Tips For The Best Animal Crossing Decorating Ideas

Melissa Bradford

Once Animal Crossing: New Horizon players get their island filled with villagers and have K.K Slider perform, the real work has just begun. Terraforming is unlocked, and you can set about bending the land to your will. It is around that time when you might set a goal to get a five-star review. Isabelle can give you some tips, from cutting down trees to planting flowers.

RELATED: Animal Crossing: New Horizons – How To Speed Up The Development Of Your Island

Her main point is that you need to decorate. However, she just leaves it at that. If you are looking for ideas on how to decorate your island and achieve that elusive five-star rating, you’ve come to the right place.

Updated on March 25, 2023, by Branden Lizardi: With Animal Crossing: New Horizons not receiving any more content updates, the furniture options we have now are all we’re going to get. With the exception of the special seasonal holiday items in the Nook shop, that is. Either way, with the dust having settled proper, we’re taking another look at this guide to solidify all of the best Animal Crossing decorating ideas. We’ve cleaned up the formatting and improved readability while we’re at it. Good luck decorating Island Representatives!

How To Unlock ACNH Island Evaluations

Villagers celebrating outside of Resident Services.

Beginner players will not have access to evaluations from the get-go. A couple of things need to happen in the game first. These are:

  • Construct Nook’s Cranny
  • Build your first bridge
  • Furnish three incoming villager homes
  • Upgrade Resident Services

Once Resident Services is upgraded to a town square, Isabelle will become a part of the island. She is in charge of island evaluations.

Rewards For Having A Five-Star Island

Villager next to a lily-of-the-valley.

Besides having bragging rights, having a five-star island gets you two rewards:

  • Lilies-of-the-Valley: These unique white flowers will start growing on your island as long as your island remains at five stars.
  • Golden Watering Can Recipe: This is the most durable watering can in the game. This watering can is the only way to grow golden roses. Water and crossbreed black roses with this watering can to get the highly desired golden roses.

What Are Scenery And Development Points in ACNH?

Talking to Isabelle about island evaluation.

There are two scores the game keeps track of. These are development and scenery.

  • Development awards points based on stores, inclines, bridges, bought furniture, and fences.
  • Scenery awards points based on crafted furniture and natural trees, bushes, and flowers.

Every star rating requires a certain amount of points from both scores.

Star Rating

Development Points

Scenery Points


Below 80

Below 200


Between 80 and 159

Between 200 and 269


Between 160 and 399

Between 270 and 349


Between 400 and 664

Between 350 and 449


Over 665

Over 450

Of course, these points mean nothing unless you also know what items get how many points towards the island rating.

Development Point Values In New Horizons

Villager standing on bridge.

There are specific buildings that award points as follows:


Points Added



Upgraded Nook’s Cranny


Able Sisters



15 Per Bridge


15 Per Incline

Nine Villagers


Ten Villagers


Less than 100 Weeds


Placed Item




Scenery Point Values In New Horizons

Villager in flower field.

Remember that plants do not provide points until they are fully grown.


Points Added









Pumpkin Sprout




Flower Bud


DIY Furnishing


Large DIY Furnishing


RELATED: Small Details In Animal Crossing We Love

Animal Crossing Decorating Ideas To Increase Your Island Points

Able Sister's store with decocrated patio.

Knowing point values for ranking up your island is one thing, but having ideas for what to do is another. Luckily, there are many creative ideas out there that players have utilized to fulfill the point conditions of a five-star rating. Here’s a selection.

Expand The Shops To Outside

The Nooks Cranny and Able Sisters stores are a perfect place to start decorating. The best storefronts are those with seating, signs, plants, and cute fencing.

Many players like displaying some clothes and accessories outside the Able Sisters. Others add a coffee shop to the side. Some just absolutely adorn the area with flowers, bushes, and fences. Of course, players also do a mix of all three! For Nook’s Cranny, ideas include a place to park bikes, a fruit stall, plant shop, or patio with seating.

Supplement Your Museum

Player by a skeleton outside the museum

Who said the museum only had to be inside? Decorate your island museum with artifacts of your own. These can be doubles of the fossils inside, pieces of the shell furniture set, or just pieces you think belong in a museum.

You can also build a park around the museum. Maybe install a playground or even put up a coffee shop.

RELATED: Best Museums In Video Games

Build Yards Around Villager Homes

Witchy villager in a garden outside her home.

Adding fences ranks up your island score. So giving all your villagers their fenced-in yard will get you closer to the five-star goal and make your island all the more lived-in. Within the yard, you can decorate with flowers, shrubs, and pieces of furniture.

Fans have had a great time matching the colors and personalities of their different villagers to their yards. Give catgrass to cat villagers like Raymond, blue flowers to a blue villager like Sherb, and plenty of sweets to a villager like Merengue.

Make A Park

player next to a fountain

Making a park is an easy way to take up space and add a lot of decorations to your island. Add a playground, flowers, a walkway, a theme park, fountains, and more.

The possibilities are endless, and the game offers tons of different decorations that would suit a park. This is the perfect place to rank up those scenery points.

Set Up A Big Garden

Villager with a shovel in a garden

Gardens can be more than just crops for cooking. Decorate your Animal Crossing island with gnomes, lights, beekeeping boxes, a well, pots, a scarecrow, and a bench. You could even make a little table for folks to have tea amongst the flowers.

Not only will this add up your island’s points, but you can have lots of flowers in one place to attract more bugs.

Construct A Spa

player on a bench by a waterfall

Once you can terraform the island, you can go hard with waterfalls. With some well-placed waterfalls, flowers, towels, changing rooms, lanterns, and plenty of hot tubs, you can make a spa area in your village.

You can even add bamboo to give it a different kind of atmosphere.

Create A Restaurant Area

Player by an outdoor cafe area

Many creative players are making their own little restaurants on their islands. There are plenty of tables, chairs, food, and kitchen items you can use. Add some fencing and pathways, and you’ve got everything you need.

The cooking system really gives this idea extra life. If you don’t have enough food for the tables, just pick some flowers or buy candles to decorate on top of them.

Add Elements To Your Campsite

Player by a decorated campsite

Campers need more than just a tent to have a good time. An easy way to decorate your Animal Crossing island quickly is to put furniture around the campsite. You can add anything from a pool to a star-watching area to a trail to a telephone booth.

Just think about what would make a campsite all the more enjoyable for a visitor. Even just a path or signs pointing towards your stores and resident services adds a realistic touch.

RELATED: Animal Crossing: New Horizons – How To Decorate Your Campsite

Decorate Your Beaches

Player relaxing on the beach

Beaches are great on their own, but they can become paradise with the right decorations. Beach balls, fishing gear, lawn chairs, towels, and more can rank up those points toward getting five stars. Add a lighthouse and coconut trees while you are at it.

Don’t be hesitant to experiment with how flowers may accent the beach areas. Luckily in Animal Crossing, you never have to worry about the tides carrying off your stuff. Also, don’t forget the pier. You can actually put furniture on it.

Talk To Sable Every Day For More Decoration Options

sable talking to you in the shop

Customizing furniture is great and can inspire more ideas. However, you can be pretty limited if you’re not into making your own art. However, if you talk to Sable every day, she will eventually give you a lot of other patterns you can use on various pieces.

With her patterns, you can make pineapple pillows, pizza stalls, sushi signs, and more.

Plant A Bamboo Grove

player in a bamboo garden

Eventually, with Nook Mile Tickets, you can collect bamboo to plant on your island. The question is, where to put it? A lot of players have made their own little groves of bamboo. It can be fenced in or be at the highest peak of your island.

You can decorate it with lanterns, waterfalls, mossy rocks, and statues. Another idea is combining the grove with your campsite or park. There are so many ideas; if you want even more, why not visit dream islands for inspiration?

The Do-Nots

Villager surrounded by weeds.

There are some conditions that make a five-star island impossible. These conditions include:

  • If more than 220 trees or bamboo are on the island, the island rating will never exceed four.
  • Having 15 or more dropped items (not placed, just left on the ground) will cap the star rating at just four. (Tree branches, stones, and star fragments do not count).
  • Placing more than 45 items in an eight-by-eight area will also cap the rating at just four.
  • Having seven villagers or fewer will cap the rating at two stars.

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