The Sims 4 Dream Home Decorator review – A lick of paint on a tired design

Ava Thompson-Powell
The Sims 4 Dream Home Decorator review
EA / Maxis / Dexerto

The Sims 4 Dream Home Decorator Game Pack gives players who love to build and decorate the chance to turn their favorite part of the game into the motherlode of all Simoleons with the Interior Decorator active career. 

The promise of being able to jazz up a client’s home to their specific criteria and being rewarded for that is fantastic. It’s appealing to many Simmer’s styles of play, and to the many content creators out there who like to build or share their creations with the world online.

Unfortunately, however, the fun quickly turns into the same, surface-level style of play fans of the series long to see changed.

The Sims 4 Dream Home Decorator key details

  • Price: $19.99 / £17.99
  • Developer: Maxis
  • Release Date: June 1, 2021
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation, Xbox

The Sims 4 Dream Home Decorator trailer

Gameplay: Haven’t we been here before?

Getting started with the Interior Decorator career is simple to do, following the layout of other active careers from ‘Get To Work’, and the Acting career from ‘Get Famous’. After taking the job, you’ll have the option to choose between different gigs, each with its own description, payout, and budget. After accepting a gig, you’ll need to wait until the following morning at 9 AM before you can head off and start renovations.

Despite being an active career, you also have the option of sending your sim to work alone, taking the need to renovate off of your hands if that’s your own preference.

Once there, you’ll introduce yourselves to the client, chat with them, showing off mood boards, and discussing their tastes to find out just what it is that they’re looking for. Here, the free base game update of the new Likes and Dislikes feature comes into play: as you chat to the other Sims, you’ll discover their own personal preferences.

This is basically what you need to utilize to make sure that you do a good job. You can also ‘suggest’ particular style and color preferences to further your control over what it is they want from your work.

The Sims 4 Dream Home Decorator
EA / Maxis
You’ll need to find out all about your client to do a good job.

Here, the majority of the problems with Dream Home Decorator start to become clear. Sure, your client might like Island Decor, writing, and dislike cooking – but outside of this, you’re pretty much free to do whatever you want with the property upgrades.

At one point I was tasked with renovating a client’s kitchen. Instead of renovating the kitchen and changing the appliances, utilities, and counters to reflect their style, I instead decided to place down three console tables in their preferred decor style, and The Whipped Dream Cupcake Factory object (a giant, industrial cupcake maker). After talking to the clients and revealing my work, guess what? They loved it!

Sometime later, a gig came in from clients that wanted another level added to their home. Wanting to test the gameplay system further, I instead decided to build some walls in an open area on the bottom floor to create a new room. After decorating that new room lightly according to their preferences, the job allowed me to rack up §30,000 without sticking to the main brief!

The overview is simply that: an overview. You’re not penalized for decorating in a different part of the home or not using items that adhere to the particular brief. The pack relies too heavily on trusting the player to bridge the missing gaps of gameplay, and while storytelling and imagination are undoubtedly cornerstones of The Sims franchise, it should never be at the detriment of actual, deep gameplay systems.

Before and after photos in The Sims 4 Dream Home Decorator
EA / Maxis
When you’ve finished renovating, you’ll have to ‘show’ some photos to your clients.

Sure, there’s a cute little before and after montage reveal (complete with peppy music) that’s synonymous with interior design shows with the photos you’ve taken when revealing your work to the client, but these photos don’t actually ‘do’ anything other than pad out the gameplay loop of the active career.

You then enter into the typical social event and wedding-type formula of having to complete a certain amount of interactions with your Sims before you can get their seal of approval. That being said, this section can be skipped entirely, and it’s a shame that this feels like the better option.

The ideas are all there, and this career could be something special, but it’s everything we’ve seen before reformulated with a new coat of paint. Moving up the career chain rewards you with more restrictive gigs, money bonuses, clothes, and a shiny new laptop. However, these things are expected with careers in The Sims and are nothing to write home about.

As someone who has loved The Sims since its release all the way back in 2000 (I broke, lost, and repurchased many copies of The Sims 1’s expansions as a kid back in the day), it’s disheartening to see such a great, memorable series fail to fully redeliver that magic to fans with the game in 2021.

Build/Buy mode is where Dream Home Decorator excels

The Sims 4 Dream Home Decorator Build Buy Items
EA / Maxis
The Game Pack comes with a wide array of gorgeous items to add to your home.

Despite a lackluster game mechanic, the dev team continues to deliver when it comes to its fantastic Create A Sim items and Build/Buy objects. Players are given the chance to experiment with new options, such as modular shelves and wardrobes to store items in and hang the new clothing rail item in, sectional couches, induction stovetops, and toaster ovens.

Though it can be argued that many of these items should already be a thing in the fourth iteration of the game, it is to be commended that the team is actively listening to feedback and attempting to continually rectify the limitations that players have (as they did with adding bunk beds back in March).

The bulk of the items for furnishing in this pack take a twist on Mid-Century-Modern styles, but the team forgets to go that one step further by not creating fridges, sinks, and other elements that truly fit in with the aesthetic.

CAS Dream Home Decorator
EA / Maxis
The CAS options have a vintage feel similar to that of the Build/Buy items.

Rating: 5/10

Despite having good Create A Sim and Build/Buy mode items that hold up the pack, the rest feels extremely similar in scope to the less expensive Stuff Pack ‘Moschino Stuff’ career included that followed an incredibly similar game path.

Game Packs like ‘Vampires’ and ‘Realm of Magic’ are perfect examples of content that’s worthy of the higher price tag, providing new, deeper gaming systems and vibrant worlds to explore.