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Animal Crossing: New Horizons: Island Development Guide

Welcome to the ultimate “Animal Crossing: New Horizons: Island Development Guide”! Whether you’re a seasoned island resident or a newcomer eager to dive into the world of Tom Nook and K.K. Slider, this guide will equip you with everything you need to transform your island into the envy of the virtual world. We’ll explore the key steps to “Building Your Island Paradise,” dive into “Key Facilities and Upgrades” that elevate your island life, master the art of “Managing Infrastructure and Decorations,” and nurture lasting “Villager Relationships.” Plus, we’ll uncover secrets to “Unlocking Additional Content” to keep your island adventures fresh and exciting. Get ready to craft the paradise of your dreams—let’s get started!

Building Your Island Paradise#

So, you’ve arrived on your deserted island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and now it’s time to transform it into a bustling paradise! Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned player, these tips will help you turn your island into the envy of all your friends. Let’s dive in!

Start With the Basics#

Gather Resources#

Before you start fancying up your island, make sure you’re stocked up on essential resources. This includes:

  • Wood (regular, hardwood, and softwood) from trees.
  • Iron Nuggets from rocks.
  • Stone from rocks.
  • Clay from rocks.
  • Weeds which can be used for crafting.

You’ll need these materials for a variety of DIY recipes, so make it a habit to gather them daily.

Pay Off Your Loan#

Tom Nook’s first loan is essential to your growth. Once it’s paid off, you can start making more meaningful changes to your island. Focus on fishing, bug catching, and selling fruit to earn those precious Bells.

Designing Your Dream Island#

Planning Layouts#

Drawing up an island layout can be incredibly helpful. Think about where you want key structures like:

  • Your house
  • Villager houses
  • Shops (Abel Sisters, Nook’s Cranny)
  • Museum
  • Bridges and inclines

Sketching things out can help you visualize your ideal island and make the actual building process smoother.

Establishing Key Structures#

Resident Services#

Upgrading the Resident Services tent to a building unlocks a lot of customization options. Once it’s upgraded, you can access the Island Designer app, letting you terraform and place pathways.

Building Bridges and Inclines#

Creating bridges and inclines makes it easier to move around your island. This also increases your island’s infrastructure rating. To build them:

  1. Talk to Tom Nook - He’ll have different options for bridges and inclines.
  2. Raise Funds - Once you choose a spot, you’ll need players or villagers to contribute to building it.

Adding Personal Touches#


Fancy up your island with:

  • Flowers: Breed exotic flowers and plant them around your island.
  • Trees: Strategically place different types of trees for variety.
  • Fountains, benches, and lamps: Craft or buy various items to give your island a unique feel.

Pathways and Custom Designs#

The Island Designer app allows you to create paths, rivers, and cliffs. You can also import or design custom patterns for pathways, clothes, and even signage.

  1. Unlock the app: Complete tasks until you can upgrade the Resident Services building.
  2. Lay paths: Use various styles or custom designs.
  3. Terraform: Shape the land and waterways to your liking.

Keep in mind that terraforming takes practice, so don’t be afraid to experiment!

Boosting Your Island’s Rating#

To get that coveted five-star rating:

  1. Place lots of furniture and decoration items: Both crafted and purchased items count.
  2. Maintain flower gardens: Pay attention to color and type.
  3. Eliminate weeds and excess items: A clean island is a happy island.

Invite Villagers#

Your island will seem a bit empty without a bustling community of villagers. To attract new residents:

  • Build and furnish additional plots.
  • Use Nook Miles Tickets to visit other islands and invite characters you meet.
  • Keep current villagers happy by talking to them and fulfilling their requests.

The K.K. Slider Concert#

Once your island is thriving, K.K. Slider will eventually visit for his concert. To get to this point, you’ll need to:

  1. Achieve a three-star island rating.
  2. Celebrate with a concert.

After this milestone event, the game introduces more customization and the ability to terraform at an advanced level.

Wrapping Up#

Building your island paradise in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an ongoing project that will keep evolving. It’s all about creativity, experimentation, and enjoying the process. Happy building, islanders! 🌴✨

Key Facilities and Upgrades#

In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, building up your island paradise isn’t all about planting flowers and catching bugs. To transform your deserted island into a bustling community, you’ll need to develop key facilities and unlock essential upgrades. Here’s your road map to getting there!

Resident Services#

Resident Services is your island’s main hub. When you first start, it consists of a simple tent. However, as you progress, it’ll get a major upgrade.

Starting Tent: At the beginning, Tom Nook and his faithful assistant, Isabelle, help you from a small tent. Here, you can access basic functions like checking your mail, selling items, and DIY recipes.

Upgrading to the Building: After inviting a few new residents to your island and completing a few objectives, you’ll trigger the Resident Services upgrade. The tent will be closed for a day while it’s upgraded to a fully-fledged building, which unlocks new features:

  • Expanded Services: More services like island evaluations from Isabelle.
  • More Storage: A better place to store materials and items.
  • Public Works: Access to resident change patterns and other community projects.

Nook’s Cranny#

Nook’s Cranny is the island shop run by Timmy and Tommy Nook. Like Resident Services, it starts small but expands over time.

Initial Store: You’ll find it in a tent at first. It’s pretty limited in terms of items, but still useful for picking up basic necessities and selling items you’ve collected.

First Store Upgrade: To upgrade, spend and buy a combined total of 200,000 Bells within the shop and have Nook’s Cranny open for at least 30 days. After closing for a day, it reopens with:

  • More Inventory: A wider selection of items.
  • Expanded Hours: A broader time frame for shopping.

The Museum#

Blathers’ Museum is where you’ll donate all your fish, bugs, and fossils you collect. This facility also undergoes a notable transformation.

Initial Tent: At first, Blathers operates out of a tent where you can donate items to be placed on exhibit later.

Upgraded Museum: After donating 15 distinct items (bugs, fish, or fossils), the museum will be upgraded to a building. With further upgrades:

  • Art Exhibit: After a mysterious art dealer arrives, add an extra wing for art collections.
  • Higher Capacity: More space to showcase your treasures.

The Campsite#

The Campsite is where new villagers will come to visit. It’s an essential part of growing your island’s population.

Setup: After Resident Services is upgraded, Tom Nook will give you a mission to set up a campsite.

Function: Visitors will occasionally camp there, and you can invite them to live on your island permanently if you like them. This will sometimes involve fulfilling specific requirements they have.

Bridges and Inclines#

Access and navigation around your island are key to a thriving island community, so Bridges and Inclines become crucial.

Building Bridges and Inclines: Once Resident Services is upgraded, you can start placing these structures.

  • Bridges: Make it easy for residents to cross rivers without needing to pull out a pole vault every time.
  • Inclines: These let you access higher ground without a ladder.

You can pay for these using Bells. Each project will require fund-raising, but once completed, they drastically improve movement around the island.

The Tailor: Able Sisters#

No island is complete without a bit of haute couture. The Able Sisters tailor shop is where you’ll buy and design custom clothing.

Initial Requirements: After Mable visits your island and you buy clothing from her pop-up stand a few times, she and her sisters will open a permanent shop.

Shop Features#

  • Daily New Items: Exclusive clothing items.
  • Design Area: Create your own custom designs.
  • A Fitting Room: Try on clothes before you buy them.


Each of these facilities and their upgrades bring essential benefits to your island, making it more habitable and enjoyable. Keep working on your island tasks, and watch it evolve from a desolate getaway to a thriving community center where residents love to live. Happy Island Building! 🌴

Managing Infrastructure and Decorations#

Creating the perfect island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is no small feat, but with some planning and creativity, you can transform your island into a paradise. This guide will cover everything you need to know about managing infrastructure and decorations to make your island the envy of all your friends.

Building Bridges and Inclines#

Bridges and inclines are crucial for easy navigation between different parts of your island.


Bridges come in several styles and materials. You can start building them after unlocking the Resident Services Building, speaking to Tom Nook, and following his instructions. Here’s a quick list of steps:

  1. Talk to Tom Nook about infrastructure.
  2. Choose to construct a bridge.
  3. Pick a location where you want the bridge.
  4. Confirm the spot.
  5. Fund the construction with Bells (villagers won’t help with this).

Bridges can be pricey, ranging from about 98,000 Bells for a log bridge to 228,000 Bells for a suspension bridge. Choose your placement wisely to minimize costs and maximize convenience.


Inclines work similarly to bridges but help you navigate vertical areas of your island. Like bridges, you build them by talking to Tom Nook. Follow these steps:

  1. Chat with Nook about infrastructure projects.
  2. Select the incline option and then choose one that fits your island’s vibe.
  3. Head to the desired location and stake out the spot.
  4. Fund the incline with Bells.

Costs vary here too—from 98,000 Bells for a log staircase to a whopping 228,000 Bells for a brick staircase.

Designing the Layout#

How you lay out your island impacts both functionality and aesthetics. Here are some tips:


Lay down paths to guide visitors and make navigation easier. Once you unlock the Island Designer app, you can create stone paths, dirt paths, and many others. Keep paths simple but functional:

  • Place paths between buildings and key locations.
  • Use curved paths to add a natural, flowing feel.


Divide your island into zones for residential, commercial, and recreational activities:

  • Residential Zones: Keep villager homes together. This makes it easier to visit everyone and creates a neighborhood feel.
  • Commercial Zones: Group shops like Nook’s Cranny and Able Sisters for a bustling marketplace vibe.
  • Recreational Zones: Include parks, playgrounds, and picnic areas. Gardens and orchards can also fit here.

Decorating Your Island#

Decorations add personality and charm to your island. From outdoor furniture to seasonal items, there’s so much you can use to beautify your space.

Outdoor Furniture#

Outdoor furniture helps make spaces like parks and beaches more inviting. You can craft these items or buy them from Nook’s Cranny. Here are some popular choices:

  • Benches
  • Picnic tables
  • Hammocks
  • Fountains

Don’t forget to use fences to section off areas and give them a neat, organized look.

Nature Elements#

Nature plays a huge role in decoration. Plant flowers, trees, and place bushes around your island. Hybrid flowers can add unique colors, and fruit trees provide both beauty and food. Here are some tips:

  • Mix different types of trees and flowers for variety.
  • Plant flowers in creative patterns or specific areas (gardens, around homes).
  • Use bushes to create borders or line pathways.

Seasonal and Event Decor#

Keep up with seasons and events by adding themed decorations:

  • Spring: Pastel colors, egg decorations (Bunny Day).
  • Summer: Beach items, fireworks, festive summer furniture.
  • Fall: Pumpkins, Halloween decorations (Jack’s event).
  • Winter: Ornaments, snowmen, Christmas decor (Toy Day, New Year’s).

Final Tips#

  • Plan Before You Build: Use the Island Designer app to sketch out your ideas.
  • Balance: Ensure you have both functional and aesthetic features.
  • Flexibility: Regularly update and rotate decorations to keep things fresh.

By focusing on these areas, you can manage your island’s infrastructure and decorations effectively, creating a space that’s both beautiful and functional. Happy island building!

Villager Relationships#

Building good relationships with your villagers is one of the best parts of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. These little guys and gals aren’t just there for looks; they add life to your island and bring a bunch of unique personalities to the table. Here’s a deep dive into how you can nurture these friendships and make your island a harmonious place.

Understanding Villager Personalities#

Every villager comes with a specific personality type. There are eight different types in the game: Lazy, Jock, Cranky, Normal, Peppy, Snooty, Smug, and Uchi (or Sisterly). Each type has unique dialogue and behaviors:

  • Lazy: Easy-going and talk about food a lot.
  • Jock: Energetic and love sports.
  • Cranky: Gruff and mature.
  • Normal: Sweet and often shy.
  • Peppy: Bubbly and energetic.
  • Snooty: Sophisticated and sometimes aloof.
  • Smug: Charming and occasionally flirtatious.
  • Uchi (Sisterly): Caring but tough.

Knowing these personalities helps you understand what makes each villager tick and how best to interact with them.

Gifting: Give and Get#

Giving gifts is a surefire way to make a villager’s day. You can give villagers nearly anything, but some gifts are better than others. Here’s a handy guide:

  • Preferred Gifts: Each villager has specific tastes. For instance, giving a fashion-conscious villager a stylish shirt will earn you major friendship points. You can look up a villager’s preference online for more accuracy.
  • Fruit: All villagers accept fruit happily. It’s an easy, daily gift!
  • Furniture: Choose furniture that matches their personality and home decor.
  • DIY Recipes: If they don’t already know it, a DIY recipe is a thoughtful gift.

To give a gift, simply hold the item and talk to the villager you want to gift. Select the option to give it to them when it appears.

Daily Interactions Matter#

Talk to your villagers every day to gradually build up your friendship levels. Here are a few ways to make the most out of daily interactions:

  • Morning Hellos: A simple morning chat can brighten their day.
  • Quests and Requests: Sometimes villagers will ask you to do little tasks for them, like catching a specific bug or delivering an item. Always help them out!
  • Sending Letters: Write letters at the airport and include gifts. It’s a nice way to bond even if you’re busy.

Special Conversations and Events#

Distinctively, certain events or conditions unlock special dialogues with your villagers:

  • Birthday Celebration: When it’s a villager’s birthday, attend the party and bring a special gift!
  • Villager in Thought: If you see a villager with a thinking bubble, talk to them. They might be considering moving out or need help.
  • Sick Villagers: Sometimes, a villager might fall ill. Visit them in their home and give them medicine. They’ll appreciate your care.

Friendship Levels#

Your friendship with each villager can be tracked, although the game doesn’t provide an exact number. Here are the friendship levels:

  • Acquaintance: Just starting out, few interactions.
  • Buddy: Communicated several times, helped with requests.
  • Good Friend: Regular chats, frequent gift-giving.
  • Best Friend: Special dialogues, secret nicknames, and they may give you their photo.

Consequences of Neglect#

Ignoring your villagers isn’t the best idea if you want to maintain harmony. If you don’t interact for a while, they might feel neglected and decide to leave the island. Regular check-ins help prevent this.

Moving Out#

At times, villagers might decide to leave. You can either encourage or ask them to stay. Letting a villager go can also be a chance to invite new characters to your island, adding fresh dynamics to your community.

Building strong bonds with your villagers isn’t only rewarding but makes your island life in Animal Crossing: New Horizons even more delightful. Follow these tips, and you’ll have an island full of happy, friendly neighbors!

Unlocking Additional Content#

Unlocking all the exciting features in Animal Crossing: New Horizons can feel like a treasure hunt. You start with just a tent and a deserted island, but soon you’ll have a bustling island paradise. This guide will walk you through how to unlock additional content to make your island the best it can be.

Resident Services Building#

Your journey begins at Resident Services, which is initially a modest tent. To upgrade it to a building, you need to:

  1. Invite More Residents: You need to bring in more villagers. Start by building a bridge and three new housing plots. Once those houses are sold and the residents move in, you’ll be on the right track.

  2. Support Island Life: Complete tasks given by Tom Nook and Isabelle. This includes things like hosting a ceremony for new developments, crafting various furniture pieces, and generally improving your island.

When you hit these milestones, you’ll notice construction beginning, and soon enough, that little tent will become a full-fledged building!

Museum Upgrade#

Blathers will be your go-to owl for everything museum-related. To unlock and expand each part of the museum, you will need to:

  1. Donation Fundamentals: Start by donating five fish or bugs to Tom Nook. Blathers will then pop by and suggest opening a museum.

  2. Stock the Museum: Keep donating fish, bugs, and fossils. Once you’ve hit 60 unique items, the museum will automatically go under renovation to add the Art Gallery.

  3. Statue & Painting Collection: To complete your museum, you also need to gather art from Redd. He appears in his boat and sells paintings and sculptures (beware of fakes!).

Nook’s Cranny Upgrade#

Nook’s Cranny, your go-to shop, also upgrades as you progress:

  1. Initial Build: First, Timmy and Tommy will ask you to help build Nook’s Cranny by collecting 30 pieces of wood, hardwood, and softwood, plus 30 iron nuggets.

  2. Sales Milestone: After spending at least 200,000 bells and 30 days passing since the initial building, the shop will close for a day to get bigger and better.

Able Sisters’ Tailor Shop#

To get a dedicated clothing shop, Mabel needs to visit:

  1. Visit Mabel: She will start showing up occasionally after the Resident Services building is upgraded.

  2. Buy Lots of Clothing: Show interest by purchasing items from Mabel’s temporary setup. Once you have bought items over several visits, she’ll propose setting up the Able Sisters shop.

  3. Placement: Choose a spot for the shop, and construction will begin. After two days, you’ll have access to new threads!

Unlocking Terraforming#

Terraforming is a coveted feature that lets you reshape your island:

  1. Improve Island Rating: Isabelle will help you get the feedback you need to boost your island’s rating. Aim for a 3-star rating by planting flowers, trees, placing decorations, and removing weeds.

  2. KK Slider Concert: Once you reach a 3-star rating, the famous musician, KK Slider, will visit your island. After his performance, you’ll unlock the Island Designer app on your NookPhone.

  3. Add Paths and Water Features: Use the app to create paths, and once you unlock rivers and cliffs, you can alter the landscape to your heart’s content.

Celebratory Infrastructure#

You can add even more to your island with bridges, inclines, and special decorations:

  1. Progress Through the Game: Tom Nook will give you options to build bridges and inclines. These projects require resources and time, but they make getting around the island much easier.

  2. Seasonal Events: Participate in various events and holidays, which often bring limited-time items, decorations, and new features. Check your in-game calendar or Isabelle’s announcements to stay updated.

Unlocking additional content in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is about expanding your island, welcoming new residents, and achieving milestones. With patience and some elbow grease, you’ll unlock all the features that make your island feel like home!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons: Island Development Guide
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