Let’s settle this right now, OK? Couch? Settee? Not the same. Humor me, please. Now I can see how they could possibly be mistaken for each other. Both serve the same purpose: resting yourself (that’s Southern for “sitting”, y’all). Absolutely correct. But I must admit that when I think about a true couch or a sofa, though, I envision Herculean bones, structure and bulk.

Settees are strong, sure enough, but a bit more dainty and in a class of their own. I find myself in the midst of a DIY project (I’ll be sharing it with you in a few weeks) and needed an occasional bench. The space is small and would not withstand a full-sized couch yet I longed for plush comfort that chairs could not provide. What to do?

I think I was about 10 years-old the first time I heard my Grandma Sarah say ‘it’ in her patrician, southern drawl: settee. She had one in her dining room on the opposite wall from the piano and just to the left the china cabinet. I remember her friends spilling over to it after dinner was over and just before coffee was served. They’d laugh, slap each other on the knees of their crossed legs and whisper (what I now know was a little bit of harmless gossip).

This bit of nostalgia had me set out finding the perfect settee for my office and the thrill of the hunt has been exhilarating!  Before I struck out to shop, I (per usual) built a list of the process and steps that I’d take.

If you’re looking for an occasional sofa for your space, perhaps these tips will be helpful:

1. Set a budget. Mine was minimal and I could not go beyond $200 plus we do not have a truck if the piece did not fit into my wagon. I had to figure delivery into this dollar amount, as well. Yikes!

2. Be open to used furniture with great structure that can be reupholstered. Estate sales and websites such as Craig’s List are perfect options. Try Fabric.com for discount upholstery fabric. If you’re a DIY-er there are resources that will walk you through the process if you dare.

3. Try the usual retail suspects such as Target and local furniture stores. Consignment stores can be hit or miss but if you have stopped in on the right day, you might score!

4. Online outlets such as eBay, Home Shopping Network and Overstock.com can offer great deals and options. Be careful of shipping details and costs, though; they can definitely add up.

I DID find my perfect piece and I saved nearly 85 percent on it, too! Woo Hoo! But I really considered these options, as well: Nate Berkus Marrakesh Cobblestone Studio Sofa, Monfort Bench and Biedermeir Settee.

Stay tuned for the big reveal!

Shameeka Ayers is an Atlanta-based lifestyle blogger and author who dispenses entertaining, shelter and food & wine anecdotes and advice via her alter ego, The Broke Socialite. She also produces a national tour of curated dessert-tasting experiences, Sugar Coma Events™.  Her first novella, Instantly: How Quickly I Realized I Hate My Job will be released in Summer 2012.