What's the Big Deal About Floor Cushions?


The popularity of floor cushions has increased rapidly in recent years. According to Google Trends, the term Floor Cushion reached new all time highs in May 2020, representing a 10x increase since its 2015 lows. If you don’t own a floor cushion, or you’re thinking of getting one, you may be wondering, what’s all the hype about?

Disclaimer: We think floor cushions are one of the best seating options for modern people, and want to share them with the world. We manufacture and sell our own floor cushions, and ship them directly to customers. You can shop them here.

Couches are Outdated

To understand what floor cushions are and why they should be used, it’s first important to know a bit about the history of our more traditional seating option: the couch.

The evolution of couches as we know them today began with Lord Phillip Stanhope, The Fourth Earl Of Chesterfield. One of Lord Chesterfield’s mandates was to create a piece of furniture that allowed noble figures to sit comfortably, to maintain their poise and their manners, and to walk away comfortably without any wrinkles on their clothes. Enter the chesterfield, which is now more commonly known as a sofa or couch. 

The chesterfield was soon admired and enjoyed in the late 17th century by King Louis XIV and later his successor Louis XV, who held court at the Palace of Versailles. These two furnished the great rooms of the Palace with all types and colours of chesterfields and lounge chairs, all designed to provide comfort and wrinkle-free dignity to visiting high nobles. As the years progressed, the high nobles began to take note and use couches in their own homes. Couches consequently turned into a status symbol, making their way first into the upper and middle classes and eventually the lower classes too.

Notice a few things about the development of couches:

  1. They were designed for grand, large rooms.
  2. They were designed for comfort and not to wrinkle clothes.
  3. They were style and status symbols, not designed for practicality.

A lot has changed since the 17th century, but little about couches, sofas, loveseats, and chaises has. There are four major developments since then that make couches a problematic seating option:

1. Shrinking Living Spaces

The past century has seen a drastic shift away from rural areas and toward urban centres. The result is an increasing number of people living in smaller, more condensed spaces: apartments, townhouses and condos. These dwellings leave little rooms for sofas and chairs.

2. Increased Work-From-Home

Recall that couches were designed for comfort and style. But as more and more people opt to work and study remotely, comfort is not the ideal that was once cherished. Couches don’t promote stable posture when working for extended periods of time, and they’re also far too easy to fall asleep on.

3. Reduced Formality

When guests come over, hosts no longer worry much about wrinkling their clothes. And nice furniture is not the status symbol it once was (we have cars for that now). Instead, a good host in the 21st century wants a place for their guests to enjoy and spend quality time with one another. As we’ll argue in a moment, couches are not always the best means to achieve this.

4. Shift From an Industrial Economy to an Information Economy

We now sit All. The. Time. Gone are the days where most folks would go to work in an industrial factory, warehouse, mine, or some other physically demanding job. Prior to the digital revolution, almost every job required significant output on the part of the human. Lifting, digging, spraying, cleaning, building, more lifting, cooking, and on and on. Exhausting stuff. It made sense that folks would want a couch to come home and splay out on. Now though, many of us already sit all day. We type, push paper around, “hop on a call,” shop online, and hang out on social media. Sitting is not the luxury it once was, and it makes no sense after sitting all day at work to then spend more time in the same sitting position on the couch. Our bodies were designed to stretch, twist, push, pull, and most importantly, to maintain an active, balanced posture.

A Better Way to Sit

The growing popularity of floor cushions represents a shift to modern seating. Consumers understand that couches are not working for every purpose. They need seating that’s appropriate to the size of their living space. Seating that helps them stay attentive and energized while working, and lets them customize their space to be great hosts. Most of all, consumers understand that there’s a healthier way to sit. A good floor cushion will tick all these boxes with some key features:

Adaptability

You wouldn’t buy a vehicle if it could only take you to one destination. Likewise, it doesn’t make much sense for seating to only serve one activity. One of the most important features of a floor cushion is that it is incredibly adaptable. It’s a meditation cushion, a work seat, and seating for guests. It can sit in your living room, or as a place of prayer in your bedroom. Or, it can be moved between rooms. The user has the power to adapt their seating to the intended purpose. This is especially useful in small living spaces - condos, apartments, bachelor suites - where every square foot of space matters.

Customizable

The best floor cushions will be customizable. The outer shell of fabric can be removed and replaced with a new fabric pattern or colour. This allows you to tailor the cushion to a particular room aesthetic depending on your mood, or to dedicate different cases to different uses. You might have one pattern and colour that you use inside and another that you use outside, or one that you use for meditating while another is for studying.

Washable

The highest quality cushions will allow you to remove the outer shell of fabric and throw it in the wash, keeping your cushion fresh and resistant to harmful viruses.

Stowable

Unlike chairs and couches, floor cushions can easily be stowed away when they’re not being used, allowing you to make the most efficient use of your space depending on your day to day needs.

Mindful

“Sit up straight. Pretend there’s a string attached to the top of your head. Head forward, shoulders back.” It seems we all need constant reminders like this to have any chance at maintaining a strong, balanced posture. This is particularly true when we sit on couches or chairs, which were not designed with our bodies’ needs in mind. Floor cushions keep us low to the ground in cross-legged, kneeling, or squatting positions. The same positions that our bodies evolved under for millions of years. A floor cushion is already mindful of your body’s needs, because it was designed that way. The consequence is that there’s no need to remind yourself to “sit up straight.” Instead, you’ll naturally achieve a stable posture, freeing up more mental capacity to focus on the people that you’re with or the projects that you’re working on.

Seating should be designed with the user in mind. Couches have their place in the world of seating. They are, for example, a welcome relief after a long day of physical activity. But it’s also important to welcome new forms of seating that keep up with modern lifestyle developments: increasingly sedentary lifestyles, work from home, and condensed living spaces.

Floor cushions are pulling our seating out of the 17th century and into the 21st century. Consider making room in your mind for one.


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