Animal Crossing: Introducing a new wave of creative interior designers.

Though they may seem like completely different disciplines, the worlds of interior design and video games cross over frequently, especially thanks to the leaps and bounds we’ve made in 3D technology. Games are pressed to feature more architecturally detailed – and true to life – cities and towns for world building, while 3D rendering is an incredibly useful tool for designers and consumers to imagine what certain pieces look like in a space. But we’re also experiencing a surge in games that scratch a particular itch – the lifestyle simulation where you can own and decorate your own home.

In early 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released on the Nintendo Switch. Thanks to immediate critical acclaim and the global Covid-19 pandemic, it became one of the most played and most popular games of the year, and it is currently the second highest selling game of all time in Japan. For those of you not familiar with the series, every game is much the same: you, the player, are placed in a town full of anthropomorphic animal villagers, given a home loan to buy a house, and most of the game is spent paying off your debt to the local shop owner Tom Nook through gardening, fishing, and making friends. The most popular mechanic, however, are the extensive home decorating tools that are at your disposal.

Plenty of games contain home design, such as the infamous The Sims. However, the combination of lockdowns across the world and the ability to visit other people’s islands created the perfect explosion of popularity. It’s not just everyday players either: brands have been creating their own islands for fans to visit. Joe Biden famously created his own island during the 2020 election which featured polling booths, a campaign office, and his own avatar that greeted visitors with his campaign slogan “No Malarkey!”. Other notable islands include Virtual Sentosa Island, which was created by the Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) to keep interest in the tourist destination alive during global lockdowns, and the Enola Holmes themed island created for the movie’s Netflix release.

Businesses outside the game are also taking advantage of Animal Crossing fever. Furniture giant IKEA released an Animal Crossing inspired catalogue, featuring in game furniture and models. Sanrio, the company that owns Hello Kitty (among other IPs) released unique furniture and characters with amiibos. Finally, and most exciting for real-world designers, homewares company Olivia’s is actively recruiting virtual interior designers to work in game, with one of the benefits listed as “Get paid to play Animal Crossing'.

(2021) ikea-catalog-animal-crossing-new-horizons-themed-version-banner-2. [ONLINE]. Available at: https://animalcrossingworld.com/2020/08/ikea-creates-amazing-animal-crossing-new-horizons-themed-furniture-catalog/ [Accessed 2 February 2022].

With the introduction of the Happy Home Paradise expansion, players are now able to put partitions and hanging lights in their homes, as well has having access to over 600+ furniture and home decor items, many of which you can find real world equivalents for. There are hundreds of communities dedicated to showing off rooms, aesthetics, and game hacks to create the perfect virtual home away from home, and all of them are using real design principles.

Here are some of the top tips from designers to create the perfect island home:

  1. Keep clutter to a minimum.
  2. Embrace the large rug.
  3. Patterns are in again – don’t be afraid of animal print or vintage wallpaper.
  4. Make use of custom design tools.
  5. Use matching pieces to bring a room together.
  6. Don’t put items flush against the wall – leave some breathing room!
  7. Create distinct areas with dividers, rugs, or unique lighting.
  8. Do what you love, because that never goes out of style!

With the latest generations growing more and more familiar with technology, we’re excited to see what technological advances might be made in the field, and we won’t be surprised when our next big interior designer smiles and says, “I was inspired by my island”.

If you’re looking to outfit your real home, our catalogue of modern, artistic furniture is the perfect place to find your dream pieces.