The biggest problem with big box hardwoods is that they are often warped and are pre finished to the most common size, 3/4 inch. So be very careful when selecting it that there are no serious twists, warps and other defects. I occasionally use narrow pieces of poplar for face frames, but rarely find enough to do something like a glued up table top.
I used a lot of kiln dried pine to learn on, mostly 2x6 with nice grain. It is easy to work with, but doesn't stain all that well. But you can resaw it pretty easily, even with a table saw. Then plane it down to exact sizes.
I haven't had that much luck finding good hardwood furniture where I live, and you have to remove the finish and mill it to size.
I finally found a really good mill and lumber supply after attending a Rockler demonstration, and met a number of other woodworkers there who turned me on to a supplier. I have to drive almost an hour to get there, but it's worth it. They also carry Baltic Birch ply in 5x5 sheets, and I tend to use that for flat surfaces. My favorite project is made of BB ply with poplar face frames. Shelf edging is poplar, and it's painted a slightly off white to fit our color scheme, but it could just as easily have been stained dark.
I make picture frames for my wife, and for that I make the trip down for profiled stock, and I most like the Cherry. Unfortunately with any 10 ft piece only about 7 feet will be straight enough to use for a frame. I do have 4ft piece of 8inch 7/4 hard maple that will be cut and milled for a frame. To make an end table I'd need one more piece like it, and the piece I have was only about $23 bucks.
With HD poplar or their other hardwoods, if you're willing to plane it down to less than 3/4 for a top, then it will do the job. One other thing, for Oak, look for an oak stair step, they're about an inch thick and amazingly straight grain.
The more I do, the less I accomplish.