Basic Building TipsA well-designed living space will make it much more easier for you to satisfy your Sims' Needs. Since you aren't constrained by any kind of time limit in the game, you can feel free to be as fanciful or as efficient as you wish with the layout of your house, but opting for efficiency will reduce the amount of time required for your Sims to satisfy their basic motives, giving them more time to strive towards achieving their Wants. If you're willing to take another step towards the perfect living space, you can design your house around the Aspirations that are most difficult to easily fulfill. A Romantic Sim, for instance, will have to do his or her Clintonesque best to juggle multiple dalliances, all while keeping each affair secret from each other Sim they're involved with. In this case, you're definitely going to want to have a Hot Tub or bed in an enclosed area within easy reach of your main living space. Since a Sim that's in love with you will get upset if they see you smooving on another Sim, it's best to try and ensure that you're alone with the object of your affections before you begin your conquest. Each Aspiration will have its own particular design requirements, however, and it's not always possible to equally appease everyone in a family, especially when you're just starting out and don't have much money to spend.
Since each Sim in your household will share the same basic Needs, however, it's a good idea to attempt to construct or re-shape your house so that they will have an easy time fulfilling them, and worry about their Wants as opportunities arise. This chapter is designed to give you a few tips on how best to accomplish this. Keep in mind, though, that most of the Story Mode houses will have fairly constrained finances when you first hop into them, so you may not be able to effect all of these changes right away. Since the Sims 2 lets you track the progress of your Sims over many generations, though, home improvements will benefit anyone who happens to live in your household in the future, regardless of whether or not they've even been bored when you start shuffling things around.
You can have doors on every side of your home, if you wish, but visitors will naturally gravitate to the doorway that exists closest to the sidewalk; this can be considered to be "the entrance." On some of the preconstructed lots, the entrance is set rather far back from the sidewalk; if you're building a lot from the ground up, or have plenty of money with which to reshape your floor plan, you'll want to build your home outwards on the first floor so that the doorway is as close to the sidewalk as possible. This will give your visitors a shorter walk to the entrance, and will make it easier for your Sims to get the mail, pick up the paper, go to work, and so on.
Beyond that simple locationary caveat, it's important to get a double door at your entrance to allow full freedom of movement for the many Sims that will be coming and going. A single doorway at the front of your house is a natural bottleneck, and will create a lot of congestion in your foot traffic, especially when you have a lot of visitors, such as when you throw a party. You don't need anything fancy here; if you're on a budget, just buy two of the cheapest doors and place them side-by-side. There are some pre-made double doors in the building menu if you wish to use one of those, but be careful when selecting them; the most expensive doorways are generally just large singles, so be sure that what you're buying will actually give you two discrete entrances.
The third major aspect of planning your entrance is to ensure that it allows your guest to move directly to the kitchen after they come inside. When you have guests over, their Hunger and Fun Needs are the ones in most dire need of satisfaction, so giving them only a small area to traverse to grab a quick snack will help you keep them around longer, and will keep them in a better mood while they're on your lot.