IKEA can be great -- for college kids. But when you reach a certain age, you may not want your friends recognizing that your sofa came from the ubiquitous Swedish mass retailer, not that there's anything wrong with that.
There is a way to avoid the shame of an IKEA living room (spoken from someone who has an IKEA chair in his living room). Online retailer Bemz specializes in creating slipcovers for IKEA furniture and carries not only basic fabrics, but patterns from design houses such as Marimekko. The only drawback is that the slip covers can cost as much as the furniture. In many cases, however, it's still less expensive than buying high end.