I love those design shows on TV. One room at a Time, Design on a Dime, Extreme Makeover, Designed to Sell were fun to watch and you could pick up some snazzy ideas for cheap room decor. On occasion there would be an episode where you know they didn't stay within their budget. I'm thinking of a Designed to Sell show where they renovated two bathrooms with new vanities, sinks, shower doors and travertine tile flooring for $2000. That's not $2000 each but both. That was completely unrealistic. Now I know that there are no labor costs in the $2000, but we recently redid our bathrooms and the tile alone was close to $2000 with no installation.
Home furniture can be expensive think Ethan Allan, or budget priced when ordered from assemble-it-yourself catalogs. That never worked for me. I have a mind that puts things together backwards. I tried putting up shelves in the garage and had to nail them to the wall because they kept listing dangerously to the left. What I especially like from the design shows are the alternative ways to use furniture you wouldn't ordinarily think of. For example using banquet chairs in a formal dining room. The trick is to cover the banquet chairs with slipcovers. Another example is using a bench meant for the garden in the entry way.
I'm not a big fan of the cozy chic peeling paint look. I don't want to have to worry about getting splinters when I sit down, so I don't shop garage sales.
I'm also not much of a sewer, I don't have a sewing machine. I have learned that you can make your own window treatments by using printed king size sheets. They already have a pocket for the rod. No sewing required. And if you get tired of the look it's quick, easy, and cheap to change it.