Recognize this? This little stone cube was probably your very first house you ever made in Minecraft. (Or you made a similar house out of wood)
While this ugly little cube may well be a functional dwelling, it certainly isn't very pleasant to look at.
This guide is a compendium of every little tip and trick I have picked up during my time playing Minecraft for making your buildings not only functional, but also easy on the eyes.
This guide will cover six different topics.
-External (such things as walls)
-Internal(floors, windows, and the like)
-Furnishing(beds, bookshelves, and lighting)
-Misc. (Ways to use blocks that can fit a variety of builds)
-Advanced Building (for when you need to expand your cozy cottage)
Lets get started, shall we?
Walls are a very important part of a house. They keep the bad things out so you can sleep like a baby.
Making a wall look good is not very difficult. They key thing one must remember in wall building is variety
Look back up at the cobblestone cube. Notice how it is entirely made of one material. This is bad.
Consider these two examples:
Each of these walls is made of two materials, instead of simply one. This gives your eyes more to look at, breaking up the monotony of a single repeated image a bit.
Even simply adding one layer of a different material can make a huge difference, such as this:
See how much nicer that looks?
Shape is another important aspect of making a good wall. By simply adding a few outcroppings, one can make the wall much more appealing:
Adding a trim to the top or bottom of your wall can also help improve it's look:
While this gives your wall a decidedly fort-like look, it still looks alot nicer than a single cobblestone slab.
Windows are a must in survival. They allow you to see attackers, without then being able to see you.
This is hardly better than a plain cobblestone wall, aesthetically speaking.
Give windows a border, like so:
Also, make the windows bigger than a single glass panel:
This not only gives you a better field of view, it also looks more like a house and less like a jail cell.
So, if we were to combine everything that we've learned about making a good looking wall:
Looks great, doesn't it?
So, Lets move on to making a good interior for your home.
The inside of your home should feel, well, like home. You will probably be spending a fair amount of time in here, so making it look right is rather important.
Consider this hovel:
Its small, made of stone, poorly lit, cramped, and it also probably smells bad.
This is no place to live. Think about if your real house was like this, would you like it? Of course not.
Making a house only 2 blocks tall feels cramped. Consider making the rooms four or five blocks tall, this will greatly reduce the claustrophobic feel of your home.
(No specific example picture here, but all other examples will be four tall at minimum)
See above. Having a good wall not only makes the outside of your house look good, but the inside as well.
Dirt floors are ugly. Having a floor that is the same material as your walls is also ugly. Consider this:
Its a little bit better than before. The walls are a little basic, the windows are a little small, but at least you need to duck to get inside, right?
But, the house is still made mainly of one material. A little more variety would improve this place tenfold.
Changing the ceiling and floor to a material not used much in the wall would help a bit. If the wall is mostly stone, make the floor wood, or vice-verse.
Simply changing the floors & ceiling to wood yields this:
Also, notice the ceiling in the above picture. Do you see how it has a border? This is another technique for making the floors and ceiling look great. Variety in material doesnt need to be limited to walls. Making your floors into a pattern will give you something interesting to look at while you mob up creeper entrails.
Looks good, right? Now lets add some furniture!
Alright. So you have a house. The walls are solid, the door locks, and you could effectively wait out the night in there.
Looks decent enough, as well.
But, it seems a little bit...boring. Sure its safe and secure, but what can you DO in there? Shadow box? Pocket pool? There isnt much really.
So let's spruce this place up a bit.
Lighting is very important, both in your survival and in aesthetics.
Lighting in its most basic form is easy, just pop up a few torches, and you're golden.
But, instead of just hanging a little wooden stick from your wall, why not do something fancier, like a nice holder for it?
the new fence attaching in 1.9 makes doing this a breeze.
Of course, if you still use 1.8 this doesn't quite work. So instead, try placign a block where you want the torch, and then torching that:
Or hang a block from the ceiling, like so:
Some simple variety in torch placement can work wonders.
Of course, no house is complete without a place to sleep, or eat. Notch was kind enough to provide us with an actual bed, but where can we sit to eat our mushroom soup? on the floor? I think not!
Making a chair is as simple as placing two signs on a set of stairs:
couches can be done like so:
And awesome corner units can be done as well:
You even have a light to read by!
Speaking of which...
Bookshelves add a nice touch of atmosphere to the room. Just be careful putting them down, as you cant pick them back up again.
We also have tables now. By placing a pressure plate on a fence, we can get tables of both wood and stone variety:
half block slabs make good footrests for the chairs:
Also, chests, furnaces, and crafting benches count as furniture. Plus, you'll need to use them, so its good to have them around.
And don't forget abut things like paintings, they can really brighten the walls.
So, given all that we've learned today;
Nice and cozy!
So, now we have some basic ideas on making things look good, but there are still some things left to explain!
When it comes to good building, a tip to remember is: think outside the box. Finding creative uses for blocks will yield some rather interesting builds.
Stairs are awesome!
The stair block is one of the more versatile blocks in Minecraft. Both the slabs and the stair blocks provide some excellent ways to customize your builds.
Consider the stair block:
It makes walls!
it makes roofs!
Plus it also makes furniture, as I showed earlier.
Stairs are, in fact, awesome.
Fences are also awesome!
Fences can make for more than just corralling cows into your slaughterhouse.
Above, I showed you a fence being used as a torch mount, but fences can also make...
Rooms make the house
Having more than just one room can make your house all the more pleasant. However, dont just slam up a new wall and then put a door in it. get creative with your room divisions:
So, now you have a lovingly built home that was created by your hands. Feels good, doesn't it?
But now it seems to be getting a little cramped, and frankly, it's still pretty cube shaped.
Lets remedy this, shall we?
Adding a second floor
Running out of storage space? Need a new room for your brewery or enchantments? Time to expand!
Expansion can be done in two way:
A> Knock down a wall, and build a new room
B> Add another floor to your house
Adding a new room is rather easy, so I wont cover it here. Adding a new floor however, can be tricky to do properly.
First, you need to make a way up to your new floor. You can use either stairs/slabs or ladders. Ladders are space efficient, and allow for perfectly vertical travel, however they lack a certain aesthetic value, unless used properly. Lets go with stairs.
We start with our little house:
Nice and cozy, but we need more space.
Go ahead and build a staircase! Go on, give it your best shot.
...Really? Thats what you did? Bad, very very bad. Tear that down. Now. Then go sit in the corner and think about what you did.
The problem with making a staircase like that is, its much to big. That took up about a third of the little cottage. While a grand staircase like that might be at home is a huge castle, it doesnt belong here.
Try something like this instead:
By having the stairs spiral around themselves, you can fit the entire staircase in to one little corner.
Thats the most important thing with making stairs: Build them according to the rest of your house. Consistency is aesthetically pleasing.
Anyways, you've got the stairs now. So punch a hole in the roof, climb up, and start building the next story.
Now, the easiest thing to do here is just build up a new wall, add a new roof, and voila, a new floor. However, this will end up looking quite tower-like. If you're making a tower, thats fine. But this guide is more about houses, and most people dont just live in a 15x15 tower that extends for fifteen stories.
Instead of walling in your entire roof, consider only walling in a portion of it.
This will give your second floor a bit of diversity, and your house will look much less like a huge cube.
Now its time to add walls.
Dont make the walls look exactly the same as the walls on the first floor. You can use the same materials, but change the look just a little bit. Again, variety is key to good aesthetics.
I like to make these walls mostly out of glass. The view from this elevation is phenomenal, plus you can use it as a sort of watch area for baddies.
Of course, thats just my design preference. Make it out of whatever the heck you want!
Once youve got a good second floor set up, roof it in however you want.
I also made the remainder of the first floor roof into a porch; so I can watch the sunset, or castrate creepers with a well placed arrow. Its your choice if you want to or not though.
So, now we have a much bigger house. Great!
Speaking of roofing, let's cover that next shall we?
Say this is your current house:
It looks pretty good, yeah? Nice walls, good color variation, and you even stuck on a second floor! Good on you!
But there's still something wrong with it. Doesn't it look a little...boxy? Minecraft is a game of cubes, yes, but that doesn't mean you need to live in one!
What you could do it change your roof. Maybe try a barn roof style of build:
Not bad! Maybe add some stair blocks to make the edges less sharp:
You can also simply add some features to your existing flat roof. This will not only save you time, but you won't need to destroy anything you've already placed.
Lets go and look at the little side room on this house. By simply adding a structure made of stairs and slabs, the roof goes from boring looking to:
Looks much better!
Im gonna actually add a door here, and turn this into a second floor porch:
Looks good, but still a little...plain. Needs more roof.
try adding a little one block wide overhang around the door, like so:
It adds a little variety to the wall.
Lets go add one over the front door as well:
This one is less triangular, but still adds a bit of change to the otherwise flat wall.
Heres how the house looks now:
Much better I think, it looks much less boxy.
Mind you, Ive only scratched the surface of roofing. Theres tons of other styles out there. Pyramidic, Victorian...look at some houses in real life for good inspiration!
I really dig that porch, too. Speaking of which...
Alright, I'm just about done here. Theres just a few more things we need to go over.
Have a theme
Having a theme to your build is very VERY important. If you live in a cozy little beach cottage, don't put a fire moat around it. It'll look very out of place. The same goes for your epic medieval dungeon: having a floor of brightly colored wool will detract from the feel just a tad.
Build beyond function
Don't just make what you need, because in this game all you really need is a dirt cube and some torches. After that, you're set.
Instead build everything you can think of. Make libraries, hotels, bars,fountains, fireplaces, anything you want! Minecraft is your toy, make what you want of it.
Use ALL the blocks
This guide is just a starter, there is much MUCH more you can do with the blocks we have.
Make wool carpets, make walls look old with mossy stone and bricks, use piston or double doors via lever. The possibilities are ENDLESS.
Some blocks are purely decorative. USE THEM!
Wools, vines, mossy stones, lily pads, leaf blocks...none of these have a use outside of aesthetics. Using these blocks right will turn your build from good to epic.
Get a texture pack
Everything I posted in this thread was done in vanilla Minecraft. However, most people seem to feel that the vanilla textures are...lacking.
Find yourself a texture pack that you like. I have seen some marvelous creations that looked even better because the builder had a texture pack that fit the theme.
There is a terrifying number of texture packs available, go give them a look sometime.
Below I will post some good examples that other forumers have shown me.
Links to other guides on building.
T Man T Rex's architecture guide
Thats pretty much it for the basics. I shall continually update this topic as more blocks are added, or new designs are discovered.
I hope this guide has helped you escape your confining cobblestone cube, and I hope you enjoy your wonderful new home.