Budget? Pretty much everyone has a budget, even if it's a substantial one. How do we set and stay within our limits when we "do" all or part of a design project?
Start with a list of what you WANT to accomplish within your project and then decide what you NEED to accomplish. A Design project can be as simple as repainting some rooms or carpeting one room or as extensive as starting over, which is the "exclusive" market OR whose who have not kept up with the deterioration of their environment.
First, prioritize: what's most vital to making the space usable?
Then the biggest decision is: do I work at doing all of it for less per item--squeezing in as much as possible--OR do I buy higher quality--selectively? Hate shopping? This IS worth considering if you know that re-purchasing is not the way you'd like to go. Not much upholstered furniture (fabric) lasts in good condition for over 5-7 years (as I have said before) without needing re-work--and if you are spending little, it will be a throwaway. On his show yesterday, Nate Berkus reminded an audience member that reupholstering and slip-covering will cost you the same amount, SO unless you have a bargain piece or something well-constructed, say "bye-bye" when it wears out.
Cabinetry lasts longer and custom/sturdy items last and wear better and can handle touch-ups and refinishing. Refinishing is like reupholstering: not worthwhile on inexpensive pieces. Exception? If you want to try it as DIY!
Here's the big question: How/where can I get (comparatively) inexpensive furnishings? USUALLY, you WILL get what you pay for. PERIOD. Yes, good deals are exceptions to that, but keep expectations realistic.
Some ideas: (I LOVE) IKEA--contemporary--and Home Goods. Also search Pier I, World Market and Target. Their drapes and hardware and their RUGS are good, too. Then: Value City and other less costly chain stores. E-Bay & Craig's List work, although I don't personally love used upholstered stuff. Remember the thrift stores for hospitals, Hadassah, Goodwill, et al. I have mixed feelings (mostly from the consignee point of view) about consignment shops, but they can have interesting and unique items: especially art and accessories.
Another great idea--warehouse sales by stores like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, even Carson's or Macy's. Watch for them....they're not too frequent, often coming up seasonally.
Shhh--I know people who have picked curbside on garbage days for AMAZING surprises. Did I really say that?