When you hear the term "lounge chair" your thoughts probably conjure up visions of big, overstuffed leather chairs that your dad used to take a snooze in on Sunday afternoons after church.

Lounge chairs have come a long way and these days, they can not only be found in the home, but also outdoors. These chairs have become indispensible in American homes where style, value and comfort are the watchwords.

But finding the right chair isn't as easy as it seems. All are not created equally. To figure out which one is just right for you, you have to think about your individual needs, the existing décor of your home, the space available and finally, the colors and materials you want.

These days these chairs come in all sizes and shapes, from modern designs that echo the work of the great masters of the Modernist movement to soft, supple loungers that will relax you as you rock back and forth in flawless fashion, thanks to the inclusion of a glider mechanism.

The good news is that there is no right or wrong in choosing the right chair, as long as you follow a few basic recommendations.

Obviously, you want to put comfort above anything else. The idea of a lounge chair is to relax and recharge - being uncomfortable in the name of fashion or saving a couple bucks will only cause you to wonder why you even thought of buying these chairs for your home or outdoor entertainment space.

For indoor spaces you really want to have the chair complement your décor. It doesn't have to match exactly. These chairs can be contrasting in terms of style, material and color - done right, it can add excitement to the room and bring focus to a particular space.

The biggest consideration in finding the right chair for the inside of your home is the scale of the chair and its features. Features, you say? Many lounge chairs offer you the option of reclining, gliding, swiveling or rocking. The type of motion, or no motion at all, can help you narrow your choices.

Another is scale. A lounge chair shouldn't overwhelm the space you're putting it in. That was part of the problem with the old style loungers. They were massive, especially when grandpa reclined it all the way back. It could suck the visual life out of a room.

Lounge chairs today are much more subdued in scale yet still full featured and far more attractive.

This is true with lounge chairs for the outdoors as well. New designs and materials have made it easy to find the right lounge chair for the deck, pool area or patio. The biggest problem is really defining what a lounge chair is, since the description is used for anything from a lovely cushioned chair that looks a lot like it belongs indoors to massive chaise lounges that are ideal for relaxing and tanning poolside. Again, there's no right or wrong answer in finding the right lounge chair for the great outdoors. It's a matter of personal taste and style.

That said, you do want to invest in the right lounge chair for the location you live. If you live in climates that are often stormy, you want to make sure your lounge chair can endure the elements and not break apart after a few years. As anyone in a stormy locale knows, it's not fun chasing cheap, lightweight chairs and cushions across the yard when an unexpected wind and rainstorm kicks up. Purchasing sturdy, well made furniture will not only help you avoid a soggy 40-yard dash for errant furniture, but it will also allow you to choose furniture that is well made and which will age well.

As you can imagine, the major consideration in finding the right lounge chair for outdoor spaces is durability and comfort. That means finding one that is not only comfortable to sit in, but which won't become too hot after a day in the sun. If you've ever sat in a metal lawn chair or one of those cheap plastic molded ones, you know how unpleasant that can be.

For outdoors you really can't go wrong with a finely crafted wooden lounge chair, either one with cushions or without. Wood lounge chairs along with wicker ones can really handle the elements, even the worst winter storms, with very little care and maintenance. And you'll never have to go hunting for them once a storm has passed.

Finding the right lounge chair can be a real adventure and a real joy, knowing that the perfect one is out there, one that will offer you years of relaxation and enjoyment, whether you're basking in the warm sun on your deck or escaping the midday heat with a little nap in your air-conditioned living room.