A couch is your living room’s centrepiece - the headliner and star attraction. Whether it’s a movie marathon or a casual evening with friends - everyone ends up on that comfortable sofa. Any other lounge furniture comes later; this includes the ever-present ottoman for those of us who like to put our feet up at the end of a long day, or the tufted settee so often associated with favourite reading nooks. Here are some quick ideas for your next sofa purchase.

Getting started with sofa selections

The easiest way to get started with selecting couches is to consider your preferences in use, style, and design - in that order. Your search should ideally begin with what the couch is meant to add to your home.

Is it a comfortable reading spot for a home full of folks who aren’t hooked to the TV? Is it more of an entertainer’s sofa, meant to comfortably seat no less than four people at a time? Is it a busy home with young kids who’re likely to use the sofa upholstery as their canvas? All these scenarios will influence your ultimate sofa choice. You aren’t just picking a piece of lounge furniture, you’re selecting your new favourite hangout.

At this stage, you’ll also need to work out if you want any additional lounge furniture to accompany your new couch. This is when to consider everything from tall floor lamps to chaise lounges. Once you’ve filtered for use and comfort, look at how best this sofa will complement your home’s decor.

Measuring your living room space to accommodate a couch

If this is the first time you’re buying a sofa set, then you’ve got some work to do before browsing sofas online. Sofas don’t end where their seats do. Measure the area that you’ve designated to the new sofa; you could even lay out some boxes or tape to outline the space. Remember to measure for depth (wall to front of sofa seat), and width or length (end-to-end). Most sofas online will have these measurements in their descriptions.

The simplest way to apply measurements to sofa shortlists is to decide whether your space warrants a four seater, three seater, or two seater sofa.

What type of couches do I need?

By this stage, you’ll be fairly certain about how big or small your couch should be. You’ll now consider what type of sofa to buy, and this is when your preference in lifestyle and decor matter. A cream coloured bonded leather sofa will blend in well with a modern contemporary lounge setting; a plush loveseat will be more eclectic; and a Chesterfield will look great in a more traditional lounge. Another consideration is whether you prefer one-piece sofas, or if modular sofas are more your style.

Match or tastefully contrast your couch material to that of the rest of your lounge furniture and overall decor. Therefore, consider the material of your settee, chaise, ottoman and living room coffee and side tables. Sofa slipcovers are a great idea for lounge furniture in a home full of kids and pets. A leather sofa is sleek, and a velvet, suede or fabric sofa is plush.

Ottoman, loveseat or settee: Additions to lounge furniture

Once you’ve selected your sofa, you’ll want to supplement its comfort factor by adding more lounge furniture such as ottomans, settees, or sofa chairs. Most traditional fabric sofa sets come with side tables and coffee tables that match the overall look and feel. A modular sofa set would be your best bet if you like to mix things up every now and then.

Ultimately, it’ll come down to traditional, sleeper, recliner or modular sofas. If you diligently follow all the steps briefly outlined above, you’ll get a great shortlist ready for the next round of elimination - your budget.