Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Tips for decorating your island

Animal Crossing New Horizons Resident Services
Animal Crossing New Horizons Resident Services (Image credit: iMore)

In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, decorating your island is one of the main things you'll be doing each day. Not only is this important for getting your island's rating up to three stars or higher so that K.K. Slider comes to town to host a concert, but it's also how players can give their island a unique flair and make it appealing to look at, too. Knowing what precisely to do can be a little overwhelming for inexperienced folks, but don't worry; this guide will go over a variety of different suggestions that will ensure you'll be able to transform the island into the paradise it has the potential to be. Here's our full list of tips that will help you decorate your island.

Plant flowers

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Image credit: iMore)

One of the best things you can do to improve the overall look and feel of your island is to plant a ton of flowers. Like, hundreds of them. Go crazy.

Flowers add color and character to your island, helping to break the monotonous look of simple grass fields. Also, they attract plenty of bugs to your island, which is a great way to make it feel more in-tune with nature. You don't need to have any specific types or colors of flowers, but we recommend trying to diversify things a decent amount so that you have a nice variety of different blooms.

You can get flower seeds from Timmy and Tommy at Nook's Cranny, or you can buy them from Leif whenever he visits your town. Alternatively, you can dig up flower plants found while using Nook Miles Tickets and then plant them back on your island after you're done as well.

Plant other flora, too

Animal Crossing New Horizons Pear

Animal Crossing New Horizons Pear (Image credit: iMore)

While flowers are the most impactful on your island's rating and its overall look, it's also important to have a good amount of other types of flora as well. Specifically, you'll want to have a healthy number of trees and shrubs on your island.

As a general rule, you should aim for somewhere between 100 and 200 trees. These can be fruit trees or regular ones, but we recommend opting to mostly plant fruit trees for two reasons: one, the colors of the fruit are pleasant. Two, fruit also sells for a nice profit, so every few days you can rake in a lot of extra money by collecting and selling fruit.

Shrubs that can be bought from Leif should be planted as well, though you don't want to have a crazy amount of them. About 50 or so of them is a great way to introduce some shrubbery to your paradise without overcrowding things. As for where you should place them, we think they look best scattered between trees and next to buildings. For some extra color, you can choose to plant shrubs that flower during what season of the year you're in.

Incorporate some man-made attractions

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Image credit: iMore)

While the majority of your island should be nature-heavy, don't forget that your island should look like people actually live on it, too. Streetlights, wells, lighthouses, and fountains are all excellent items that give off a strong "community village" vibe, and you can also add in park benches, vending machines, stalls, and other cool items.

You can buy these items from the kiosk in the Resident Services building using Nook Miles. However, some of them can be made using DIY workbenches, and you can often find nice pieces of outdoor furniture for sale at Nook's Cranny as well.

Make enough bridges and inclines

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Image credit: iMore)

While you may have tools like the Vaulting Pole and Ladder to get over obstacles like rivers and cliffs easily, your villagers do not. Therefore, building bridges or inclines for these obstacles is an essential part of making your island developed enough for a high rating. In general, you should aim to create one form of passage over each river or cliff you find on your island. Don't add more than that, as it will be a waste of your money and will likely look a little weird, too.

You can make bridges and inclines by speaking to Tom Nook in the Resident Services building and discussing the island's infrastructure with him. You can only build one of these per day, and they're expensive, so make adding a sufficient amount of them to your island a long-term project.

Design yards for houses

An excellent way you can give some character to the area around houses on your island is to design yards for them. The various types of DIY fences and hedges you can make are great for setting the boundaries, and there's plenty of awesome DIY projects like tables, chairs, birdhouses, clotheslines, and more that you can use to give a house's exterior some flavor. Flowers look awesome in yards, too!

Give your plaza a makeover

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Image credit: iMore)

Your island's plaza is quite bland all on its own, so why not spruce it up? Surrounding it with greenery, a fence, and some cool items like a popcorn machine or watering fountain help give it some much-needed personality, and this also helps make the plaza feel like the gathering place it is. Villagers frequently hang out around the plaza, so you may as well make the area look nice!

Create paths

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Image credit: iMore)

Once you reach a three-star rating on your island, you'll unlock the Island Designer app on your NookPhone. This app allows you to reshape the terrain and add pathing to your island. Adding paths gives the environment a more developed feel, and they also provide a foundation to design scenic routes around. These don't impact your island's rating at all, but they look fantastic.

Lastly, don't be afraid to get creative

Finally, our last tip of the day is that you shouldn't hesitate to experiment or try new ideas. Sticking solely to what we suggested in this guide will get you a good island rating and will make your island beautiful, but with some imagination, you can create some impressive, unique scenes.

For example, you could combine custom designs from the Able Sisters and pieces of furniture to create a cafe, or you could place down two soccer nets and then shape a field out of the terrain with the Island Designer app. The sky is the limit thanks to Animal Crossing: New Horizon's extensive freedom, so get creative and see if you can come up with something cool!

Brendan Lowry