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Incredible Animal Crossing: New Horizons island ideas to give you serious inspiration

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The best way to get new Animal Crossing: New Horizons island ideas is to take a look at what the community is doing. Reddit can sometimes feel a little overwhelming with full city recreations and multi-layered masterpieces but there are plenty of incredible, actually do-able creations out there. 

Animal Crossing island inspirations come in all shapes and sizes and plenty of people are excited to share their design codes just to see how others will make the most of them. 

So if you’re looking for fresh Animal Crossing: New Horizons ideas that won’t take hundreds of hours to complete, we’ve collated a stack of the most inspirational below. Whether it’s making your fairy tale a scary tale or finally finding something to fill that Brewster-shaped hole in your coffee-loving heart, here are some of the most innovative Animal Crossing: New Horizons island ideas. 

1. Make a splash

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The best thing about this peaceful outdoor pool design from madoodlem on Reddit isn’t the three available colours to match your mini pool, or even the inventive lighting system, it’s that it only takes three of your custom design slots. But this is just the beginning. With countless other incredibly intricate tile designs available, your pool can quickly become a work of art. You could even search for ‘puddles’ at the Able Sisters to add even more H2O. Just be prepared for images of a very small pink frog to appear too. 

2.  Take the museum outside  

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If you like wandering into the museum just to sit and watch the butterflies flutter, you’re not alone. And, more importantly, you don’t always have to head to Blathers’ domain to enjoy them. Catch three of the same of your favourite bugs, hand them over to Flick for model making, and you can create your very own butterfly garden like twerk_on_that_shark on Reddit. It’s probably a good thing that Blathers never leaves the museum. Wretched things…  

3. Release your inner pirate 

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Raise the mainsail, cross your ayes, and practice your best me hearties with a full on pirate ship to make the most of Gullivarr’s booty. @Cosmos_ray on Twitter has taken it, quite literally, to the next level with a fully terraformed multi-level galleon complete with moat, Wood Burning Stove mast and Market Sign sails. Don’t worry, there’s no need to make any villagers walk the plank if you don’t have space. The beach makes a perfect location for a docked or even grounded ship.   

4. Build glass bridges 

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An official eight bridge limit almost feels counterintuitive. So, for once, you don’t want my astronomical amount of Bells, Mr Nook? Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to get inventive and create your own island crossings with terraforming. Tile over the top with a design like ghosthost999’s glass bridge on Reddit and you might find that Nook’s own variety are now lacking a distinct sense of risk with every step.

5. Create themed restaurants

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Given that trips to Disney and Universal are pretty much off the cards for the time being, consider your Animal Crossing island your CV for a career in Imagineering. You could just build a regular restaurant with all of that colourful furniture, but throw in some of Celeste’s crafting recipes and the Diner collection and you’ll have a culinary experience akin to Disney’s Sci-Fi Dine in Theater in no time. Think of your favourite restaurants and start getting inventive. Just don’t let Zucker near any sushi, eh?   

6. Get farming

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This is for those of us who switched up a Stardew addiction for an Animal Crossing one. Is there truly a way to feel at home in a game without any cows or sheep to tend to? No, Rodeo and Wendy don’t count. This barn and livestock combo comes courtesy of Mctieknots on Reddit and it’s a perfect springboard to a future agricultural paradise. Tilled fields of turnips, Simple Panel greenhouses and orchards all make for perfect Animal Crossing island ideas.  

7. Don’t forget the chickens 

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 A little further down the pecking order, so to speak, is this perfect chicken coop. Made up of two stalls, some Simple Panels and some eggcellent hat designs from @daileyart on Twitter, this hen packed-delight is another innovative creation with AC’s existing recipes. For more Animal Crossing inspirations and ideas, make sure to follow Andrea on Instagram too for more brilliant pieces. French doors on a Simple Panel, anyone?    

8. Scaring is caring  

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Don’t panic, there’s nothing wrong with you if you want to add a little, well, unspeakable terror to your Animal Crossing island. How can we know what true happiness is if we don’t experience the darker side of life? Whether you’re placing in-game skeletons and anatomical models in murder basements, or painting the ground with the above instant coulrophobia from @cybearizons on Instagram, there are plenty of ways to increase your islands spookometer. Don’t forget to add KK Dirge to nearby speakers to add even more atmosphere.  

9. Build a bar 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Until Brewster finally makes an appearance, it’s going to have to be down to us to make sure that our villagers have somewhere respectable to pass the time with a beverage or six. This classy bar design from @morimorisenyou on Twitter works both inside and outside and comes complete with a satisfying keg Simple Panel design. Use this as a diving off point and recreate your favourite cocktail bar. Tangy would probably love a cannibalistic Screwdriver or two.    

10. Give villagers themed gardens  

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Who cares if they have no intention of even looking at your creations, let alone acknowledging them, your villagers deserve perfectly themed garden areas. This perfect barber zone from @wd_mori on Twitter in honour of Gaston’s impressive facial fuzz is only the beginning of the glorious potential. Why not build a tea house for Tia? An orange grove for Tangy? And Lucky would just love a graveyard… Well, there’s another hundred hours gone.   

11. Embrace the path

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Gaze back in time to the Animal Crossings of yore and you might remember that the only way to make paths previously was to constantly run along the same patches of ground. Thankfully we aren’t still purposefully making holes in the grass but what the AC community now only refers to as The Path from @Denim2_mori brings the same natural feel as those well-trodden grooves. And there are now dozens of new variations. Whether you want spilled sprinkles in multiple colours or black cobblestones, there’s a perfect design for your island out there.   

12. Have a picnic  

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Yes, your villagers will probably still sit adamantly right next to your perfectly placed cushions but that’s no reason not to try. Creating a picnic area on the beach or hidden snugly in an orchard is a simple addition that only requires a few design slots. This creation from moonbunnyart on Reddit comes complete with blanket tassels and makes the most of a stack of Sable’s patterns for the custom cushions. Teddy bears are of course optional. Just don’t tell Stitches.  

13. Build an outdoor library 

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If the one thing keeping you from building a library outside is the idea of the books getting wet, you’re not alone. We like to imagine that they’re all waterproof which is the only way that we could build anything like @haru_eiffel’s beautiful natural library. Check out the rest of their Instagram if you’re looking for more non-book flavoured Animal Crossing ideas. Be warned though, it’s one of those ‘are we even playing the same game?’ accounts.  

14. Construct a market

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If you’ve had enough of the passive aggressive messages from the HHA about the recipes filling your basement despite the fact that they can’t be put in storage, it’s time to find somewhere for them to go. You don’t really need to build an entire cityscape for the background like @okinawa.island on Instagram but a market packed with stalls will be a welcome addition to your island. It’s also perfect for leaving specific items to share with friends.   

15. Add city feels 

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Visit an Animal Crossing newbie’s home and the first thing that will hit you is just how green it all is. We did all start out on an abandoned island, y’know. A fun mission then is to design like you never want to see green again. Islands like those of @miss_acnh on Instagram make the most of stone and metal to bring a big city atmosphere to proceedings. Just remember that if you don’t like the colours of your Nook Miles items, these vary from island to island so you can always trade for fresh versions.   

16. Keep clean with a laundry 

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Until this moment, we’d never really thought about where villagers without washing machines cleaned their clothes. It turns out that all those Jocks joking about sweat stains on your recipes probably weren’t kidding. Step in @imotarez on Twitter then with some fresh-smelling inspiration. This laundrette once again makes the most of Simple Panels as both dividers and machine facades and thankfully has plenty of reading material.     

17. Add a train station  

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 A seaplane is nice and everything but if you’re feeling nostalgic for New Leaf, there’s nothing quite like an Animal Crossing train station. This creation from @flandealmendra on Twitter doesn’t just have a perfect platform complete with vending machine, but even has a train made from a customised Brick Oven and two stalls. This is also an inspirational use of a small space between the dock and Residential Services. All aboard.   

GR+ news lead Louise can often be found watching horror, drinking coffee and beating you at The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth.