Those who've been a part of the "furniture-free" movement swear by its benefits.
There’s a trend making waves in certain circles on Instagram and other popular social media sites that recommends chucking your couch for an even cozier home, which seems anything but intuitive. Okay, maybe that’s over-simplifying it a bit, but if you’re like me, and the idea of going “furniture free” sounds both interesting and a little bit crazy, you might be surprised to learn some of the purported health benefits of the new movement – and, it just might leave you itching to try it, too.
So, what exactly does it mean to go “furniture free?” The concept appears to find its origins in Nutritious Movement, an organization dedicated to getting people to move more in our highly immobile culture. Its central idea is that our modern lifestyles and environments are not conducive to getting us to move our bodies enough, and as a result, we have all sorts of preventable ailments from staying still for too long. From depression and anxiety to an increased risk for certain types of cancers, and from poor sleep to a bad back, the adverse health effects (and really, those are only a choice few) of our sedentary lifestyle abound. Enter #furniturefree.
In truth, reaping the benefits of the furniture-free lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to clear your entire house entirely of all its furniture. At its roots, going furniture-free is more about incorporating intentional movement into our lives (think: less time sitting) than it is about having an empty home – and, the more furniture you have to sit on, the more time you’re probably going to spend sitting, right? When it’s put like that, dumping your couch starts to sound a little less crazy.
If you have kids, going furniture free can have even more benefits. If there’s no comfy space to sit on in front of the TV or on which to zone out with an iPad, then extended screen time becomes much less of an issue. Plus, the freedom to move around in the wide-open spaces of the living room leaves a lot more room for little bodies and imaginations to play and have fun – which can be an even bigger bonus on rainy days, and can provide a great antidote to the close-quarters-induced cabin fever of winter.
Start in small steps
Furniture-free advocates generally suggest that you start out small when trying this concept in your own home. After all, it would be quite a shock to your family to come home to a table-less dining room, a bed-less bedroom, and a couch-less living room all at once.
To give furniture free living a shot, you could first get rid of your desk chair and give the standing desk or the floor desk a whirl, like this instagram user who’s created her own furniture-free “floor office:”
If you enjoy the additional movement this provides, consider getting rid of bar stools and other chairs where standing could become a natural alternative to sitting, like this tea shop that’s eschewed chairs in favor of floor seating:
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How inviting is this space?? I visit lots of unique coffee shops (you could call it a hobby) but this was one of the most inviting I've ever seen. Right when you walk in the door, this area is built up so floor sitting seems open to all (after all, you don't have to get all the way on the ground). Only rules: no shoes or car seats allowed. . The owner said those spots are always taken (two floor tables, separated by a bamboo curtain). And don't worry, I asked these girls if I could take a picture. 😉 They actually asked if I could take a picture for them too. #floorsitting #furniturefree #moveyourdna #teaismylovelanguage
Get your kids excited to move by adding yoga balls in place of chairs in your opened-up spaces:
And, if you decide to go all the way and get rid of your couch, bed, and dining room chairs, know that you don’t have to give up all semblance of coziness or all of your eating surfaces: there are tons of great ideas out there for adding floor pillows and blankets (which is all very hygge, if you ask me!) to your living spaces, transitioning to a simple floor mattress, and using low tables a la the Japanese off of which to eat. Take a look at the examples here:
Like this inviting floor pillow nook:
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Moving to a more furniture free, floor sitting daily life doesn't mean being uncomfortable or giving up your own personal style. Plus these floor cushions represent a shopping world record. I was in and out of a behemoth Ikea store (although really are there any other types?) in under 15 minutes on a long weekend during the school holidays. Winner winner chicken dinner!
Or this low, simple daybed:
And this cozy, low dining table set-up, surrounded by comfy cushions:
So, if you’re looking to get a little bit more movement into your life – and let’s be honest, it’s something the vast majority of us could stand to do – then check out the resources linked in this article to give it a try. It’s definitely got this writer thinking about ways to move more: today, a standing desk, and (perhaps) tomorrow, the couch!