My kitchen/dining room...
The first thing I did in my kitchen/dining was find a table, and a few weeks later chairs. I found the table for $80, and the chairs for $7 each. The table was a shiny, awful brown, and the chairs were an old brown color in need of some t.l.c. In my past life, before DIY , I would have thought no way! But now, I think...this could really turn out cute. I sanded, stained, and painted the table that I once would have never even taken a second look at, now I have a charming, sturdy table and chairs that I quite like.
My framed plate display, also something I really like, was a mere $15 project. I had the frame(I see frames like this at thrift stores sometimes for $5 or $6), just repainted it using a sample size of Martha Stewart's "Heavy Cream" paint. I found some cute vintage plates for $1 or $2 each at an antique store. Bought some plate wires, hung my plates and frame, and now I have a cute wall display that didn't break the bank.
I painted and glazed them myself. To make them look a little more expensive and custom, I simply added moldings. I cut the moldings myself; if you don't have access to a miter saw you can always buy your moldings at home depot, they have a miter box that you can use to cut your own wood.
I also made my own plate rack using round and square dowels...a $10 project!
Emily, thanks so much for all your fantastic ideas!!