So, you’re getting fed up having to haul all your gear and loot across the wilds of Skyrim and sleeping in the dingy back room of the Sleeping Giant Inn. Well fellow traveller, if you’re tired of not having a place to retreat to after a hard day fighting bandits and exploring damp dungeons it’s time to seriously consider taking the leap into home ownership. Sure, you can buy a cozy house in many fine cities across Skyrim (Whiterun and Riften to name a few — just avoid Windhelm as explained in our Why I’ll Never Move to Windhelm article), but why buy a house when you can build one of your very own. With the release of the Hearthfire addon, gamers everywhere can build a house in Skyrim. Want to get started? Hang tight as we walk you through the entire house building process in 5 easy steps.
Step 1: Hearthfire Addon
In order to build a house in Skyrim you first need to have the Hearthfire game expansion. Hearthfire was released in September 2012, and is the second of three DLC addons available for Skyrim. If you’re rocking the Skyrim Legendary Edition, all DLC addons are included and you’re good to go. If not, you’ll need to download Hearthfire if you haven’t already done so. The expansion costs $4.99 and is available for download here:
Helpful Tip: If you don’t own any of the Skyrim DLC addons, you may want to consider simply purchasing the Skyrim Legendary Edition as explained in our Skyrim Fansite video.
Step 2: Buy a Plot of Land
- Hjaalmarch (capital is Morthal)
- The Pale (capital is Dawnstar)
- Falkreath Hold (capital is Falkreath)
Go to the capital city of the hold you want to build in and speak with the Jarl. The Jarl will have you complete a quest or two, and once you’re on his good side he’ll allow you to purchase land for 5,000 gold. You don’t need to speak with an attorney or a realtor, but you will need to speak with the Jarl’s steward to make the buy.
After making the purchase, follow your quest marker to your land. Once you arrive onsite you’ll find a drafting table, carpenter’s workbench, blacksmith’s anvil, and a treasure chest filled with with some choice building materials. You’ll also receive a copy of The Beginner’s Guide to Homesteading (the book is located on top of the carpenter’s workbench).
Helpful Tip: Buying the land is just the first step, and you’ll need more building materials than what is provided in the treasure chest to build the house of your dreams. What materials you can’t harvest on your own cost dinero, so it’s advisable to have a bigger bankroll than 5,000 gold before beginning the house building process.
Step 3: Stockpile Building Materials
There’s nothing quite so frustrating as starting the building process and having to stop suddenly because you don’t have enough building materials on hand to complete the project. For this reason it’s recommended to stockpile your building materials before you build a house in Skyrim. You don’t have to stockpile of course, but the first time you have to hoof it over to Solitude looking for iron ingots you’ll wish you did. With the Hearthfire expansion you not only have the ability to build your own house, but your own furnishings as well (beds, chests, shelves, tables, weapons racks, etc.). Take a look at the table below to see what basic materials are used in the building process and horde as much beforehand as you can.
|Type||Typical Use||Obtained From|
|Sawn Logs||framing and furniture||saw mills|
|Quarried Stone||foundations and flooring||stone deposits|
|Iron Ingots||nails and iron fittings||smelters or merchants|
|Corundum Ingots||locks||smelters or merchants|
|Steel Ingots||safes||smelters or merchants|
|Straw||apiaries and beds||merchants|
Helpful Tip: Out of all the building materials listed above, Iron Ingots are especially prized. Iron Ingots are fashioned into Nails, Iron Fittings, Hinges, and Locks at the blacksmith’s anvil. You can’t buy iron hardware from any merchant, so you’ll have to make it yourself. As a bonus though, you’ll increase your Smithing level as you’re sweating at the forge.
Step 4: Use The Drafting Table and Carpenter’s Workbench
Do you have a good supply of building materials on hand? Excellent! Now it’s time to use the drafting table to plan your house. Like any good architect you’ll need a blueprint to build a house in Skyrim, and the very first building you’ll start crafting at the drafting table is the “Small House.”
After selecting the “Small House” layout at the drafting table, go to the carpenter’s workbench to start the actual building process. A house is built from the ground up in the following stages:
- Foundation: (10) Quarried Stone, (1) Sawn Log
- Wall Framing: (10) Nails, (6) Sawn Logs
- Walls: (8) Nails, (4) Clay, (2) Sawn Logs
- Floor: (4) Quarried Stone
- Roof Framing: (6) Sawn Logs
- Roof: (10) Nails, (1) Sawn Log
- Doors: (2) Hinges, (2) Nails, (1) Lock, (1) Iron Fitting, (1) Sawn Log
Once the Small House is complete, you can build the following exterior features if you desire:
- Animal Pen: (1) Sawn Log
- Apiary (Falkreath): (1) Nail, (2) Sawn Logs, (2) Straw
- Armorer Workbench: (1) Iron Ignot, (1) Sawn Logs, (2) Quarried Stone
- Fish Hatchery (Hjaalmarch): (4) Nails, (3) Sawn Logs, (3) Quarried Stone
- Garden: (1) Sawn Log
- Grindstone: (1) Iron Fitting, (1) Sawn Logs, (1) Quarried Stone
- Mill (The Pale): (1) Iron Ignot, (1) Sawn Logs, (2) Quarried Stone
- Smelter: (2) Iron Fittings, (5) Iron Ignots, (6) Clay, (4) Quarried Stone
- Stable: (5) Nails, (3) Sawn Logs
Helpful Tip: If you anticipate adding on to your Small House in the following Step 5, don’t bother creating furniture for it just yet. Once you start your first addition (the “Main Hall”), your Small House will be converted into an entryway.
Step 5: Expand Your House
When you build a house in Skyrim you start out small. Are you starting to feel cramped in your one room house? No worries! Once you complete the Small House you can quickly expand the design by creating a larger “Main Hall” with three extra wings. What starts out as a basic dwelling can quickly be crafted into a sprawling manor complete with unique rooms to suit your taste. Plan carefully though — the maximum number of wings you can build is three (East, West and North) and you cannot have more than one addition in the same wing (for example, you can’t have both an armory and a kitchen). Refer to the table below and choose one red, one blue, and one green addition to create the manor of your dreams:
|Addition Type||Wing Location|
|Enchanter's Tower||West Wing|
|Alchemy Tower||North Wing|
|Storage Room||North Wing|
|Trophy Room||North Wing|
Helpful Tip: Additional Carpenter’s Workbenches are found inside each new house addition. Different furnishings unique to the additions can be built from the Workbenches (for example, an Enchanter’s Table can be constructed for the Enchanter’s Tower). Once you’re finished with a Carpenter’s Workbench you can have it removed from the room via the Drafting Table.
There you have it! By simply following these 5 easy steps you can build a house in Skyrim — and not just any house, mind you, but a house as unique as your own playing style. Building a house is just the beginning. Once your home is finished you can hire a Steward to oversee your affairs and adopt children (we’ll cover these features of the Hearthfire expansion in a later article).
What are your thoughts? Share your opinions and helpful tips on home building with your fellow Skyrim fans in the comment section below, and be sure to check out the Fansite’s latest Skyrim memes for a good laugh.