Animal Crossing: How to find inspiration for your island

Top tips for finding new ideas to decorate your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island and home.

If you’re the baron of a barren land in need of refurbishment, we can help. Figuring out how to restyle your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island can be a surprisingly daunting task. And that’s not just because you know how fiddly the constructor tools can be! Coming up with new ideas is tough. Fortunately, we know a few handy tricks which can help oil those creative cogs in your head. If you’re looking for island inspiration in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, follow these key tips.

Join or follow Animal Crossing: New Horizons communities online

Animal Crossing New Horizons inspiration for your island online communities

By far the best way to get some inspiration for your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island is to explore online communities for the game. There are loads of Animal Crossing groups on platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Discord filled with players sharing their unique and interesting island designs.

Here are a few sources to get you started:

The key thing to remember is this: don’t be intimidated. Seeing the impressive creations of others can be a little overwhelming, but you’re just aiming to get a few ideas by looking. Your ambitions can be as big or small as you like when it comes to island designs, and no one will mind if you copy the general premise of theirs. Most Animal Crossing communities are very welcoming, and will happily share the design codes for unique floor and wall patterns they’ve made or used.

Spotted a cool jungle island? Have a look through your own items and recipes to see what you could cook up for that theme. Like the layout of someone’s house? Style one of your own rooms in the same basic plan, then add a few personal twists! Whether you’re working on an at-home diner or brewing up a haunted forest, you can guarantee that someone else out there has given it a shot before. You might as well learn from their experience!

Be a seasonal sensation

Animal Crossing New Horizons island ideas seasonal

© Nintendo

Animal Crossing: New Horizons doesn’t hold back when it comes to seasonal events, and neither should you! If you’re after an easy impetus to change your island, just check your calendar. Big occasions like Halloween or the holidays are a great excuse to start preparing in advance, but you shouldn’t feel restricted to what’s already celebrated. If your culture or country has an important date coming up, this is your chance to design an in-game showcase for it!  

Reworking your entire island for each special day can quickly become tiresome or impact any other design projects you’re working on. To that end, we recommend setting up a dedicated square or segment of your island to tailor specifically for events. It’ll become a great place for any friends to check out each time they visit your island, and it’ll save you from spending hours gathering spooky lanterns from the entire island after Halloween passes. 

Browse the Custom Designs Portal

Animal Crossing New Horizons Island Inspiration portal
© Nintendo

For some quick inspiration, load up the Custom Designs Portal from your NookPhone and have a browse. If you already have a vague theme in mind, you can search for items with specific terms using the Criteria Search. Otherwise, just browse a category type like floor patterns and you’ll be surprised at just how many styles you’ll discover. 

Animal Crossing New Horizons island inspiration custom designs portal
© Nintendo

Scrolling through might reveal wooden decking, marble pathways, a witch’s forest, sports pitch markings, or even car park flooring. If anything takes your fancy, use that as a starting point and find other items to fit the concept. Download a set of designs, plonk them on a test patch of flooring, then scour your items and recipes to see what you could combine with them. And if you don’t like the look of someone else’s designs, try creating an improved version yourself.

Use real life (or other video games)

Listen, we understand the appeal of grabbing our Switch and getting snuggled up on the couch or in bed for hours. Pair a cozy environment with a warm drink and you have a recipe for Animal Crossing bliss. But that’s only the case if you haven’t hit an inspirational block. When your mind's creative reserves are running dry, a change of scenery is the best route to getting those thoughts flowing in once more. 

Animal Crossing Island inspiration Pikmin Bloom
© Nintendo

Heading out for a walk – whether it’s to take in nature or just visit a coffee shop – is a fantastic chance to consider new ideas. Heck, you can even enjoy a bit of Pikmin Bloom while you're at it. Why not try recreating your favorite café or local park? Someone had to design them in real life, but in Animal Crossing, you can perfect them. Scope them out in real life, taking the time to think about which items from your in-game storage could add some color and entertainment to the space. When you get home, you'll be ready to start crafting.

And if you’re still struggling, venturing into other video game worlds is a solid substitution. Mario might be the only game to get official in-game items, but there’s no reason you can’t work on a Pokémon playground or some Tomb Raider ruins. Get some ideas with a spot of side gaming and you’ll have those design decisions rolling out in short order.

Those are our top tips for getting inspiration for your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island. Have you got any of your own? Share your secrets for expressing your island artistic self in the comments below. And finally, we wish you the best of luck with your island renovations!

Associate Editor

Henry Stenhouse serves an eternal punishment as the Associate Editor of AllGamers. He spent his younger life studying the laws of physics, even going so far as to complete a PhD in the subject before video games stole his soul. Confess your love of Super Smash Bros. via email at, or catch him on Twitter.


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