No Wood Boxes: A Building Guide


Empress of Light
You all know it. Everyone's built one before. It's the classic beginner's house: the wood box. Some people never advance past that stage in building, forever constructing box after box. Sometimes they'll build giant boxes, other times boxes inside boxes, occasionally a box with a triangle roof, but it's always a box. A simple box, made out of one or two materials.

And that's fine. You don't need to build something cool to be a pro Terraria character - Yrimir would still be a beast even if he built all boxes. However, if you build boxes and would like to better your building skills, I'm making this tutorial especially for you. By the end of this tutorial, I hope you will at least know how to start improving your houses. So, without further ado...

The Basic Box


A simple box with simple furniture. Nothing unusual here. From here, there's two main directions you can go when improving your builds. I'll start with the first:

The Shaped House


As you can see, this is infinitely more interesting to look at than the basic box. Basically, it's something that still uses basic materials such as wood, but takes a creative shape like this one. Just add some curves, corners, and some add-on rooms and you're set! This image I've given you is just the tip of the iceberg. Remember, a room doesn't have to be a rectangle shape- it can be anything you want. A trapezoid, a circle, triangle, anything! Just make sure it's closed and has some sort of way in if you want an NPC to live there. And remember, utilize that hammer! Just don't overdo it.

The Fancy House


The basis of this house is variety. Instead of making it out of one or two materials, the builder of this house aims to use as many as possible while still making it look good. Obviously, this takes some level of skill to make, but later on having an eye for this stuff is essential. The best way to go about putting in many different types of blocks is to put in columns and rows, like I have. It looks somewhat like struts, and the spaces in between them are prime spots for windows. As you can see, my example is shaped like a box, to show just how effective variety can be in making your house look good. If you see me using a material that you don't recognize or don't know how to get, just ask! You're also free to ask me what would go well with any specific block.

The Combo House


This can be a bit challenging to make at first. It basically combines the previous two methods, making a varied house with lots of shapes. This is what you want to strive to achieve, since making these houses helps give you your own personal style. Oh, and one last thing...

It's OK to rip ideas from other people's houses!

If you see an idea you like on someone else's build, feel free to use that idea in your own build. Doing this is what'll give you an idea of what you're good at building and what you like building: effectively, your style! I'll give you an example.


This is in one of my personal worlds. If you'll look at the roof, you can see that I'm using fences. That style has been ripped and adapted from a guy on a popular thread on the old Terraria forums (I forget his name; some of you might recognize it though). If you went to the bother to compare my and his roofs, though, you'll see that we're still very different. That's because I've adapted his style to fit my personal tastes. When I first started building this type of roof, they were more similar to his. However, over time I changed them.

So, effectively, a good builder's style is a Frankenstein's Monster of styles: an amalgation of parts that, when brought together, are totally different from what they came from. Remember, just ask if you have any questions or if you want me to rate your build and tell you how to improve it.

Above all, though, just experiment. If you're not sure where to begin, build something like you've never built before. It might be bad, but it's a start.
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Building Style Examples

These are some examples of different types of builds and tips & tricks on how to build in those styles. Feel free to use any of the ideas or parts you see here- incorporating pieces of other builds into your own builds can greatly improve your skills. Also, I've tried to put little lessons in most of these that you can use in all your building, so you should read all of these, if only for completeness' sake.

Style 1: Classic Medieval


This is the style that most people are familiar with, and is the easiest to pull off well with little experience. Regular wood and pearlwood are both great choices, though I prefer pearlwood- it makes great flooring in my experience. Planked wood is also great for walls, since solid stone brick can be a bit boring. Notice how I made my spiral staircase and ladder- these designs are some of my favorites to use in all my builds. Medieval builds are great for using squares and rectangles- simply add a few towers to a box, put some crenellations on top (the alternating brick, in case you don't know), and you're well on your way to a great medieval house. Lastly, I'd like you to notice how I put brick walls right below the crenellations to create that raised effect.

Style 2: Grungy Modern


This type of build is actually sort of my own creation- it's clean, but has a seedy sort of look to it. This build in particular looks like it could be a restaurant of sorts on the outskirts of a city. Sandstone and tin bricks are a must for this style, and stone slabs also work well. It sort of has a greyish, dull look to it with the sandstone to break things up a bit. I recommend using glass furniture and lights, though you can, of course, choose whatever you like. Remember, experimentation with builds is always a good thing- they might not work well often, but sometimes you'll come up with a whole new build style, like I did.

Style 3: Clean Modern


This is similar to grungy modern, but cleaner and whiter with crazier geometry. This is actually a style that I sort of "imported" from Minecraft, and I think it works rather well in Terraria. The flooring is actually boreal wood painted grey- always remember that paint is an option. Also, that clean, white wall is really white dynasty walls in disguise. One of my favorite things to do when building is to use blocks for purposes they're not intended for- the results often surprise me.
Actually, now that I'm looking at the build, I kind of wish I put a row of tin bricks along the top of the first floor instead of just the second. Looking back at your builds a day or two later is actually really pivotal in the building process- all these were built in about half an hour each, and definitely aren't as good as they could be.

Style 4: Oriental


Sometimes, Terraria will give you a set of default blocks and walls for a specific style. Using just these blocks will give you an OK build, but it'll never be as good as it could be. Sometimes you need to mix things up with different blocks, and that's what I've done here. This build is sort of a mix between dynasty and living wood, creating a unique feel that neither can have by themselves. I'd also like to point out that this type of build can be a lot more impressive than my example shows; some styles are easier to build with than others, and this is definitely one of the harder ones for me.

Style 5: Dark Medieval


Think classic medieval, but with lots of dungeon features and more outcroppings. This is also more likely to feature angular geometry- sort of an upside trapezoid shape like the featured build. I recommend dim lighting like the carriage lamps used in this build. Generally, blue and pink dungeon bricks are better, though green is still definitely a viable option; really, it's all dependent on your personal taste. I believe that's pink slab wall I'm using as the main background- remember, there's 3 different types of walls for each color of dungeon brick, resulting in a staggering 9 different options of wall! And that's just for the dungeon walls- gray brick is also viable, as is anything else with a sort of dull feel and lots of texture.

Style 6: Hellish Medieval


Yep, more medieval. This time, it's a variant that works well in the Underworld. Something that honestly surprised me is how well red brick goes in this type of build. I always imagine red brick to be pretty much reserved for "alley pizzeria" type builds, but it actually ties the whole build together, along with the lighting. Lighting is very important in a build, especially if you're using some sort of colored torches or lanterns. The diablost lamps create that lava glow without me needing to pour lava everywhere or put down ugly living fire blocks. The proper lighting can also expand the types of materials you use in the build- normally, wooden beams would clash horribly, but the red light it's bathed in helps it fit in with the rest of the build.

Style 7: Icey


Sometimes, the style you choose means you have limited materials. This forces you to be creative with what you do with them, and this is a great example of that. I sort of deviated from the classic "all ice/snow bricks, all ice furniture" approach many take to icey builds. I put in blue stained glass- seriously, that's amazing, you people should do that more often- and mixed in some boreal wood and a pearlwood door. The curved roof actually works surprisingly well, but it may be challenging to create that sort of roof for some of you. Overall, this style is simpler and harder to deviate from, but can create a pleasant look.

This list is in no way complete, but it should give you some inspiration for your builds. Also, please leave feedback on this tutorial and feel free to ask for me to elaborate on anything or suggest future parts of the guide!
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Location, Location (because three "Location"s are too cliche)

As anyone in real estate will tell you, a house's location is one of the most important factors in choosing it. This applies in Terraria, too. An ice house looks silly in the desert, and you can guess where an underworld-themed house belongs.

But that stuff's easy. What is challenging, though, is building off of and with the location you choose. If you build with the terrain and use materials that go well with the natural blocks, you can make an excellent build.


If you'll look at this build I whipped up, you can notice that I've built it on stilts of mahogany in the jungle water. If this house was without the stilts and in regular Purity, it wouldn't have the same effect.

Another important thing to do is to build around the terrain you're given. If you see a neat hill or crevasse, or simply some interesting-looking geography, don't flatten it all out! Make your build flow with the terrain, and it'll look a lot more natural and nice.

One last thing for this section: don't make random floating builds unless they have something "holding" them up, such as clouds or some kind of mechanical thing. Building on floating islands is fine, but please don't just have a random house floating in the middle of nowhere. Give it propellers, or maybe rockets- just something.

If you'd like something explained further or want more examples of anything, just ask! I'm not sure if I'm going to add any more sections after this one, but I'm more than happy to add anything on to existing ones or give you advice for your build.
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Oh yeah, the slopes were crazy as I wanted to imitate the scaly pattern seen on Demonite Bricks, but I will certainly edit that. Thank you for your feedback!

My dungeon- themed pagoda (I couldn't be bothered to get any dungeon bricks, especially as I had the travelling merchant and I bought 2 stacks of dynasty wood).
There are quite a few areas I think I could improve on, but I am out of the box stage at least.
First thing that catches my eye with the pagoda is, maybe you could put a different wall immediately behind the platforms. I'm thinking... regular wood, maybe. Otherwise, looks nice.

Oh, and also: dynasty wood looks awkward as a slope. I do like the usage of it outside the doors, though, so maybe you could replace the slope blocks with platform stairs while keeping some of the dynasty wood below them.
Neat! I like seeing these really unique builds. The middle part looks a little geometric, though, so if you want it to look more natural, messy that up a bit.
This actually started off when I didn't have very many materials, and I tried to expand it to look more interesting. I used Palm Wood for the roof, because I couldn't think of any better material that I had on hand. I'm still working on the one on the left, so it looks silly for now.
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