Woman sitting on the floor.

20 Ways To Make Your Home More Movement-Friendly

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Did you get inspired to go a bit more furniture-free from my last post?

I am pretty sure there’s no such thing as too much inspiration so today I’m sharing MORE movement-friendly home ideas!

These ones are from the #SHOWUSYOURS Instagram contest we ran to go with my last blog post.

We asked our Instagramming friends to show us how they set up their furniture-free and movement-friendly homes and OMG, there are so many more great ideas here!

Why Furniture-Free?

If you’re new to the world of movement, then you might be wondering why anyone would get rid of their furniture. The short answer is: the less stuff you have to sit on, the more you have to move.

And the more movement you do all day long, the better it is for your body. In our movement-starved and basically sedentary culture, every bit helps! Basically, designing a space with less furniture is a really simple way to get more movement, all day long.

If you’re still sitting there thinking you could never give up your couch, no worries – it’s not about having NO furniture – it’s about creating a space that allows and encourages movement. Hopefully this post gives you lots of ideas, but if you want more, here are some tips for how you can make a transition safely and in a way that doesn’t totally annoy your family 🙂

Movement-Friendly Style

Since furniture-free and movement-friendly space is such a new idea for most people, I think it’s soooooo helpful to see lots of images and get ideas from other people who are doing it too. That’s why we ran the #SHOWUSYOURS contest, and I know I personally got some great new ideas from all the awesome images and stories!
I chose all these winners because I felt that their pictures provided some particularly insightful and inspiring insights into movement-friendly living. I hope you love these ideas as much as I do!

Bethany’s Movement-Friendly Home

What struck me about Bethany’s space is how many thoughtful ways she’s worked movement into both the inside and outdoors environments. Movement is integrated into so many areas of her home, and I especially love (and envy!) her hanging gear and the incredible rock thresholds in their floors.

Bethany’s Movement Experience

Here’s what Bethany had to say about her space:

We think of our house as not furniture-free (obviously our home is furnished) but as furniture which maximizes movement variety, and movement space. Since your environment shapes your body, we wanted to give our bodies and the growing bodies of our children the most opportunities to physically thrive by eliminating the sedentary-lifestyle-reinforcements such as squishy couches and chairs. When we let go of the traditional furniture we noticed that we had loads more flexibility, strength and energy.

We moved several times last year, and many of our temporary living situations had more normally furnished surroundings. We noticed a reversal in the benefits. More aches and pains, less flexibility. That gave us even greater commitment to minimizing our furniture of the problematic kind where every thing we use keeps us in the same position and eliminates the work of our muscles. 

We are all sitting in a variety of positions which is good for our bodies and long-term health. Right now the one-year-old climbs on the table but not at meal times. We love how much we stretch, play and that there is not so far for the kids to fall out of bed! We also enjoy the simplicity and ease all of this facilitates. 

Elements Of Movement-Friendly Design

Here’s what Bethany and her family have done:

Living room: floor table, foam piece with moveable cushions.

Kid room: wooden rings, mats and large floor cushion for cuddling and reading.

Rock-filled thresholds for foot health.

Cabinet with lights: standing workstation.

Outdoors: low table plus baby and adult-sized monkey bars.

Low bed: shipping pallets and wool/natural latex mattress topper.

Catherine’s Furnished – But Movement-Friendly – Living Room

Some of my favourite contest entries were spaces that still had lots of furniture but also had movement-friendly options. Many people have reasons they can’t go furniture free – either they want furniture for guests, or their families don’t support their transition, or they just aren’t feeling it. That’s cool – you can still create movement-friendly space. That’s why I loved Catherine’s living room!

What she said: Not yet #furniturefree and still, love floor sitting to meditate, write, drink morning joe, admire my cat Mittens Marie. I meditate every morning, so the zabuton and zafu cushions are always available. Here’s my set-up. Couch is a (hard, flat) sleeper for guests, has a gazillion pillows for brave folk who want to try floor sitting, too.

Kate’s Sun-Drenched Movement-Friendly Home

I just love the way Kate’s house is super cozy and inviting, but also really movement-friendly. It’s so well set-up for her family (and I adore her climbing apparatus for the kids!). I also love how she highlighted the lack of TV – we haven’t had one in years and do NOT miss it. A great thing to note is how they set up a low bed instead of a floor bed. Getting mold under the mattress is a real risk when sleeping on the floor so this is a great option. (Interested in floor sleeping? Get more info right here!)

Here’s what Kate has to say: This post is about our furniture-free, movement-friendly environment journey. Ditching furniture provides opportunities for moving our bodies more and in different ways. 

Dining table: we were gifted this coffee table and it’s the perfect size for our space. One of my favorite things about having a floor table is that it feels very egalitarian and accessible. Our kids aren’t precariously perched in order to dine with us. And Miles will never need a high chair! 

Kate’s Living Room

We ditched our couch and I’m slowly stitching some cushions for us to lounge on. The hope chest holds my fabric and other sewing supplies and is available for guests to sit on if they so choose. The kids love having open space to dance, wrestle, and tickle.

Entertainment Center: I included this portion of our living room because of something most people don’t think of as “furniture”: we don’t have a TV. This saves us a lot of sitting and sedentary time. The record player provides a soundtrack for movement.

Kate’s (Awesome) Playroom

We used to keep our couch/lounging area and kids’ toys in separate rooms. Putting them together feels cozier and allows us to have this mini gym room. Sometimes the kids just don’t want to go out or it’s dangerously hot. But they have climbing and jumping opportunities inside.

(Why don’t I have a trampoline!?!?!)

Kate’s Bedroom

Our mattresses aren’t directly on the floor because we wanted to have air circulating underneath to prevent mold. So they’re about a foot off the floor. All the mattresses are wool, thin, and very firm, providing stimulation even during resting hours. Most of the movement that happens here involves the kids playing musical beds

Leslie’s Loft Makes Me Want To MOVE!

I love Leslie’s space because it’s so open and dedicated to movement. It really shows how you can basically live and play in the same area – which is how I personally like my space. And I love how she highlighted blankets as a decor and comfort option. For many people, spending time on the floor is unappealing because it seems cold and uncomfortable – and blankets are an affordable and beautiful way to address this issue head-on.

Also, those beams! Hanging, climbing, swinging and other upper body movement really does require some infrastructure. While it can be as simple as a hanging bar in your doorway, having beams like this is definitely something I dream of. Maybe in my next home!

Here’s what Leslie said:

My version of #furniturefree is more like furniture light. These are the two main spaces where “living” happens in my home (as opposed to cooking, sleeping, showering) and I’m lucky to be able to make them floor-sitting dominant. Cozy wool blankets from the thrift store provide a lot of the comfort factor, with plants coming in as top decoration.

The cross-beams in the loft were a major selling point for my partner and I so that we could install hanging equipment (we’re both climbers).

Renee’s Gorgeous Minimal Space

I just love this home! Renee’s space is magic – and she did it by repurposing items she already owns to create this dreamy cozy home. Having lots of cushions, rugs and mats gives you so many options! Another thing I love is that she’s got clear wall space for stretching – not always something we think about when we’re planning our space. But as you can see, she’s making good use of it! And although you can’t tell in the photos, I love her idea of just opening up her doors in the summer and moving her living space outdoors!

You can find Renee on Instagram – she’s @rootsandburlsmedicine – where she shares lots more inspiration.

Here’s what Renee has to say about her home:

 I love having the space to move around more, and the minimalism. So far, I’ve enjoyed repurposing what I have around the house rather than investing in new stuff.  The Thai Mat on the floor has been handy as a bed for guests, or rolled up if I want to lounge, or folded in half and flat for sitting. I use an old wicker basket as my floor desk, and the kitchen island as my standing desk.
The wood floors offer a natural beauty, and the double doors keep me connected to the nature outdoors. There is a beautiful mulberry tree right outside the house that shades the house in the summer, and has a few great branches of different sizes to practice hanging. I hang a hammock in the summer too and extend my living room outside.

Indoor/Outdoor Space

In the summer I keep the doors open, and the neighbor animals wander in to say hi. (The black dog is Piglet, one of the neighbor’s dogs. The grey cat is Botto, and he’s mine.) I also use the porch to chop veggies, or to process fruit or nuts from the land. My only source of heat is a wood stove, so I use a lot of throw rugs to help retain heat, which also creates a sense of difference spaces in my cabin.

Furniture Free = More Connection

I feel more connected to my body without so much furniture, because there is nothing to mask when I’m uncomfortable. I don’t ignore my body when it is telling me to move around, or sit differently, or get up and change how I am doing something.

Heidi – Moving Both Indoors And Out

I really loved Heidi’s entry because of how she’s bringing the outdoors in AND the indoors out. Her rock mat in the kitchen is like a little bit of nature for her feet when she does the dishes – such a great way to move more without adding time to your life. Her squatty potty is a great demo of an excellent tool for pelvic floor health (learn why and read more about pelvic floor health here) – but it’s also a bit more like the movement you’d get if you were going to the bathroom outdoors. And then she also takes her life outside – because as she says, nature is the ultimate in #furniturefree. Hulling berries in the yard gives you a lot more movement than the kitchen counter!

Here’s what Heidi has to say about her home:

I now work at this low table, and this tiny space also doubles as my movement practice spot. Which also doubles as a place to build forts and meditate. Yes, we do actually own a couch but I choose not to use it and most often the cushions are purposed as floor beds and fort walls. 

Heidi’s Incredible Hanging Set-Up

My husband build monkey bars for the family 2 Christmas’s ago and my inlaws bought my kids the ninja line for added fun. My kids totally kick my ass in upper body strength. The indoor step up is incredibly well used, especially since we live in Wisconsin with extended winters. 

The Awesome Rock Tray

In our kitchen I stand on my rock tray when doing dishes or whatever needs to be done at the sink. I left a small rug under it so it can be moved around a bit more easily and I ALWAYS have my half dome at my coffee cupboard. Of course it travels around the room, too. 

A Movement-Friendly Bathroom (Pun Intended)

Of course we have a #squattypotty in both bathrooms. Enough said. Haha. 

Nature is the best way to be furniture-free!

Nature is the best way to be #furniturefree so while I lounge on the beach in summer, I like to find a few passive ways to move. 
Last photo is hulling strawberries last summer; rather than being indoors in my kitchen, I took it on our patio to our low table.

Michelle’s Lovely Transitional Space

I think Michelle has done a really beautiful job of creating a home that meets both her movement needs and the more traditional needs of her family and friends. Her kinda-couch, kinda-bench is beautiful and super functional – definitely an excellent option for anyone who’s considering a transition but doesn’t want to give up all the furniture! She’s also done a fine job of creating movement-friendly workstations – both standing and floor-sitting – that also look great.

Michelle is a movement teacher in the UK and you can find her online at heartandsolemovement.com.

Here’s what Michelle has to say about her home:

I am taking a step wise approach to less furniture in our house, too many people to consider! However, in an effort to give me what I need and others what they want (but really need!) we reached a compromise. I had a friend design a low platform and someone else make a cushion for it to replace a sofa we passed on to my sister.  The result is a ‘seat’ that requires you to squat in and out of it but can also double up as something to lie on. 

Move while you work!

The desk which housed the main computer was replaced with tall cupboards providing much needed storage and an opportunity to stand while you surf the net. Also pictured is my own personal workstation which is a small bench and some bolsters giving me lots of movement opportunities while I’m ‘still’.

Move while you sleep!

A regular bed with drawers underneath was replaced with a low platform and tatami mats with a slim mattress topper, again requiring you to use more of your body to get in and out of it. In addition, household chores like laundry and packing that used to be done while sat on the bed or at a more convenient height now require me to move more to get everyday stuff done.

Andrea – Old Furniture Made New!

What if you can’t find any floor-sitting tables that you like? Or what if you already have furniture that you love but you really want a more movement-friendly space? Well, Andrea gets honourable mention in our contest for her awesome solution to this issue: she modified a regular dining table in a really awesome way.

Andrea says:

While we have a lot of furniture free stuff going on in our house, this part is my favorite so it is the part I am sharing as part of the contest put on by @movementrevolution!

We sleep on the floor, we sit on the floor, we play on the floor, and now we eat on the floor! (well, kinda. We have this beautiful low table that I affectionately call our “floor table”) We love sleeping on the floor. It has eliminated back pain and we both sleep better. We love sitting on the floor, you move more and it is a lot more fun with kids. 

We held off on making the transition to a floor table for a long time. We knew we’d have to cut down a regular table and couldn’t find one we liked. We worried about what we’d do when our parents came to visit, the list goes on. But one day I found this table and drove 30 minutes each way to get it. My husband wasn’t quite sure how we’d cut it down. I told him it would be easy. It was! Took 20 minutes. We both loved it immediately.

Flash forward three months, my hips and glutes have actually changed shape due to using them even more (I already did a lot of squatting, etc.). Our guests think it is quite novel and use it willingly, or I put up a folding table for them (see my post from earlier this month). Our son LOVES it. It is one of the best changes I’ve ever made! (bonus, it is way easier to clean around!)

I love the simplicity of one table. No chairs. But, just in case people want something to sit on, we have these fabulous buckwheat zafus. Great for when I do yoga, too! Looks extra nice with a little bunch of spring tulips :).

I feel better living my “floor life” and moving more! You might like it too! 🙂

(If you want to learn why floor sitting is your best secret wellness weapon click here!)

Laura – Nature Is Furniture-Free!

Although the goal of our contest was to help everyone get more ideas for how to create the movement-friendly home of their dreams, it’s SO IMPORTANT to remember to get outside. Our bodies are designed to be in natural settings with natural textures, natural sounds, natural views, and natural variations of things to sit on. Thanks for this reminder, Laura, who gets an honourable mention for showing her enjoying floor-sitting in its natural environment!

Congrats To Everyone Who Entered!

So I had a seriously hard time picking winners for this contest.

Everyone who moves more wins, and you win extra if you’re overcoming barriers like a lack of support from your family. I loved every single photo that got entered!

I ended up choosing the people who I felt gave the most useful, creative and inspiring ideas so that YOU, my reader, can now feel like you have more ideas and resources in creating your own furniture-free and movement friendly home environment.

Why Furniture Free Rules

Have you ever felt like you should go to the gym? And then decided to skip it and maybe eat some Oreos instead?

I’m gonna bet that most of us have had that sort of feeling. Maybe more than once.

Humans aren’t designed to be highly motivated to exercise – we’re designed to be highly motivated to EAT. Which worked great back in our hunter-gatherer days and isn’t so effective now, right?

Switching out regular old furniture for movement-friendly options such as floor seating, floor sleeping, and options for hanging and texture helps you get more movement without having to motivate yourself to work a lot harder. It’s a super sneaky way of working with your biology so that you enhance your wellness, basically. Our bodies work on a use-it-or-lose-it basis, and furniture-free lets you use it more easily, many times a day. I’m a HUGE fan of easy solutions that help us save time and keep our bodies healthier, and movement-friendly space is one of the very best!

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