Animal Crossing: New Horizons house upgrade guide — How to upgrade your tent to a house

Animal Crossing New Horizons Upgrade Tent
Animal Crossing New Horizons Upgrade Tent (Image credit: iMore)

Living on a deserted island sounds really nice right about now. I'd love to soak in some rays, swim in the ocean, or simply just spend some time chilling on the beach. To keep with the theme of a deserted island, Animal Crossing: New Horizons island starts you off in a tent instead of a modest house.

You can only place so many items within your tent and can only make so many customizations to it. If you're eager to upgrade your living situation, there are some things you'll need to do first. Here's how to upgrade your tent to a house along with how to make upgrades to your home.

Your first home

Animal Crossing New Horizons Upgrade Tent To House

Animal Crossing New Horizons Upgrade Tent To House (Image credit: iMore)

Upon beginning New Horizons, players will find themselves on an island with Tom Nook, Timmy, Tommy, and two random villagers. The rich Tanooki will explain that this getaway package isn't cheap and that you're now in debt to him. However, he's got a system in place that allows you to pay him back in Nook Miles instead of Bells. Still, for the flight to the island, your tent, and all the other items in your starter kit, you owe Nook 5,000 Nook Miles.

Animal Crossing Nook Miles (Image credit: iMore)

All you need to do is run around your island and try everything out. Go fishing, write on the bulletin board, buy something, sell something, pick a ton of weeds, take a picture. You'll complete Nook Miles tasks and earn Nook Miles for doing each of these simple things. I was easily able to make over 10,000 Nook Miles within my first few hours of playing the game, which allowed me to pay off my initial loan super fast.

Once you've acquired the right amount of Nook Miles, head to Resident Services and talk to Nook. He'll inform you that he can upgrade your tent to a house (for a modest loan, of course). Sign off on the house and Nook will get started on it. You will have to wait until the following morning in order for the house to actually appear on the island. It will be in place of where your tent once stood.

Upgrading your living situation

Animal Crossing New Horizons Upgrade Tent To House

Animal Crossing New Horizons Upgrade Tent To House (Image credit: iMore)

Once you've paid off the loan for your house, approach Tom Nook again. He's more than happy to help you upgrade your house by making it larger or by giving you extra rooms. Each time you pay off a loan for a house upgrade, you can talk to Nook about getting another loan. Eventually, you'll even be able to customize the look of your houses exterior by choosing roofing, windows, doors, and more.

Animal Crossing Nook Miles Plus (Image credit: iMore)

As you continue to play, reaching goals on the Nook Miles program will become harder. But, you'll unlock the Nook Miles+ program, which allows you to do simple tasks to quickly earn Nook Miles. This will include things like catching a specific type of fish, collecting a certain amount of wood, taking a picture, popping a balloon, or planting a certain number of flowers.

Make sure to check the Nook Miles quests from your NookPhone to see if there's anything you can be working towards and you'll earn Nook Miles super fast. You can also spend Nook Miles on special items using the green kiosk at Resident Services, so you'll need to prioritize what you want more: to pay off your house or to purchase items and accessories.

Moving up

That's really all there is to upgrading your tent to a house and then upgrading it further to the house of your dreams. For many of us, this is only possible in the virtual world as home ownership isn't possible for everyone. So really take advantage of this opportunity and create the home you've always imagined for yourself. I hope you find the coolest furniture and decor to really make your house your own.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.