Are you considering the purchase of a new sofa? This staple of the living room and family room is key to the entire space's function and appearance. But finding the right one begins with a simple — and yet complex — question: how large should the sofa be? To help you make the best call, here are four factors to decide.

1. Household Size

First off, your sofa should be large enough to comfortably accommodate your family and its regular use style. If you all like to get together on Friday nights to watch a movie, you'll need something that fits everyone. If your family is constantly on the run and very rarely gathers on the couch at once, though, you might opt for a combination of a smaller sofa and a few movable chairs. 

2. Entertainment Style

As with family makeup, entertainment style is unique to each house. How do you tend to entertain? If you usually do smaller or sedate dinner parties, a large, cushion-filled sofa may not be the right style. But if your kids tend to have sleepovers and game nights, you may want to opt for a large and comfortable sectional that seats the crowd.

3. Room Size

Match the sofa style and size with the room itself. A slim or modest couch could easily become swallowed up by a large room. In this case, a big sectional, overstuffed sofa, or even more than one couch could be the best look. But if the room is small, large furniture can make it seem claustrophobic. If you're unsure about how the room size is affected, consider what you do and don't like about your current sofa and then use it as a base measurement. 

4. Flexibility

Do you need the furniture to pull double duty? Does it need to accommodate kids lounging around as well as professional business meetings? Is it both a home office and a meeting location for your knitting group? The more functions you need it to handle, the more flexible your sofa should be. In this case, avoid highly inflexible choices like a large sectional or very heavy items. Opt for light, mobile, convertible, and easily-reconfigured items instead. 

By assessing what you actually need from your new sofa, you'll be able to target your search to the right size and shape. This way, you'll waste no time looking at the wrong pieces and spend it testing out the perfect selection. Start today by visiting a furniture retailer in your area.