This couch potato is getting a new couch, and it's harder than you think.

I've chosen the wrong couch before, in my life. In fact, my couch mistakes rival my marital mistakes, though my couches have lasted longer than my marriages.

I'm not only unlucky in love, I'm unlucky in lounge.

We begin back in the Dark Ages.

In other words, my marriage to Thing Two.

When one of us had the great idea that not everything in the family room needed to match, we acquired a red-plaid couch, a floral chair, and a green-patterned chair-and-a-half. For those not in the know, a chair-and-a-half is just what it sounds like, big enough to accommodate dogs, laptops, and a double-wide tush.

That would be Ruby the Crazy Corgi's.

Anyway, the bottom line was that none of the furniture looked like it belonged together. Thing Two thought it was sophisticated, and he may have been right about that. Only problem was, I'm not sophisticated. I thought the furniture was too smart by half, especially the chair-and-a-half.

If you follow.

I thought things should have something in common if they were going to live together.

The same is true of furniture.

As soon as I was on my own again, I vowed to remarry wisely, that is, to get myself a couch and two chairs that matched. Yes, it's true, I'm "matchy-matchy."

I like to keep it simple. To me, that's how you know how things belong together. They look alike. So I reupholstered the furniture in a lovely gold-honeycomb fabric, and I saved money by not buying new furniture. This was good financial planning, as it enabled me to afford the divorce, which was worth every penny.

But then the dogs took their toll, and the couch and chairs started to pop threads and look shabby. I liked the fabric so much that I had the couch and chairs reupholstered again in the exact same fabric. You would think I'd move on and find a new fabric, but I wasn't ready to love again.

I yearned to commit to my couch.

But that was five years ago, and more dogs took their toll, and I decided it was time to get a whole new couch and chairs.

Of course, you may be wondering why I keep letting the dogs on the couch, and the reason is simple. If I didn't let the dogs up, how else would the ticks get on the couch?

So you see.

Which brings me to this morning, when I found myself in the furniture store, trying to decide between a bewildering array of fabrics: damask, tapestry, Jacobean print, plaid, patterned, bagatelle, and chintz. I also found my old honeycomb fabric, in case I wanted to use it yet again, which is like ex sex.

I spent two hours and still didn't know which fabric to pick, so I brought home a stack of swatches and arrayed them on the couch and chairs.

My method of choosing?

See which one Peach sat on.

She has the best taste.

She chose a yellow-and-pink chintz, but Little Tony liked the gold linen covered with birds that looked vaguely annoyed.

Angry Birds.

I didn't know which to choose.

And if you're wondering about price, they're both the same, which is costly. Oddly, chintz is not chintzy.

By the way, I didn't bring home a swatch of print fabric covered with Cavalier King Charles spaniels. If I had, there would be Cavalier King Charles spaniels sitting on Cavalier King Charles spaniels, and I'd be certifiable.

Also, Ruby would be so pissed.

So my choice was between Angry Birds and Not-So-Chintzy Chintz.

The Angry Birds was lovely and classy, but I was partial to the chintz, despite the saleswoman's warning that chintz wears badly because it has so few "rubbings."

"What's a rubbing?" I asked.

"Rubbings are how many times your body can rub against the fabric before it wears out."

I lifted an eyebrow. "Who's rubbing their bodies on their couch?"

She blinked. "I don't know. I'm just saying."

I bit my tongue.

I'm going with the chintz.

If I want to rub my couch threadbare, it's my business.

Lisa's and Francesca's essays have been published in "My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space" and "Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog." Lisa's new novel, "Save Me," is on sale now. Visit Lisa at www.scottoline.com.