How to Move a Couch: A Complete Guide

couple moving their couch on wood floors

How to Move a Couch: A Complete Guide

Whether you’re moving or just rearranging pieces of furniture, transporting a couch from one place to another can be a demanding job. A sofa is often the heaviest piece of furniture in a home. It’s awkwardly shaped and can be difficult to move even with a group of people. To figure out how to move a couch, you need to make certain preparations and take your time.

Tools and Supplies for Moving a Couch

Moving a couch or a love seat to a new home isn’t an easy job, but the right moving equipment can help. Before planning how to move a couch, gather these tools to simplify the job:

  • Furniture Sliders
  • Furniture Dolly or Hand Truck
  • Helping Hands
  • Gloves
  • Measuring Tape
  • Heavy Duty Plastic Wrap, Bubble Wrap, or Large Plastic Bags
  • Furniture Blankets
  • Packing Tape
  • Lifting Straps
  • Tie Down Straps
  • Wide Wooden Board

How to Move a Couch: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Whether you’re moving your couch across the room or across the country, safety should be your top priority. Heavy couches and even recliners can cause serious injuries when you use improper techniques. This step-by-step guide will help you understand how to move a couch safely.

Pro Tip:

Don’t go beyond your limits and risk injury. If you find that you don’t have the necessary capabilities or DIY tools to move your couch, hire a professional moving company to take care of the job for you. If you’re on the fence, get a moving quote from furniture movers so you can make the best choice for you.

1. Measure and Plan

Your couch fits neatly into your living room, but it will suddenly feel much larger in a hallway — or when it’s stuck by a narrow door. When you measure your couch, make sure you include the spaces with the heaviest padding and largest corners, like the armrests. Measure the length, width, and depth of your couch. Plan the path you’ll take to get the couch outside and remove obstacles or big, heavy items accordingly. It may even be necessary to remove doors to provide extra space to fit the couch through tight doorways.

2. Wrap the Couch

Protecting your couch’s upholstery from protruding objects and dirt and grime is essential. First, remove cushions and loose pillows. These can be packed separately in a box. Remove the legs, arms, and any pieces of large sectionals that are detachable. If you’re moving a sleeper sofa, remove the mattress to eliminate extra weight. Wrap the entire couch in plastic wrap and tape up any loose ends.

Pro Tip:

If your couch is upholstered with delicate materials like leather, it’s best to wrap the couch with moving blankets before using plastic wrap or shrink wrap, as plastic can damage the material.

3. Move the Couch

No matter what your plan for moving the couch, prepare to adapt to keep everyone safe. Make communication a priority so everyone is ready to lift at the same time and take breaks as needed. If you have a furniture dolly available, tip the couch vertically and slide it onto the dolly. Use tie-down straps to secure it in place.

Slowly maneuver the couch along the planned path. Tight corners and doorways can be tricky and may require you to pivot, angle, or change your carrying methods to get through a narrow area. Remain patient and communicate with your helpers for the best solution. Not only will this keep people safe, but it will also protect your hardwood floors

4. Load the Couch

Some couches can be loaded into a moving van, SUV, or pickup truck. For very large couches, your best bet will probably be a moving truck. If you’re using a moving truck, there is likely a loading ramp included. With one person on each side, roll the dolly into the moving truck. Angle the furniture dolly to balance the couch and remove the tie-down straps. Using two people, slide the couch off the dolly and position it for safe transit in the moving truck.

If you’re working without a dolly, or loading your couch into a van or SUV, use the same method of lifting with at least one person on each side. Load the couch and position it for transport. Use tie-down straps to avoid shifting during transport.

How to Move a Couch Up or Down Stairs

Two young men are carrying a heavy couch downstairs

Narrow stairways, steep steps, and even wide, stable stairs can be a challenge when moving a heavy couch. Remember that a dolly or furniture sliders cannot be used on stairs, so you will definitely need help. As with any couch-moving plan, it’s essential to begin by planning your path and measuring the space you’ll have in the stairwell. It’s best to have at least two helpers to navigate a couch up or downstairs. Use these steps to figure out how to move a couch past any set of stairs safely.

1. Assign a Navigator

Since you’ve planned your path and taken careful measurements, you know how many steps you’ll have to endure. Still, there’s a very good chance you won’t be able to see them with a couch obstructing your view. One of your helpers should walk ahead to help the lifters navigate the path downstairs.

2. Lift Carefully

With one mover at each end of the couch, lift from the bottom of the couch for best maneuverability. Be sure all lifters know how to avoid injury and squat instead of bending at the waist to lift heavy furniture.

3. Use Objects to Help Handle the Load

If you’re navigating a short flight of steps, it’s worth your time and money to purchase a wide wooden board to create a makeshift ramp. This way, you can simply position the couch on the ramp and slide it down the flight of steps. If you’re navigating a longer stairwell, and a banister is available, it can also be used to distribute weight.

Tilt the couch so it’s above the banister to add additional support. Keep in mind that while a banister is helpful, it doesn’t provide a wide support for a heavy couch. Ensure that all helpers maintain a firm grip when the couch is resting on the railing.

How To Move a Couch by Yourself

If you didn’t hire a moving crew and don’t want to recruit your good friends as helping hands, you’ll need to get creative when it comes to moving your couch. While moving heavy furniture can be done alone, it’s important to understand your capabilities and avoid pushing yourself. After all, a serious injury could cost you a lot more than hiring someone to help you move. Use these tips to decide how to move a couch by yourself.

1. Estimate Your Capabilities

When you’re deciding exactly how to move a couch from one space to another, you need to know what you’re capable of. Can you handle turning your couch on one end to slide or roll it across rooms, through tight doorways, and down narrow hallways? Are you able to safely lift one end of your couch alone? If you’re unable to lift one end of the couch, you’ll need help to move it safely.

Pro Tip:

If you can’t call on someone you know to help you, a site like TaskRabbit might provide the one-time assistance you need.

2. Determine Your Plan of Action

To move your couch alone, you’ll need some tools of the trade. If you’re capable of turning your couch up on one end and maneuvering it to the vehicle that way, a furniture dolly will provide your easiest course of action. If the couch needs to stay flat, oversized furniture sliders will help it glide smoothly to its destination.

No matter which tools you choose, always make safety a priority. Take the time to secure the couch firmly with tie-down straps if you’re using a dolly. Stop when you’ve reached your limits. Never risk injury with creative lifting tactics.

3. Load Carefully

This step could be the biggest hurdle when moving your couch alone, so take your time and navigate carefully. If you rented a moving truck, there should be a ramp available. In this case, you simply need to roll or slide your couch up the ramp and safely into the waiting truck.

If you’re without a loading ramp, it’s time to get creative. If your couch isn’t already vertical, turn it up on one end. Position yourself at the bottom end and hoist the couch into your vehicle. If the couch is too heavy to lift in this position, it’s time to get help. Knock on your neighbor’s door or grab that random jogger passing by. You didn’t get this far to end up with an injury. Once you get the couch loaded, secure it in place, and pat yourself on the back. You deserve it.

The prospect of moving your couch to a new house might have you wondering if it’s worth moving in the first place or if you should hire professional movers. However, once you properly learn how to move a couch, the job isn’t as difficult as it seems and you can save on moving costs. Being able to load your own couch can simplify the furniture shipping process, too. Always remember to thank any helpers for a job well done and be prepared to provide them with a cold drink when the heavy lifting is complete.

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