I first heard about furniture-free living (also called floor living) from Tony Riddle in a 2019 Rich Roll podcast called “Get Rid of Your Chairs.” I was instantly intrigued.
Also known as The Natural Lifestylist, Tony Riddle is a lifestyle coach, father, husband, best-selling author of Be More Human, and record-breaking barefoot endurance athlete. In the podcast (check it out above), he spoke about how our modern-day lifestyles—including all of its amenities, luxuries, and conveniences—are out of sync with nature and our bodies, and why we should be looking at ways to rewild.
Rewild to Reconnect
Rewilding is about improving our disconnection from the food that nourishes us, the movement that maintains us, and the natural rhythms of our bodies and the planet. Tony shares simple practices to empower us to live healthier and more connected lives, one of which is living without furniture, and sitting on the floor instead.
“We can’t all live in nature, but we can all live more naturally and learn how to thrive instead of just survive.”– Tony Riddle
Popularized by minimalists, furniture-free or floor living is literally just that—sitting or lying on the floor, instead of on furniture. No couches, or sofas, or chairs. Open space, less clutter. Sitting on the floor to eat, work, play, and read, or on meditation cushions or bean bags. Called “active sitting,” you find when on the floor that you tend to move more, adjust your legs, bend your knees and such. By its nature, this lifestyle invites much more movement into your life.
Some people do it for their health, some also for financial and environmental reasons. Less stuff to buy, less stuff to “throw away.” Families with small children often realize just how easy this is for the littles, as they tend to sit and play and lie on the floor most of the time anyway! Bodies are made for this.
Great Examples of Furniture-Free Living
My Personal Takeaways
Although our family was not game to try this lifestyle experiment just yet, I was able to make some of my own changes:
- I switched to a standing desk for work and put a yoga mat beside me for quick stretches to shake out my legs and back.
- I started sitting on the ground in the living room to read, propping my book on the coffee table. The change in my flexibility has been extraordinary.
- We’re adding yoga hammocks and inversion bars to our space. (Have back trouble? Being upside down feels so damn good!)
Tips to Start Living Furniture-Free
- “A person can start small by taking the cushions off a couch and sitting on them while watching television, for example. A good place to start for some people [who] can’t get all the way down to the floor is you can lower your bed, you can put your mattress on the floor, you can take your box spring out. You don’t have to remove all your furniture.” – CBC‘s Going furniture free isn’t as ‘far out’ as it sounds, says Yellowknife yoga instructor
- “My house isn’t entirely furniture free, it’s really just couch and easy-chair free. We have tables and art and a stove and fridge and cupboards and bookshelves. Over time the tables have gotten lower (so no kitchen or dining room chairs) and we’ve gone through various bedding to the point that we just sleep on the floor.” – Nutritious Movement‘s Why I Went Furniture-Free
- “If you live in a furnished home, try spending more time on the floor. Eat a meal on the ground…Watch the first 15 minutes of a movie sitting cross-legged on a cushion. Lie on your stomach and read for a bit. Whatever you routinely do see if you can carry out part of that activity on the ground. However you approach it, it’s important to make it easy and inviting to sit on the floor…The point is to make it enjoyable. You can’t expect to be happy sitting on bare tiles, for example. There are plenty of things you can buy to improve the experience, but be mindful of buying too much, too soon.” – Mostly Mindful‘s Furniture-Free Living: Why We Love It (What We’ve Learnt So Far)