Stardew Valley doesn’t have official Steam Workshop support, but its modding community has absolutely blossomed since it released in 2016. There are thousands of mods out there that do everything from changing what your animals look like, to making fishing easier, to adding items and adjusting game balance. We’ve completely overhauled our guide to the best Stardew Valley mods that change how the game looks and make farm life more convenient.
Most of these mods were found either on the official Stardew Valley Mod forum or at the game’s Nexus Mods page, both of which are getting more amazing mods everyday. If you’re wondering how to play multiplayer, see our separate Stardew Valley multiplayer guide. Even with mods, Stardew Valley is one of the best laptop games to play on a low-spec machine.
An important thing to note before jumping in is that Stardew Valley is still actively getting updates. Since there isn’t any official mod support (yet) there’s a chance that mods will break or need to be reinstalled after updates, so it’s smart to back-up any files you are going to modify in case you need to revert the changes. And back up your save data just to be safe. It can be found by default at C:Users[USERNAME]AppDataRoamingStardewValleySaves.
How to install Stardew Valley mods
Most of these mods are simple modifications to the game’s XNB files. That means all you need to do to install them is download the modified XNB, find the corresponding XNB file in the Stardew Valley ‘Content’ folder—default location is “C:SteamsteamappscommonStardew ValleyContent”, and the XNB you are looking for may be in a subfolder within the ‘Content’ folder—and then replace the original XNB with the one you downloaded. Though, like I said, you should make a back-up of the original in case you want to remove the mod.
Stardew Modding API (SMAPI)
Mods that make more complex changes may require the “Stardew Modding API”, or SMAPI for short. This is a community-made API that is frequently being updated and allows you to use DLL mods. It’s a slightly bigger hassle to install these mods than the XNB ones—as you first need to install SMAPI and then download DLL mods to place into SMAPI’s mod folder—but it also allows those mods to make much deeper changes to the game. You can download SMAPI on the Stardew Valley modding forum, and I’ll be sure to mark which mods require it to be used.
Stardew Valley ModManager (SDVMM)
There’s also a great community-made ModManager tool created by modder yuuki called SDVMM. This will help you install and update SMAPI, as well as keep track of all of your mods. It allows you to easily activate and deactivate specific mods without having to remove the files completely, giving you more flexibility if you want to try something on this list out but potentially not keep the mod forever.
Stardew Valley Content Patcher
Many of the most current Stardew Valley mods are compatible with Content Patcher, a tool which loads a whole host of mods without changing the XNB files, making install and uninstall easier, as well as reducing the likelihood of conflicts between mods. Content Patcher can be unzipped into Stardew Valley’s “mods” folder in the same location dictated above. You can then run Stardew Valley with SMAPI.
Now then, let’s get to the mods!
Ali’s Overgrown Fairy Buildings
Fairies aren’t going to be to everyone’s personal taste, but the Overgrown Fairy Buildings mod is too nicely done not to include in our list. It retextures all of your farm buildings to be pink and white, as well as being covered in vines and flowers. It’s an adorable way to personalize your farm, and I especially like the Slime Hutch being transformed from a castle into a sweet little cottage with a flower garden. And if you’re into flowers, you may want to pair this with Ali’s Flower Grass which turns all the long grass on your farm into vibrant wildflowers. Ali also has a Modern Farm Buildings mod, if you like this modders style but aren’t exactly into adorable ivy-covered farmhouses.
Bathhouse Hot Spring
The bathhouse north of Pelican Town where you can refresh your energy is handy, but the ambient whir of exhaust fans always feels just a little out of place in the idyllic valley. The Bathhouse Hot Spring mod turns the old bathhouse into a beautiful hotspring complete with the gentle sound of running water. The original mod hasn’t been updated since 2017, so another modder has uploaded a version of Bathhouse Hot Spring that’s compatible with the Content Patcher mod manager.
No Spouse Rooms
Deciding who to pursue as a spouse is an important part of every new farm I start. While I love all of Stardew’s beaus and belles, I’m always a bit disappointed when my sweetheart moves in and totally trashes the aesthetic of my house with their own weird hobby room. As modder Lydocia says, “Was my house not good enough for you?” No Spouse Rooms solves this problem by removing the extra room added by your partner when they move in. Marriage is all about compromise, apparently, but the sanctity of my decor isn’t an area where I’m willing to meet in the middle.
Modern Gothic Interior
Speaking of decor, modder Coldazrael’s Modern Gothic Interior reskins a bunch of interior furniture with dark wood and stark white fabrics. If you’ve worn out the possibilities of Stardew’s vanilla furniture, the Gothic furniture brings a whole new vibe.
Seasonal Victorian Buildings
Seasonal Victorian Buildings is another very extensive visual mod for giving your farm a whole new look. Modder Eemie really went the extra mile by creating seasonal versions of each building, meaning that these Victorian structures fit right in with the word all year round.
PORTRAITS AND CHARACTER SPRITES
DCBurger’s Portrait Mod
My own favorite portrait mod is DCBurger’s Portrait Mod, unlike the many, many anime-style character edits and gender swaps, DCBurger’s portraits are grittier. All of the characters have a darker style with square jaws and more masculine features. They may not exactly fit in with the vanilla version of Pelican Town, but they’re a nice break from the cuteness. These portraits rely on the Portraiture mod that allows for higher resolution character portraits.
Gigi’s Hi-Res Portraits Mod
For a totally different feel, Gigi’s Hi-Res Portraits turn characters into colorful anime portraits that feel a bit like Pokemon and One Piece had an affair. They’re a fun take of several characters. Harvey in particular makes out like a bandit by going from dork mustache man to verified senpai. Remember to download the Portraiture mod for this one as well!
Stardew Anime Mods
Stardew Anime Mods is one of the most popular portrait mods for Stardew, for good reason. Its detailed and brightly colored pixel work fits in great with vanilla Stardew Valley. Unfortunately, it mostly just includes portraits for the young women of Stardew Valley, meaning that the bachelors will all look just a little less sparkly in comparison.
Games about dating monsters and swords and birds have worked their way into gaming mainstream over the last year and Monster Valley carries in their freaky footsteps. “Ever wanted to date a demon? Seduce a slime girl? Marry a merman?” Asks modder Blizzriel. “Well, now you can!” Monster Valley changes both the portraits and sprites of Pelican Town’s most eligible and their families into spooky alternatives. Sebastian and Robin become demons, while Maru and Demetrius are patchwork dolls. Elliott, of course, is a merman.
Coii’s Hair Sets Pack
Coii’s Hair Sets Pack adds a bunch of new hair styles to choose for your farmer, both long and short varieties. From elegant braids and bows to stylish slick-backs, there’s more than enough to choose from even for a picky character creator like me.
Elle’s Cat Replacements
Another wealth of choice is Elle’s Cat Replacements which can turn your farm cat into anything from a calico to a tortoiseshell and everything in between. Elle has made a number of animal replacement mods, including Dog Replacements, New Horses, and several others.
Cuter Fatter Cows
Cuter Fatter Cows turns Stardew Valley’s bovines into plumper versions with rosy cheeks meant to look like the cows of Harvest Moon. A number of modders have created new animal sprites but these are by far my favorite. Modder Identitypollution has recently released an update to Cuter Fatter Cows which includes all of their cuter and fatter animal retextures.
The Horse Bear mod turns your useful steed into a grizzly bear. I like bears, which makes this a good mod. There are actually several mods for turning your horse into a bear, but this one is my favorite. I guess modders like bears too.
Horse Boys lets you turn your horse into one of Stardew Valley’s bachelors. They look pretty horrifying galloping around on all fours and I really don’t want to get into the implications of riding your spouse (or someone other than your spouse) around town. This mod is the kind of weird that toes the line of outright messed up without quite crossing it, which I can respect. For more horrifying and uncanny villagers, try PamCrow. It is exactly what you think.
I should not be shocked by the number of mods that specifically turn various elements of Stardew Valley into cotton-candy pink. To start with, turn all of Stardew’s dialogue boxes and inventory screens pink with The Pink Interface. Follow that up with Cute Valley Pink and More Buildings for Cute Valley which together pink-ify all of your farms buildings, interiors, tools, and machines. Do you want pink sheep? Of course you do. Why have scarecrows when you can have a bunch of adorable catcrows instead?
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