More Or Less {American Dream Builders} Episode #1

I hope you guys had a chance to watch the show last night. If not, maybe you can watch it online. I totally cried watching it last night. When those kids saw their rooms! Man, I lost it. And Nate was fabulous as always. Is it possible his hair has gotten even better?

Before we get to the room that I chose, let’s chat about the show itself. I LOVED that they chose families that were multigenerational. It is becoming more common and while it is a beautiful thing, it creates some unique challenges. I also loved this episode because we are a family of 6 living in a tiny cottage style home so we know a thing or two about how hard it can be to make a small space function well.

As far as the contestants go, I will just say this….. The reason we all love Nate so much is because he is humble and KIND. You do not need to be pushy to be heard. You do not need to be harsh to get a point across. And you do not need to push others under the bus to be validated.  There were some contestants I liked more than others and it will be interesting to see if any of them grow on me or if my first impression sticks. Okay, okay, let’s get to why you all are here :)

Here is the room I chose to recreate!

Kid's room from American Dream Builders with Nate Berkus

I picked this one over the other children’s rooms because I loved the colors, the layout, and the window seat. I didn’t know at the time that I chose this room, that it was done so last minute. It was suppose to be the den. I think they pulled it together really well.

Here is what I found….

more or less

Budget friendly ideas to recreate this room for less!

And here are the items I found to re-create the room for less money. In some cases I tried to pick different options at different price points because I have found “a good deal” is all relative.


I couldn’t find a headboard that had a coral/orange geometric pattern but I found some fabric that was perfect. And making an upholstered headboard is a simple DIY. Plywood, batting, fabric, a staple gun and maybe some 2x4s is all you would need. The second fabric pattern (the one of the right) is the closest I could find to the actual headboard featured in the show. This fabric is an outdoor fabric so it is sure to hold up well with kids.  It is more expensive though. If you want to splurge in order to have it be closer to the original, this one will cost you $84 a yard (54″ wide). The first fabric shown is not the same as the American Dream Builder’s room, but it is more budget friendly. It is only $8.85 per yard (55″ wide).

coral geometric fabric

(1st fabric: Online Fabric Store   2nd fabric:

Side Table

These type of tables are popular right now and you can find them all over. I could not find one online that was exactly the right color and a good price. But I found this silver one from World Market for only $34.98. A simple can of spray paint would solve the color problem.

spray paint table


Grasscloth wallpaper can get pricey. This first one (the one on the left) is $90 for a 396″x 20.5″ roll. The second one (the one on the right) is faux grasscloth. It is only $29.86 for a 396″x 20.5″ roll. I have never had grasscloth wallpaper but I have heard from those who do have it, that it is hard to clean. You may want the vinyl look-a-like version so you can wipe it down. I have 4 boys, so I know I would want to be able to scrub it!

grasscloth wallpaper_edited-1

(First: Wayfair                     Second: Rakuten)


The pillow I pictured above in the collage (the one on the left) is as close as I could find to the one in the show. It is the more expensive pillow priced at $90. If you don’t care if the pillow is a close match, the pillow on the right, is a better buy at $54. And if you want an even better deal, the pillow cover on the bottom left is only $19.99. The turquoise/teal pillow is from Target and only costs $16.99.

pillows in kid room

(Top Left: Lavender Fields         Top Right:

Bottom Left: Cafe Press          Bottom Right: Target)

Gumball Machine

The gumball machine is kind of a focal point in the room. It was one of the first things I noticed. And if you are willing to drop a cool $600-$1,300 on a 5 foot to 6 foot machine then all the more power to you. But if you can’t, then this 3 foot machine from Toys R Us that sells for  $59.99 is a good option. It even comes with 200 gumballs!  It is metal and so it would be easy to spray paint the parts that are red (and add some rope lights) to match the one from American Dream Builders.

gumball machine painted

Window Seat

If it were me, I would build a custom window seat. And here is a good tutorial from Centsational Girl on how to build one if you want to go that route. But if you are not comfortable taking on a big DIY project like that, you could always buy a storage bench that was the same size as your window area. I like this one from Target that is $49.99.

white window seat

Metal Boxes

When it comes to vintage items, I can’t just say “everyone can buy it here” with a nice little link. But, in less than 5 minutes I found 3 or 4 greenish blue metal boxes that would totally work. And they were all less than $25. I bet you could easily find one on etsy, ebay, Craig’s list, or or local thrift stores.

metal boxes

(First: Etsy, Boise River Goods            Second: Esty, Utopiantiques)

Throw Blanket

Oh my! I didn’t know throw blankets could be so much money until I did a search for “coral throw blanket”. One was $496 people! But don’t fret. I found a couple of other less expensive options. They may not be cashmere, but they have a fun texture that will add to the room. The first one pictured is $80 and the second one pictures is $37.87.

coral throw blankets

(First: BlissLivingHome           Second: Woven Works)


I had no idea dart boards cost as much as they do until I had to look them up for this. I was able to find one with similar coloring for $40.72 at Walmart of all places.

The chalkboard would be a super simple DIY project if you wanted to go that route. Chalkboard paint, plywood (or hardboard), and some 1×2 for the frame around it (or use an existing frame). But if you want to just buy one, this 24″ x 18″ one is only $20.

accessories for room

(Dartboard: Walmart       Chalkboard: Wayfair)


I was actually able to find the fabric they used for the valance in the room for the show. It is pictured on the right and costs $40.60 per yard. While I was looking for it I stumbled on this other fabric (on the left) and fell in love. I like that it has similar colors as the room. It is less, costing $26 per yard. Both are more than I normally spend, but if you are doing one small window valence you wouldn’t need very much at all. It would be worth the splurge. Or, since there are millions of fabric choices out there, you could find something you are more comfortable with.

fabric for curtains

(First: Online Fabric                   Second: Duralee)

I wanted to show you what it would look like to add the other fabric to the window. I think they both work. The original ties in the rug and the other matches the fun orange and turquoise colors. Which do you like best?

curtain options for kids room


So there you have it! There are the items you would need to recreate the look of the room from American Builders. I can’t wait to show you the next room :)

What did you think of the show overall?

For more posts:

Episode #2 

Episode #3

Episode #5

Episode #6

Episode #7

Episode #8

Subscribe to My Blog!


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  1. says

    I didn’t get to see the show, darn it!! Now I really want to see it – and soon, I love Nate!! You’ve done a wonderful job recreating that space, I like your picks! I kinda liked the orange and turquoise fabric but both look fabulous!

  2. says

    Loved the show! This was one of my favorite rooms too, the colors are so fresh! You’re ideas are right on! Love your choices!

  3. says

    I haven’t watched the show yet, but I’m loving your recreation of the room! I like the valance fabric you chose. Great job hunting down similar items for those who want to get the look for less.

  4. LRae says

    Oh, I love this idea of recreating a room! I like the fabric you picked for the room MUCH better. I really don’t get how the show’s valance fabric goes in the room.

  5. says

    LOVED watching the show last night. I thought of your family when they showed the large family in a small bungalow! :) Love how you were able to find similar items to recreate the bedroom!

  6. Cath T says

    As always, I’m impressed with your ability to make a room attractive and liveable on a budget. I’m guessing this is a program on cable, which I don’t have (money better spent on something else!). I’ve never watched the show, but I’m intrigued by your quest to recreate rooms for less. Over all, I like this room, but the first thing to catch my eye was the gumball machine. I am not impressed; it’s the last thing I’d want in my child’s room. I’d rather spend my money ($1300????!!!!!!) on something that would benefit my child, not harm him. Besides, I think the novelty would wear off pretty quickly. Books in a bookcase would be a better investment (not seeing any in this room). The idea of putting a real dartboard in a child’s room is laughable (sorry I don’t know the age, but the gumball machine implies younger children). Especially with $90 grasscloth wallpaper behind it. Having it at the end of a bed makes it impractical, so it really is just a decoration. An expensive one. I love your resourcefulness in furnishing a room within a budget. I think what troubles me most about this room and seeing the price breakdown is how much money we spend on home furnishings in America. Then when it’s time to send the children to college, there’s a big hue and cry about how much money the kids have to borrow to attend college and how in debt they are when they graduate. I’d take the money on the fancy decorations and put it in a college fund rather than burdening my children with debt. Keep on plugging the DIY route, Stacey. It makes so much sense.

  7. Danita Courtney says

    Great job! Well done! I have to say the one thing I did like more was the original fabric for the window. It just seemed to pull the entire room together. However, the other choice just goes to show you different can be fun! That’s what fabric is for! Another feather in your cap! :-)

  8. says

    Hi Stacy – What an amazing opportunity for you to be able to be a part of this series. I’m so proud of you and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer and more deserving person. I plan on DVR-ing the series, and look forward to your Monday series as well. Hugs, Holly

  9. says

    I haven’t had a chance to watch the show yet but when I saw Nate Berkus was part of it I set it to DVR. I am hoping to catch it tonight. I love love love when people show me a room that I can create for less. You kicked tail on this and I know it took you a while to come up with this. You are awesome.

  10. says

    Kudos to you for an amazing turn around time wise.

    I really liked the show and I am hoping that America tunes in in record numbers as I am SO tired of real estate shows. :)

    I was also was looking forward to your post and had a hunch you would select this room. I have to admit that all the red lights were going off in my head when they first thought to use this room as a “den”. I am so glad they listened to Nate.

    I was saddened by who they selected to send home. That man has overcome major obstacles in life and was willing to own up to his mistake versus blaming others. There were definitely diva’s (male and female) that I would rather not watch. One really surprised me as I have always enjoyed her publication contributions yet in person I did not enjoy her at all.

  11. says

    I love how the room isn’t totally matchy matchy in color or texture, and I prefer the yellow/gray curtains. Great job on all your finds!

  12. says

    This is awesome, Stacy!

    I much prefer the orange/blue fabric on the valance. The blue/yellow doesn’t actually seem to coordinate to me, and I feel like I am pretty liberal about what colors and patterns coordinate!

  13. Jen Pearce says

    Love this Stacy! You really spoke to my heart by creating an even more beautiful room than the original for much less money!!

  14. says

    Stacy — what a fun project you’ve created for yourself! You did a fabulous job and I love the fabric you chose for the valance. (Course, I just plain LOVE that fabric and have since I saw it in the OFS booth at Haven last year).

    I think all the “official” fabrics may be from Calico Corner, though I’m not positive and they’re not doing any promotional info about it. Here’s the link to the headboard fabric: Let me know if you think it’s the exact one ($34.99 per yard)

    I’ve also had the good fortune to work with one of the judges, Monica Pedersen, personally on some graphic design projects from when I used to work at Paper Source. She’s a great gal!

  15. says

    I love this post!! I love that coral Trina Turk fabric Stacy!I have a major fabric crush on her. I printed out the fabric swatch on my printer and hung it in my gallery wall. I’m too cheap to spend that much per yard. I’m looking forward to following more posts about the show!!

  16. Gwen says

    I don’t know how I missed yesterday’s post! I even watched the reveal of the ending…I slept through the beginning and hadn’t programmed it :-/
    I was amazed how nicely you copied this room. The gum all machine was an eye catcher and possibly their den piece for I imagine I’d have chewed all that gum with my siblings and friends oh in the first day!!! I LOVED bubble gum from machines that helped kids get glasses (The Lions Service Organization had the best gum all machines)
    I cannot believe you found all this!!! I like the fake grass walls. It was in in 1978. One grease spot and it looked bad. My sis in law spent a fortune and it was not toddler friendly!!
    I like your fabric better for window. I’m not daring enough for the other. It reminds me of my chair that was expensive, my head doesn’t swim in it but it seems to not go with my new WM drapes. But maybe everything need not be so matchy matchy?? It’s out of my comfort zone though.
    I’ll be sure to read on Monday next week. Always something fun on your blog!!!

  17. says

    Stacy you did such an awesome job recreating the room, love it! And it’s amazing how many things you can do with a little spray paint; do you have any great tips for spray painting evenly?

    • Stacy says


      Hold the can the right distance away from the project and do several thin coats instead of one or two thick coats. And make sure the temperature is warm enough outside or the paint will crackle.

  18. Heart and Haven says

    What a fun series this is! I can’t wait for future ones. Great job on finding like items for less, and I appreciate you providing the sources!