Living on the Floor
A flat hard surface is not comfortable to sit, sleep or work on: it's natural to feel so for most humans and mammals. Yet, nature is not always the right guide, for the discomfort we feel is temporary, as we gradually familiarize with the new position and realize the advantages it offers.
The short pain, that is more mental than physical, happens because of a shift between two different lifestyles. Favoring a soft or smooth surface is mostly an obsession, living without which causes no actual physical harm.
Living on the floor is not a new lifestyle. It has been for millennia practiced in traditional Japanese houses and other parts of Asia, where most daily activities are done on the floor.
Furniture in a house is like concrete buildings in town: both depressingly block view, light, air, movement ... among other things. There are many benefits of doing without either, and keeping your horizon free. Here are some, house-wise:
Studies show that outdoor and indoor environments affect the mind differently: one makes it philosophical, wanting the whole picture, the other meticulous, wanting the details. Even different indoor structures have different effects, e.g. the inside of a pyramid. With practice, without leaving one's room, as in some monastic orders, the brain can even get into an extroverted out-of-body state, similar to that when it's in an open environment. (Isaac Asimov, who wrote hundreds of books on science and space, was a "claustrophile" himself.)
You take minimal time cleaning: you move all your stuff away, clean up, then put it back in again, after you finish.
You see everything around you, where no obstacles block your sight or movement. Thus, you easily visualize and organize it in the order you like.
On the floor you can mix many activities together—working, reading, exercising, resting, etc.—simultaneously or consecutively, with more flexibility and less time, than when being chained to a chair.
On the floor, one can exercise at virtually any time, even during the most absorbing mental activity. Movements that are simple, safe, slow and easy, do not cause distraction: doing arm exercise while sitting, feet swinging while lying on stomach, slow stretching, push-ups ... are good for blood circulation, weight loss, and physical and mental stimulation. These are mostly needed by individuals living a sedentary lifestyle.
Power and cardio exercises naturally cause tension and speed heart rate, respectively, and distract the mind, unnecessarily simulating and preparing it for nonexistent danger. Contrarily, stretching exercises only cause minimal distraction.
Modern life has made work more dependent on thinking than moving, negatively affecting our health. Exercising an hour every day or other day, as many people do, is not enough, and not healthy (stiffening arteries and honing appetite). Our ancestors used to work most of their day, at a slower pace, unlike modern humans who work out hard non-stop for a short time, then rest and overeat the rest of the day.
Living on the floor allows physical and mental freedom, all day long, with more space to move through and focus on one's work. Sitting, lying or just being in a chair, bed or sofa limits that freedom.
The floor can socially unite people, putting them on one level with each other: one simple unpretentious level. This simple physical behavior has a psychological effect like that of sharing a bath, meal, dance, etc. Even children painting on the floor together are more comfortable & connected with nature, free from adults' useless boundaries. This all inspires other types of unity, political, mental or physical, that might become a reality one day, when we all merge together.
We all belong to the same earth we came from that deserves our respect and attention, not our arrogance and negligence. We are reminded to respect plants, animals and other life forms sharing life with us, by such simple physical contact with earth. We show gratitude even to inanimate lifeless objects and to the floor, that we are constantly pressing and gravitated to, by keeping it clean, not trodden by disrespectful feet/footwear.
Touching and seeing the world from a ground-perspective is a great inspiration for modern ballet, that many favor over the unrealistic classical one. (The latter is good too, reflecting our dream to fly and levitate above the ground.)
This is too obvious to talk about.
One may keep some "higher" furniture for guests who are not familiar or comfortable with this lifestyle, especially the old, sick or slow.
Keep clean sneakers ready for guests to wear before entering the house and treading on your floor (bringing dirt and germs from outside). Make sneakers/slippers attractive and comfortable, so that people easily like the idea and not feel offended (for forcing them to GET DOWN).
Some people are obsessed with expensive colored carpets and sophisticated styles of furniture, modern or classic, that they may find living on the floor plain or dull (as you may feel yourself at the beginning). However, you can add a simple artistic touch fitting your new style of living:
If you forget turning off water or get soaked up for any reason, the damage is less if you separate in advance the floor of each room by any convenient removable barrier, making sure when designing the house that the bathroom floor is lower than the rest of the house. Different flooring types require different levels of maintenance and protection against water, fire, insects, dirt, damage, etc.
Sound travels fastest through solids, that if your ear touches the floor directly, you will be amazed by the variety of sounds you can clearly hear coming from outside: footsteps, people, animals, raindrops, wind, etc. On the other hand, the noise you make might be heard by others too, if you loudly work, talk, play media ... This is a minor problem barely noticed, that you can solve, however, by keeping a distance (few centimeters/millimeters) or an insulator (e.g. a piece of cloth) between your ear/speakers/machines ... and the floor.