Animal Crossing: New Horizons players have noticed that some items, similar to the craftable Decayed Tree, never seem to show up in villagers’ homes. Villagers typically use items they obtain as gifts: they’ll put on clothes that the player hands them and display pieces of furniture that players send via the post office. It might disappoint a particularly customization-oriented Island Representative to gift a resident an item they think fits their home esthetic well, expecting to see it in their house the next day, just to find that it won’t ever show up. But they don’t need to be too surprised, as there are patterns to the exceptions villagers make.
There have always been limitations to influencing an Animal Crossing resident’s home design. It’s been impossible in the series to get an animal neighbor to change their carpeting or backdrop since the original GameCube Animal Crossing – to the chagrin of ACNH players who aren’t partial to the plain home interiors that an island’s first three villagers get. They’ve never left items without appropriate furniture models, such as stationery packs, out in their homes.
What causes them to disfavor furniture like the Decayed Tree, notwithstanding, is size. Villagers often move onto islands with enormous pieces of furniture in their homes – but aren’t probably going to use the same style in the event that they get it from players. While New Horizons allows free movement across its guide, the placement of items and other objects in the game is based on tiles. A resident is reasonably prone to display an item that occupies a couple of tiles’ worth of space, especially assuming that it’s sufficiently small to put on a table. But decorations like the Decayed Tree take up four tiles each, and other furnishings can be as large as nine tiles. Tile count-based space preferences may also be the reason villagers never place rugs in their houses, regardless of whether a decorator’s ability to put furniture on top of them means they’re easy to fit almost anyplace in a room.
As with huge items, villagers just seldom use wall or ceiling decorations that don’t accompany the default versions of their homes. Decorations like ceiling-suspended lamps and lanterns appeared with Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ 2.0 update last fall, which simply might not have added the option for villagers to account for their ceilings. In the interim, villagers might try not to use wall decorations because of potential difficulty with the AI finding ideal places for such items. Different types of backdrop place feature different styles, sizes, and placements of elements like windows and decorative molding, meaning that it’s easy for a wall item that looks naturally positioned in one house to watch out of spot in the same spot in another.
It might feel like a shame that there’s no chance for an Island Resident to turn Lucky the preserved canine’s house into a spooky forest of Decayed Trees, or to get Wolfgang the wolf to display an entire triceratops skeleton-as he did in the original Animal Crossing. But even in a customization-weighty game like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it’s reasonable to define some boundaries and permit villagers to retain some control over their spaces.