Valheim – Ruins as First Homes and Temporary Camps

The easiest way to get a home in Valheim, repair a ruin.

Guide to Ruins as First Home

Why Re-use a Ruin?

It seems pretty obvious, but why build a home from scratch when you can just repair and re-use an existing one?

Reusing a ruin is the fastest, cheapest solution to making a shelter, and a nice feature of the game, so use it!

I have been playing for 100 days, and I still use this as my first point for building when setting up in new areas.

Once I have a temporary camp I can build something fancy nearby if I want, the temporary camp gives me a safe place to sleep while I am building it.

Find a Ruin

So, firstly, take a quick run around, and find a promising ruin.

Ruins I tend to avoid are:

  • Small (only 4 squares, you can make a home in them at a push, but they aren’t comfortable).
  • And, next to Dark Forest (too much hassle from monsters early on).

You want one in the middle of a meadow if you can, and there should be options, especially if you run around a little at the start.

From a distance this one looks perfect, nice and large!

Inside, you can see it’s broken down.

There was a log and stone blocking the front door on this one, so I broke through the other wall with my axe, hence the bigger hole in the wall.

Build a Workbench

Stick a workbench on one side of the building, in this case, on the wooden floor tiles.

The workbench will allow you to repair and add furniture.

You can break the workbench at any time and replace it, so don’t worry about it’s location now.


To be honest, I don’t think you need to do this, but it pleases me. Select your hammer & the repair option, and run around repairing what you can.

You can see the rollover is showing the wall section needs repair, although it looks ok, you can see the one next to it hasn’t been repaired yet either.

Once you are done, replace any missing pieces (in my case, two roof tiles, a door and one wall piece). It would have been less had I not had to break in due to the door being blocked (which I hadn’t encountered before).

Add Furniture

You need a bed, and this must be “near” a fire.

A fire cannot be built on a floor tile, delete one floor tile (if it’s there), and place the fire. Note, depending on your building you may suffer from smoke if it’s small. There’s solutions to this, including chimney designs.

For the time being, you only need a bed and a fire, you can still sleep in the smoke if you have to, and you can jump in & out to get fresh air in the day. Making a non smoking fire is your next task once you are done here…which is now…

Oh, and I added a cooking spot over the fire. Not technically needed for a shelter, but you will want it to cook your meat.

The Finished Article

Mark It on the Map!

Whenever I finish a home I mark it on the map, you will thank yourself later when lost in the dark and needing a safe spot.

Open the map, select the “house” and double click on the map (when standing in the middle of the house if you are a little OCD!).

I have my own marking systems, home is for homes (doh), circles for stuff, Thor’s hammer for minerals, etc.

Afterthoughts & Optional Extras

You can use the above system to create multiple overnight camps around the map, which is very handy when you are off exploring.

A chest is going to be needed as you start to gather more stuff, although you can also use woodpiles, stone piles, and simply throw stuff down and leave it (I am not sure if it de-swpans eventually, but seems not).

Some torch stands are helpful, both inside & out. I usually stick one or two inside, and one or two outside. Either side of the front door is handy if you are running in the dark with no torch! They require sap to keep them fueled, but that’s pretty easy to get from tree and monsters.

You can also use the above to start a bigger home, simply use the above as the start point, then knock down a wall or two and expand it, or use it as the entrance porch to a bigger home extended off one side from it.

Written by Red Cloud

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