One nifty thing I've learned about saving money while trying to design something is that there are many ways to do this by recycling objects or using objects that are free or very, very cheap.
Recycling objects and reusing finds is a favorite around here but something that I'm currently experimenting in is to order free samples of swatches of fabric from designers. Many designers and home decor companies will send you free samples of fabric if you tell them you are interested in purchasing something. Some of my favorites are anthropologie and weareslip.
The plan is when I receive the swatches I will try making some decor from them. Maybe some wall art? Or maybe a funky rug. Or how about a quilt or a skirt. There are really lots of things to be made from these little samples. So go searching around and you'll find lots of free samples to play around with.