After graduating from college, my mother and I embarked dutifully on a trip to New Jersey and a rite of passage: furnishing an Astoria apartment in one day at Ikea. Over the course of six short hours, I begged, resisted, became enraged, and tried to nap on a cartoony blue canvas couch. My mother a fulfilling her role with the grace and precision of a sit-com mom a exhaled loudly, rolled her eyes, and admired prices. Loading up the car was a comical, if monumentally frustrating experience, involving the acreativea and un-safe use of a moon roof. In the end, you can do quite well, as long as you are careful to mix the Ikea in with flea market finds and hand-me-downs. Avoid recreating any of the fake room scenarios at the store.