animal crossing on switch
animal crossing on switch

Best Animal Crossing New Horizons Island Ideas 2023

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) is one of the most popular Nintendo Switch Games, up there with Pokemon Arceus. The 2021 2.0 update and the Happy Home Paradise DLC added a ton of content to give Animal Crossing veterans and newbies plenty of island ideas and layouts to create. 

We’re going to highlight some of the best Animal Crossing island ideas and ACNH layout inspiration you can explore in 2023.

In this guide:

  1. Open Brewster’s cafe
  2. Create a picnic spot
  3. Get the Happy Home Paradise DLC for more features
  4. Add an outdoor library
  5. Add an outdoor tiki bar
  6. Welcome the 16 new villagers
  7. Add different vehicles to your island
  8. Add a nail salon
  9. Unlock new shops on Harvey’s Island
  10. Add a zen garden
  11. Make a goth room
  12. Animal Crossing: New Horizons Q&As

Animal Crossing New Horizons island ideas

animal crossing brewster's cafe opening

1. Open Brewster’s cafe in ACNH

Our first ACNH idea involves Brewster. We were so happy to see Brewster make a comeback in the update! They made their debut back in 2002 in Animal Crossing: Wild World. A whole ten years later, you can now add Brewster’s cafe to the museum, but there’s a catch:

Steps to add Brewster’s cafe to the museum

  1. You need to donate 60 items to the museum
  2. Install the 2.0 update
  3. When you speak to Blathers at the museum, he’ll initiate Brewster’s appearance in your game.
  4. Speak with Kapp’n to visit a new island, where you may encounter Brewster and ask him to join your home island.

So if you’re looking for ACNH museum ideas, this is it!

2. Create a picnic spot on your island

picnic with basket hat books food

Cottage core ACNH  inspiration at its finest. A tiny picnic spot is great to add summery/autumn vibes to your island. All you need is a few custom design slots to create a picnic blanket (you can even find one with tassels along the edges). Then add a few flowers, and a picnic basket and you’re done!

>> Cottagecore Aesthetic: Subculture On A Student Budget

3. Get the Happy Home Paradise DLC for more features

For £22.49, you can get the Animal Crossing: New Horizons DLC known as Happy Home Paradise.  It allows players to design vacation homes for villagers and it comes equipped with a “built-in inventory” so you won’t drain your personal resources. All of these things can really improve your island!

Buy Happy Home Paradise and get a Nintendo student discount, too!

4. Add an outdoor library to the layout

Bit of an odd one for ACNH inspo, but we noticed lots of bookworms in The Animal Crossing: New Horizons community. 

Build an outdoor library for your pals to pick up a book and enjoy. You won’t need to worry about adding books to the shelves either, as they come pre-stacked with them. Plus, it just looks great and adds a bit of warmth to the atmosphere.

5. Add an outdoor tiki bar on your Animal Crossing island

tiki bar with cocktails and fruits neon lighting

What better way to elevate your ACNH island design than with a tiki bar?

Add some drink bottle panels to the back of the bar, some bar stools, classy booths, and fireplaces for some ambience and you’ll have yourself the best bar on the island! 

6. Welcome the 16 new villagers to your ACNH paradise

Okay so this isn’t a layout idea per se, but it’s a way to populate your island! 

The 2.0 update added 16 new villagers to the game. You may recognise some of them from the older game, but there are a few originals we think you’ll love. Here are the 16 villagers to meet and greet:

  • Shino
  • Ione
  • Quinn
  • Sasha
  • Faith
  • Marlo
  • Cephalobot
  • Petri
  • Azalea
  • Tiansheng
  • Zoe
  • Frett
  • Rio
  • Chadwick
  • Ace
  • Roswell.

7. Add different vehicles to Animal Crossing

While, you can’t actually drive any of the vehicles, adding cars and the like in Animal Crossing helps to create a sense of life (hustle and bustle, if you will). Adding some bikes, scooters, tractors and cars to the island can really make a difference. If you’re looking for good ACNH layout ideas then this could be what varies your island from the rest of the pack…

8. Add a nail salon to your island

nail salon with chairs and mirrors

Want to treat your islanders to some mani-pedis? You can really create your own salon on the island! Add your own colours, and patterns and even add shelves too! 

Want to add some comfort? Besides adding the salon work tables and chairs, place some comfy seats in the salon to act as a little waiting area too.

9. Unlock new shops on Harvey’s Island in New Horizons

Instead of hunting for the items you need to upgrade your island, you could unlock new shops on Harvey’s Island to get what you need. That’ll save you a ton of time too.

If you previously visited Harvey’s Island, you’ll receive an invitation to visit. If you’re a new player and haven’t encountered Harvey, he’ll send a letter asking you to stop by.

The shops at Harvey’s Island Plaza are a major convenience upgrade for New Horizons, providing one of the best Animal Crossing ideas we have for new and old players. This new marketplace is a venue for many of the game’s roving merchants.

10. Add a zen garden to your Animal Crossing island

zen garden

Zen gardens are good for the soul and one to add to your ACNH park ideas list. Perfect for those who love to be in nature.

Start by adding some bamboo trees, fencing, a pond and benches, so you and the villagers can find a corner of the island to truly relax.

And those are the best ACNH island ideas rounded up! Which Animal Crossing Island idea are you going to try out? Let us know by tweeting or DMing a screenshot of your designs.

11. Make a goth room

Animal Crossings is associated with bright colours, but if you want to add a touch of darkness, this may make your list of ACNH main room ideas.

To make a goth-themed room, you’ll need a box sofa in black, and you’ll want to craft a wooden low table in black and even an antique clock. Yes, all in black. Add some skull-themed flooring for good measure too.

Other small furniture pieces you’ll want to purchase are the throwback skull radio, chessboard, and birdcage to bring your gothic themed ACNH room ideas together.

brewster's cafe

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Q&As

How to get log stakes in Animal Crossing

You may need log stakes to build bridges. Go to a workbench, or open up your Nook Phone and look at the recipes, you should be able to find Log Stakes under the Housewares tab.

You will need three pieces of wood to make the stakes. To get wood, chop some trees down, but don’t use an iron axe otherwise it’ll cut the tree down completely. Bring the wood to your workbench, then you can make the log stakes.

How to get iron nuggets in Animal Crossing

It’s really easy to get iron nuggets in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Simply hit rocks with a shovel or an axe. Every rock can give you up to eight iron nuggets a day, but be quick, As soon as you strike a rock, a countdown will begin. You have ten seconds to strike the rock as many times as possible. Once the ten seconds are up, it’ll stop producing materials and you’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

Want to guarantee you get the most iron nuggets? Dig holes near the rock you’re mining so they all fall in.

How to get stone in Animal Crossing

Stone farming can be quite tedious. They’re a staple for many builds though, and you’ll need an axe or shovel to mine them. Here’s how to mine stone in Animal Crossing fast. 

  • Catch rocks fishing
  • Visit Mystery Tours, the tours you can go on by using the Nook Miles tickets.

How to get hardwood in Animal Crossing

Hardwood is one of the most important resources you’ll collect in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, as you’ll use it to craft everything from new tools to furniture for your home. Here’s how to get hardwood:

  1. Equip your axe
  2. Walk up to a tree and press the A button to swing your axe
  3. Pick up the chopped hardwood by pressing the Y button.

Just remember that each tree on your island will drop a maximum of three pieces of wood each day, so the more trees you plant, the more wood you can collect.

How to get bamboo in Animal Crossing

Bamboo is a unique form of trees that do not appear on your native island. Here’s how you can get it.

  1. Fly on a Mystery Island Tour and hope to get a bamboo forest template.
  2. Buy plenty of turnips from Daisy Mae who may mail you some Bamboo Shoots that you can plant and grow into a Bamboo tree.

Another way to get bamboo in Animal Crossing is to redeem Nook Miles:

  • Your neighbours reward you for doing favours for them by giving you clothes, crafting materials, and furniture. Sometimes, they will give you bamboo pieces or shoots!
  • Once one of your friends who is also playing New Horizons gets bamboo, they can either bring it to you during an island visit or mail it to you at the airport.

How to restart Animal Crossing: New Horizons

There is no in-game option to restart your Animal Crossing: New Horizon island. However, you can delete all save data on your Nintendo Switch to start fresh. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to the Nintendo Switch Home Screen
  2. Select System Settings
  3. Go to Data Management
  4. Choose Delete Save Data
  5. Select Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  6. Select Delete All Save Data for this Software
  7. Start a new game.

And there you have it! Don’t forget to sign up to Student Beans to get tech student discounts and much more. Plus, we can get you some of the best Nintendo student discounts too!