfer. To access this use “bb.showhiddenobjects” and then search “debug” and click any of the “debugs” you see as a result.

The next will allow you to use all of the props you see in the different worlds in your actual builds. From fencing to water towers, or even train tracks, you can really level up your build with some of these items. You’ll want to use “bb.showliveeditobjects” for this, but make sure you’ve inputted the first two cheats for this one to work. The debug menu is mostly unsearchable, and un-cloneable. So grab what you need when you see it.

And finally, have you ever been scrolling through the catalogue only to see an item you really want, but it’s a new save, or you don’t play in live mode anymore, and it’s an item locked behind a specific career? I’m looking at you Deep Thoughts Bookcase. Luckily for you, there’s a cheat for that. What isn’t there a cheat for? You’ll want to use “bb.ignoregameplayunlocksentitlement”. It’s a long one, I misspell it so often too, but it’s so, so worth it for the Deep Thoughts Bookcase.

Super basic: keyboard shortcuts

This leads us on nicely to some keyboard shortcuts. A lot of you will probably know this, but you can make items bigger or smaller using the square bracket keys on your keyboard. It helps a lot with builds in general, and I’ll be telling you how to use this effectively a little bit later on. Do note that whilst it works on most objects, it doesn’t always work on things that have lights on them – like certain TVs – and doesn’t work at all on mirrors or windows. Some things just need to stay the size they were made apparently. But at least you can make a massive toilet.

Another one you’ll most likely already know about is the keys 9 and 0 move objects up and down – well, most of them. Mirrors and pictures can’t really go down, but they can go up. Pictures can be placed anywhere on a wall though, and go up from there, just not down. And if there’s an item like a chair that you’re trying to move up and down, it’ll click into place if it goes near a table or desk, so do be aware of that. Also, 9 can be a saved camera angle, if you’ve saved a camera angle in the past – maybe even by accident – everytime you click 9 it’ll shift round to where you do not want it to be, so hold down control as you press 9 to stop this from happening.

These keyboard shortcuts will help you massively with the rest of the tricks that you’ll learn about in this video, so it’s good to familiarise yourself with them.

An oldie but a goodie

A small aside here, but The Sims 4 is very well optimised for laptop users. So much so that The Sims 4 default camera is all about laptop users. However, The Sims 3 camera is best for placing – specifically, rotating – objects. And it’s also just better in general. It may take some getting used to if you’ve been playing with the default camera, but I’d recommend turning on The Sims 3 camera in your game settings.

Clutter up your life and your builds

Clutter can really add to a build. Don’t come for me if you like a tidy build – that’s fine too. But I like my Sims homes to look lived in, and realistic. I mean, I know some people are actually very tidy, but that’s not me. Clutter up my life, thanks.

There are a couple of ways to clutter spaces. Both ways need you to use “moveobjects”. The first way is to fill up all clutter slots on your item with random clutter items – for example, a desk might have a few snapping slots that will only let you place clutter in specific places. Place something in each of them, so there’s nowhere else you clutter can click to. Once that’s done, you can then get a second desk, place the actual clutter items you want on it, and then grab them, hold alt, and move them over to the desk that’s in the right place. You’ll notice the clutter item will stay at the same height, but can now be freely moved. So put it where you want on your original desk, and then once you’ve satisfied your cluttered needs, delete the placeholders.

The other way to do it is to place your desk, and then put all of the clutter items you want on it. Doesn’t matter where they go. Now, move your desk out of the way, but remember where it was, and then bring the objects from that desk into the space that was left by it. Remember to hold alt while doing this so the objects stay at the same height. This one takes a little more guesswork as to where things will look good, or if they’re even in the same place. But it’s the trick I use. Of course, you can keep moving your desk back to where it’ll end up to make sure it’s all going in the right place. Once you’re done, put your desk back where you want it, and voila! This doesn’t work for electronics on the desk, keep reading to find out how to do that.

Do bear in mind that with both of these options, if you end up changing your mind as to where you want your desk, table, side table, counter, etcetera, then the clutter will not move with the item.

The mini-desk-and-dishwasher trick

This is a trick that blew my mind. Maybe you’ve always known how to do this in The Sims 4, but for me? Amazing. Brilliant. Unique. Never been done before. It’s all about making an object like a table or a counter super tiny, to be able to utilise space a little better.

The first example is in kitchens, or bathrooms, or anywhere you may want to use a counter. You know in some houses there’s counters then a gap in the middle and maybe a laundry basket or storage? Not possible in the Sims. UNLESS you use this trick. Make sure you have moveobjects enabled for this though. Grab a dishwasher, and shrink it down super small – using the left square bracket key. Once it’s tiny, place it in the counter, chopping a square out of it, and it then becomes a blank space for you to place something else there. Like a laundry basket, or a box of towels, or cleaning products. Do try to use something here that you’re not going to want your sims to use, as they won’t really be able to comprehend what’s going on here and will probably get confused. It adds such a nice touch to an otherwise boring object.

The second example is desks. Say you want your laptop or computer to be on the slant on a desk rather than bang in the middle. What you need to do here is grab a small, one by one desk or table, and size it all the way down. Once sized down grab the piece of electronic equipment you want to place on a desk and put it on top of the mini desk. The laptop will stay the same size, but now wherever you move the mini-desk the laptop will follow. Hide it away in a normal sized desk, and there you have it! A laptop on the side of the desk, rather than smack bang in the middle.

The best way to eaves… drop

For me, roofing is the easiest way to make a building either look well thought out or… not. So learning about being able to sort one side of the eaves without affecting the other was game changing. The same with putting in skylights. I still hate placing roofs, but they’re super effective when done right.

When you place a roof, you’ll see a bunch of different draggable options. From the little spheres that can make your roofs round to the rounded arrows that change the height and length, and then the little mini triangles that change your eaves’ length. The eaves are the things I want to tell you about. If you press and hold shift, you can change the length of a singular eave. Without shift, they will mirror one another. This is super helpful with a lot of different roofing styles, especially skylights.

Skylights are loads of different roof pieces joined together to make your roof look a little more interesting. It’s easiest to use half gabled roofs, and use a whole load of different segments. If you place your roof how you want it first, and then drag some of it to the side to give yourself a gap where you want your skylight to go, and then copy and paste that same roof, place it on the other side of the gap, then copy and paste it again, and make a tiny piece for the bottom of where you want the skylight to be. Roofs look weird if the glass goes over the edge of the wall. Then copy and paste your first big bit, and place it where you want the skylight to be, and re-colour it to be glass. You’ll probably have some eaves clipping in to where your skylight is, so press shift and move the sides that are clipping.

And there you have it, 6 ways to transform your Sims 4 builds… on PC. Using all of these things can help you make some incredible builds, like using debug and 9 and 0 to make magnificent sweeping staircases, or moveobjects and mini counters to create built-in microwave units in your kitchens. There are so many ways to use these tricks in different situations, so experiment away and let us know in the comments below your favourite build tricks.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Buy our t-shirts, yeah

They're far more stylish than your average video game website tat.

VG247 Merch