ergonomics · fitness

Revisiting furniture-free or furniture-lite living

I love lolling. Sprawling about, taking a load off, flopping down, lounging, reclining, and relaxing. Also (and this is the most important part): putting my feet up. Regular chairs and upright hard sofas don’t allow such luxuriating. Seriously, just the thought of spending hours at a formal dinner makes my hip start hurting now.

Those Downton Abbey folks logged considerable time at this elaborate table. No one looks very happy.
The Downton Abbey folks logged considerable time at this elaborate table. No one looks happy.

Yes, I know that eating does generally require sitting upright. I give you that. But living rooms, TV rooms, dens, sitting rooms– we can do a lot to make them more slouch-conducive.

Likely many of us have already make our living spaces lounge-friendly, given that we’ve spent so much time there in the past 18 months or so. Sam, always ahead of the curve, posted 6 years ago about furniture-free living and the case of active sitting. Go Sam!

Recently I was listening to my new favorite podcast, Hear to Slay, and heard Roxane Gay tell Tressie McMillan Cottom about her recent purchase of a Lovesac.

Yes, that was a lot of links in one sentence. Moving on…

The Lovesac is basically a humongous (or smaller– they’ve got options) sort-of bean-bag chair-thing. Uh, let me just show you a picture:

A woman pretend-asleep in a huge marshmallowy soft-fabric blob, her unread book on matching ottoman. They should have lit the fire, though.
A woman pretend-asleep in a huge marshmallowy soft-fabric blob, her unread book on matching ottoman. They should have lit the fire, though.

I love the idea of this, although in practice it 1) takes up a lot of space; and 2) doesn’t seem practical for anything other than lounging while semiconscious.

Don’t get me wrong: I love to lay about as much as the next person. And I really like and need to put my feet up. A few years ago, I sprained my ankle and was not moving about for a bit. Then, I got a blood clot (DVT) in my thigh. Ugh! This meant a few months of anti-coagulants meds. They did a very nice job (thanks, medical pharma).

But, I’m left with residual susceptibility to less good vascular circulation in my right leg. Among other things, this means that I can’t sit at a dining room table for long periods without my ankles swelling. Hence my interest in leaving the dining table ASAP and retiring to the living room/den/bouncy house for continued socializing.

But a room full of bean bag chairs seems more conducive to listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon than engaging in lively conversation with one’s friends. One thing I’ve come to appreciate during these times is enjoyment of active sitting, active working, and active socializing on my yoga mat, on yoga bolsters and cushions, putting my feet up on furniture, etc. While sitting bolt-upright in a hard chair is not my idea of fun, neither is all-lolling-all-the-time. We need options for a wider range of movement.

Readers, have you restructured your living spaces for more movement while relaxing, reading, chatting, etc? What sort of solutions worked for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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