Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ new DLC, Happy Home Paradise, is a game-changer for villagers who love decorating. Not only does it add a lot more ways to flex your creativity, it also adds a ton of features to spruce up your main island home.
All of these elements unlock over time, so you’ll need to keep designing vacation homes and facilities in Happy Home Paradise to get access to all of them. Many of them also have upgrades to uncover. I’m still building my own interior decorating résumé, so I’ll add more details and features as I uncover them.
I’m also only mentioning features you can actually use in your home. So, while you can change room sizes in Happy Home Paradise, for example, we won’t be getting into that here.
One of the first features you uncover in Happy Home Paradise, polishing furniture, adds a pretty sparkle to decor, and you can control just how much shine an item gives off. But polish really starts getting fun when you get the upgrade, which lets you add bokeh lighting, steam, cold fog, butterflies, gloomy swirls, and other neat effects to your items. You can also use custom designs, making literally anything emanate from your furniture like some of god of domesticity. The way they emit from objects changes based on the main polish effect you use, too, creating even more variation.
The only drawback is this doesn’t seem to work on furniture items placed outdoors.
New Horizons wowed me just by having its yellow-tinted and soft-white lighting options from launch. But now, you can set the mood with an array of colors, and adjust how bright or dim you want this effect. Lamps also still work if you want to have a variety of colors.
To use or not to use windows
Some of the wallpaper options that shipped in Animal Crossing have windows. There are different styles, shapes, and shades. But with Happy Home Paradise, you can toggle those windows on and off at will. It’s a pretty simple feature, but it’s always nice to have more options.
You know that tiny hallway you see when you first enter your home or any of its rooms? It’s always been a basic-looking wood. But now, you can customize that. Maybe a simple tile makes sense for a kitchen or bathroom spot. Or perhaps you just want a darker wood to better coordinate with your flooring. Carpeted and stone options are also a thing. This also changes the stairs when visible. It’s a tiny detail, but it’s amazing how well the right tweak here can tie an area together, especially if you’re moving the camera in that direction.
Okay, so yes. There were technically already counters in New Horizons. But not like this. Those were furniture items that had counters, but the new counters in Happy Home Paradise connect to each other and offer simple low-wall partitions. I’ve loved using them as half-walls or as simple kitchen islands. They come in two heights, neither of which are overly tall.
Did I mention partitions? That’s right. You can have a whole wall separating areas. This has been a blessing for the spa/bathroom area I’ve been working on because, let’s be honest, the rooms are a little too big for a bathroom. But it’s also off-putting to have a relaxing bath in view of a toilet. I’m sure I’ll use these walls in lots of other ways, but I would be lying if I said that wasn’t the first thing that came to mind.
These are also super nice if you’re coming into New Horizons for the first time or just starting over. If you only have a few rooms and are trying to make the most of your space, these partition walls are super handy.
Animal Crossing players are famous for creating so many gorgeously themed rooms, and the new “soundscape” options will let them go even harder. Sure, we’ll always have K.K. Slider’s tunes to set the mood, but they only go so far. Now, soundscapes let you add in the sounds of light chatter, traffic, the ocean, creaking, or many other ambient sounds. The soundscape feature also has tiers you can upgrade to unlock more sounds, so stick with it, especially if you’re unimpressed with the initial offerings.
The catalog is a game-changer
Listen. The new “catalog” feature is quite easily the best part of Happy Home Paradise. Back in the before times (before this DLC, naturally) obtaining all the items you wanted for your decorating was a crapshoot. The Nook’s Cranny carried random selections of items, and if they didn’t happen to have the exact piece of furniture you wanted, you had to wait until they did. And even if it was in stock, it might not have been in the color you wanted. Honestly, this felt too much like real life.
Enter Happy Home Paradise’s catalog. It takes a while to unlock, but once you get it you can order anything available from your decorating catalog on demand, and in the exact colorway you prefer. When I learned I could just buy nearly any of those items on demand? I think I died. This is actually a ghostwriter composing this article.
To make use of the catalog, you speak to Wardell to purchase items using Poki, the currency of the Happy Home Paradise isles. The only limitation is you can only buy things that can actually be put up for sale. For example, when you look at your catalog at the terminal, you’ll notice certain items, from DIYs or gifts from your mom or Gulliver, that you can’t purchase. Wardell can’t help you there, but everything else? Wow. Such easy access to all that good stuff might be the single biggest reason to pick up Happy Home Paradise. I may have died, but at least I’m in designer heaven.