My wife an I moved into an apartment at the beginning of this year, and along with a couple of the Billy bookshelves we'd already purchased before moving (who doesn't have one or two of these, anyway?
), we've gotten a couple of the Poang chairs, some office paper organizers, and a nice amount of kitchenware. I'm actually impressed with the initial quality of the knives for the price, though I fully expect them to wear out quickly. It's still worth it for me. We're young and still building up our stash o' stuff in the apartment. And we're going back in the near future to get a dresser, a taller bookcase, doors for our bookcases, and possibly a kitchen table.
I can't imagine the additional costs involved when we buy a house, and have to buy *nice* things to replace stuff we've bought on the cheap already. I don't want to be in debt up to my eyeballs!
Anyway, you have to know what you like and need to shop at Ikea. They have a huge range of stuff at different qualities. I imagine if you were to do a nice kitchen remodel, you could buy 80% of the stuff you need at Ikea, and it wouldn't necessarily be cheap. I don't like a lot of their furniture (namely chairs/couches) and couldn't find a desk to suit me at all. A lot of their stuff is cheap and belongs in a college dorm. Just weed that out of your choices.
When you shop there, just remember the displays are just for browsing. Take the paper and pencil they offer all over the store and write down the bins and aisles of what you like, and you should be able to find things just fine. The stores I've visted (Woodbridge, VA and College Park, MD) also have people working in the warehouse at computer desks just to help you find stuff (or if you want to wait a few minutes, they can have people reserve/grab it and you can pick it up after paying for it). No big deal.[/i]