Animal Crossing: New Horizons - How to earn bells and presents for decorating your house and yard

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

As with all the other Animal Crossing games, Animal Crossing: New Horizons allows you to decorate both the interior and the exterior of your house quite extensively. The game gives you the freedom to do this however you want; however, there are concrete ways to make sure that you'll get a high score from the Happy Home Academy (HHA), which is the in-game group that awards your home points based on how well you furnish your living space. You could get free bonus furniture, as well as some special pennants to hang on your wall if you get high scores from the HHA. Plus, with proper feng shui, you could increase your luck at finding presents and bells. Here are our tips and tricks to ensuring your house looks great and receives a high HHA score.

Use furniture sets

Animal Crossing New Horizons Cas Rooms

Animal Crossing New Horizons Cas Rooms (Image credit: Casian Holly/iMore)

By decorating your house using furniture from the same set, you can quickly increase your HHA score. Specialty furnitures like toilets, refrigerators, and stoves don't belong to any kind of set, but "general" ones such as chairs, sofas, beds, dressers, and mirrors almost always do. You can tell if a piece of furniture belongs to a set, as well as what set that is, by checking what kind of item it is. For example, the Imperial chair belongs to the Imperial set, which also contains a chest, bed, low table, partition, and shelf. The first set most players will be able to own is the Wooden-block set, since they can be made using DIY. Most sets of furniture, though, will need to be purchased from Nook's Cranny. Pieces from sets can also randomly be found from shaking trees or recieved as a gift from a villager.

It's a good idea to use furniture sets. They tend to have matching colors and design aesthetics, which is a style plus. Sets also contain diverse furniture types which ties into our second tip.

Have a diverse layout

Animal Crossing New Horizons Cas Rooms

Animal Crossing New Horizons Cas Rooms (Image credit: iMore)

Make sure your rooms aren't filled with too many of the same type of furniture if you want to elevatae your HHA rating. Sure, a bunch of nice chairs or sofas make your house look cozy, but if you don't have tables or shelves to set items on, or a bed you can sleep in, the house won't really feel like a space someone would be comfortable living in. As a result of this, it will look weird, and your score will be reduced to reflect that.

You can have multiple pieces of the same furniture type in one room, but just try and think about your interior design logically when planning everything out. If you want to have lots of tables, for example, then you should make sure there's at least a seat or two at each one. This is easier to accomplish if you use furniture sets since they come with a large range of types to begin with, but you don't have to use them in order to benefit from a diverse layout. In fact, for special rooms like bathrooms or kitchens, you can create a unique and rewarding style by mixing a range of different specialty futnitures together.

Give every room a unique purpose

Animal Crossing New Horizons Cas Rooms

Animal Crossing New Horizons Cas Rooms (Image credit: iMore)

Once you upgrade your house to the point where you have multiple different rooms, you can up your decor ante by dedicating each room in the house to serving a logical purpose. We recommend keeping the main room standard for your general living space, but let your imagination run wild for the left and right rooms, as well as the room on the second floor of the house. You can do this for your basement, too, though be aware of the fact that the HHA doesn't score what you place in it.

Try turning a room into a bathroom, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, holiday-themed room, or something even more unique. Don't be afraid to get a little unorthodox, either, since you can create something awesome like a science room with some of the weirder furniture objects available in New Horizons.

Use feng shui

Feng shui

Feng shui (Image credit: Animal Crossing Wiki)

A hidden designing mechanic present in all of the Animal Crossing games is the art of feng shui, which is based off of a traditional Chinese decor philosophy. The real-world variant of it is complex, but in Animal Crossing, it has been simplified. To reap the benefits of feng shui, you'll need to place any red pieces of furniture you have onto the right side of your room, yellow pieces onto the left, and green pieces at the bottom.

Doing this will boost not only your HHA score, but also your in-game luck as well. Putting red items to the right will increase the number of items you'll find randomly, putting yellow items to the left will boost your chance of finding Bells in trees and will increase the amount of money you get from money rocks, and putting green items at the bottom will slightly improve your luck with both items and Bells.

The more items you place in the correct spots, the more benefits you'll get. However, you'll still gain a decent amount of good luck and HHA points by just having one or two items placed, so you don't need to design your home around the concept of feng shui entirely. An easy way to use feng shui without sacrificing the furniture you already have is to hang up colored items on the walls behind your furniture. These can include clothing items as well as wall furnitures from Nook's Cranny, so you have plenty of different options to pick from.

What about the exterior?

Animal Crossing New Horizons

Animal Crossing New Horizons (Image credit: iMore)

While decorating the outside of your house requires less overall thought and strategy, it's still an excellent way to wrap up your home's overall style. The HHA doesn't judge your exterior, but having a nice yard will add more charm to the house — and it's not even that hard to do. A simple and easy way you can make your yard look nice is to surround the sides of the house with flowers and then surround the flowers with a fence, essentially creating a miniature flower garden. Yard and garden-related furniture pieces like gnomes or flamingoes look excellent, too, if you happen to come across them.

If you're not into the flowers-and-fence style, you can also opt to go for something more like a pattio. Try putting a table and chairs next to the house, and maybe even place down a clothesline or a birdhouse. Just make sure that, like with the interior, your design is a logical one.

If you want to customize the siding, roof, door, and mailbox of your house, you can do so. However, it's a complicated and expensive endeavor that will take some time, so be prepared to be patient. Check out our full guide to how to do that here.

Your thoughts

What do you think of our tips? Have you found success with the HHA in other ways? Let us know.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available on Nintendo Switch for $60.

Brendan Lowry