I love exercises, but we already know that exercises aren’t enough for full body health.

Using furniture less is a super simple way to add a lot more daily movement, no extra time required.

What Does Less Furniture Really Mean?

You’ve probably already heard of people switching from a regular desk to a standing desk. This transition provides a lot more daily movement while working. You can also choose to use less of any other furniture:

  • Desks
  • Chairs
  • Sofas
  • Beds
  • Kitchen counters
  • Dining tables
  • Pillows

In practice, this could just mean that you sit on the floor to watch movies and use a smaller pillow.

Or, you could give up furniture entirely and do all your living at floor height (that’s what I do, and it’s a big reason we decided to travel the world in our truck).

It’s not realistic for many of us to get rid of our furniture (our friends and family often don’t want to even if we do) but we can all use furniture less if we choose to do so.

Why Use Less Furniture?

Our bodies adapt to repetitive, unvarying positions by making us really good at doing those positions. Meanwhile, we get worse at doing everything else.

Less Chairs and Sofas

For most of us, our bodies have adapted to being in chairs. Even when we’re not sitting in chairs, these adaptations change how we move through our day. Using chairs less often allows us to reshape our bodies and access more of the parts we use the least.

When we don’t use chairs, we get the option of standing, sitting on the floor, or squatting. Instant movement variety! In addition, the floor offers many movement options, so floor-sitting means that we get to move more even when we’re not moving. Our hips, core, knees and ankles all get a lot more movement input from floor sitting instead of chair sitting. And when we sit without the support of a chair, we naturally use more core muscles to stay upright.

Floor sitting is also a great full body fitness practice. It takes lot of strength and mobility to lift our body weight up and down from the floor! The ascent and descent required by floor sitting may not feel like much but it adds up over time.

Different Desks and Tables

Desks and tables are still really helpful when you’re not sitting in chairs. You’ll just need options that are a good height for when you’re standing or for when you’re floor sitting. There are lots of ideas in the Resources side bar.

When I’m using a standing workstation, I like to have plenty of movement tools around me so I can work more dynamically. I do a lot of foot work, calf stretching and standing on one leg to keep me moving.

Less Bed

Moving your mattress to the floor means – you got it – more body weight up and down work. You can also vary your bed by switching sides or switching to a thinner mattress. 

Changing to a thinner mattress or even to a sleeping pad such as a shiatsu mat or a sheepskin gives your spine some great all-night movement input. Many people find this is a game changer for back pain and spinal alignment.

Transitional steps are really helpful when changing sleeping arrangements. A change of bedding is big for our bodies so take it slow and take your time. 

Less Kitchen Counters

If you’re ready to squat more, you’ll find that preparing meals closer to the ground is a great way to get more squatting in your life. This was huge for us when we started travelling, and both my partner and I are now champion squatters! We have a very low table – about 6 inches high – and it works great for us for meal prep and for dining as well.

If you’re not ready to do meal prep at ground level, try keeping your electric kettle on the floor, or storing frequently-used dishes in the bottom cupboard. Both will get you moving up and down more often.

Less Pillows

Using pillows shapes our bodies just like using chairs does. Slowly transitioning to little or no pillow can be very helpful for our spinal alignment. This is one I recommend taking really slowly because it can have an impact on how we breath at night. If you find that using less pillow makes it harder to sleep well, then I recommend sticking with a pillow.

How To Support Your Transition

Like any movement transition, using less furniture can be an intense change. It’s always wise to take things slow. If you feel like your body doesn’t like a change you’ve made, back off for a while and give yourself time to adapt. Adding mobility-focused exercises such as the ones in my Joints For Life program can also be very helpful. 

If you’re standing more as part of your transition, make sure to work on your hip over heels standing alignment and consider getting a squashy mat to stand on. Modern floors can be hard on our feet!

For floor sitting (and even when you’re sitting in chairs) use bolstering to help you find a neutral pelvis. See the video below for how to bolster well.

For More Ideas

I share more ideas and tips for living with less furniture most Fridays on my Instagram. The #furniturefree and #furniturefreefriday hashtags are also packed with inspiring tips and decor ideas!

Courses For Using Less Furniture

Joints For Life Mobility Course

Bulletproof your joints with this simple but powerful daily practice.

Take10 Online Movement Coaching

Get stronger, more mobile and learn how to move better so your body can work better and feel better, in bite sized chunks.

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