A 5-Star island isn’t simply made in Animal Crossing: New Horizons — it must be forged through hard work and dedication. If you’re aiming to reach the top tier and get yourself a 5-Star Island, we’ve got everything you need to know. Even if you’ve unlocked everything, even if you’ve talked to Isabelle for tips, and even if you’ve been keeping your island as clean as can be, it might not be enough to reach that legendary 5-Star threshold.
There are some very specific factors that go into your island rating. You’ll have to dedicate time to cleaning the place up, freeing your island of clutter, and upgrading everything you possibly can. A few fancy staircases and bridges can’t hurt either. This is all about the mechanics of the island rating system, and I’ll try to break down each statistic to make the process as simple as possible.
With all that being said, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a very chill game. It isn’t about chasing status — if you love your custom desert island, that’s all that matters. If you’d like to see how (and why) your island is being judged, then you’ll find everything you need to know below.
More Animal Crossing: New Horizons guides:
20 Tips Absolute Beginners Need To Know | 5 Ways To Make Tons Of Bells | Early Money-Making Tips & Tricks | How To Get The Polevault & Ladder | Navigation Tools Guide | How To Import Images & Custom Designs
Making Your 5-Star Island | How To Rank Up
If you need specific guidance for making your island as good as it could possibly be, talk to Isabelle! She’ll share ideas to improve your island — perhaps you need more furniture, or you need to de-clutter some of the areas of the island.
A few bridges and stairs can’t hurt! You might need to pick up some discarded stuff you’ve left on the ground. Whatever needs doing, Isabelle will offer you ideas. Just visit her daily, and she’ll tell you what needs doing.
Otherwise, it’s important to understand how your island is ranked. There are three main factors that determine your star rating: local development, furniture placed, and scenery. You’ll also have to manage clutter and litter! I’ll explain all of these below.
Local Development | 5-Star Rating Tips
Before truly focusing on improving your island, you’ll want to fully develop everything you can! That means making sure all the shops are built, and you’ve put together a few bridges or stairs.
- Build the Museum
- Build Nook & Cranny Shop, Fully Upgraded
- Build Able Sisters Shop
- Build Bridges & Stairs — Each you place gives a big bonus to your rating.
Furniture Placed | 5-Star Rating Tips
This is all about decorating your island with furniture! Furniture can be anything — not just beds or TV sets. You can place fences of any type, outdoor playsets, or basically anything else.
All furniture placed is on a 8×8 grid ‘block’ — your island is judged by how much furniture is on these blocks. The more valuable the furniture (in Bell price) the bigger your bonus will be.
The trick when placing furniture is to place as much valuable furniture as you can all across the island. Don’t clutter too much furniture in one place, and make sure to mix up what type of furniture you’re placing — place different types, including furniture you can’t craft yourself. Placing the exact same piece of furniture dozens of time won’t help increase your score.
- Place multiple different types of furniture — DIY and non-DIY — in 8×8 grid squares all across your island.
- In your 8×8 block, make sure no more than 45 / 64 blocks are covered. More than that, and your block is considered cluttered.
- Fences of all types can be used to earn a bonus. Unlike other furniture, fences will give you a boost for every fence you place.
Island Scenery | 5-Star Rating Tips
Flowers are like natural scenery, so you’ll need to make your island has plenty of flowers and trees. Fully grown trees and adult flowers give the most bonuses! It doesn’t matter where you plant, just that you’ll earn bonuses for every flower / tree!
- Trees & Bamboo give a bonus to your star-rating.
- Flowers are even better. Adult flowers give the exact same bonus as trees — but you can pack a whole lot more flowers into the same amount of space!
Clutter & Litter | 5-Star Rating Tips
We’ve already talked about clutter, but I’ll go over the basics once more. Each block of your island is judged by an 8×8 grid square. If that 8×8 grid is full of stuff — precisely, more than 45 / 64 squares full — that section will be cluttered.
Natural scenery like buildings, bridges, cliffs and waterways won’t count toward your clutter. You’ll also have to worry about litter. If you drop an item on the ground, that counts as litter. If you have more than 15 items, your island is marked messy.
You can easily clean up by digging holes and burying your loose junk, or you can place items on the floor onto tables or other surfaces. If they’re placed, they won’t count toward your total messiness score. Natural stuff like tree branches and rocks that spawn on the ground every day don’t count toward your total island messiness rank.
With all that in mind, you should be able to become a master island decorator in no time! Once you’ve reached 5-Stars and earned your rewards, you can go back to living the simple life, and continue to customize your awesome island in peace.