How to move large furniture into a small apartment or home

If you are downsizing, or making a country-to-big-city move, you may be concerned about how you’ll get your large furniture pieces into your apartment. Will you have to throw something out? Will your furniture be damaged during the process? Although moving into a smaller location can be a challenging task, it is not impossible. By following this important expert advice, you can make your furniture work in your new space.

There are several important steps that you should consider when moving, including couch disassembly, measuring, and taking safety precautions. If you aren’t convinced on the idea of using professional movers, keep these tips in mind. 


Do take necessary safety precautions in order to avoid injury

This should include the use of heavy duty gloves, steel toe boots, and a back support belt for heavy lifting. If you won’t be getting expert assistance during this process, make sure that you have enough volunteers to help you with your move, and ensure that you are bending at the knees for any heavy lifting.

Do take measurements before you move

It is important to ensure that your furniture will fit through doorways and into its intended destination. It may also be beneficial to develop a floor plan to examine where each piece will go in your new apartment to ensure that everything fits properly.

Do consider disassembling furniture—especially your couch

By unscrewing the legs from the bottom, you can often shave off six inches from the total dimensions. This can give you the space you need to get your couch through the door, and you can also dramatically reduce the likelihood of breakage during transport. In these cases, hiring a professional who knows how to take apart and put your pieces back together is advisable. Experienced professionals are able to remove a section of your sofa and re-upholster it like new so that it fits perfectly in your space.

Do remove as much weight from furniture as possible

Remove items such as couch cushions from sofas and drawers from desks and dressers. Taking out the extra weight can make your furniture pieces as light as possible, and will ensure the safety for movers while allowing the items to more easily rotate and tip to get them around corners, up and down stairs, and through tight spots.

Do consider hiring professionals for your move

There are many professionals out there who have the experience and tools to make any move easier for their clients. From the actual movers who have the experience driving the moving trucks and transporting the heaviest of items, to furniture specialists who also have the experience and tools to disassemble, reassemble, or rearrange certain furniture pieces. Moving specialists can make it all fit into elevators, stairwells, hallways, and into the rooms you need them in. When faced with big, heavy furniture and small hallways and apartments, contact the professionals to make your move far easier, and get you and your big sofa out of the tight spot you’re both in.


Do not try to lift large furniture on your own

You could really hurt yourself, or significantly damage the furniture piece, the wall, or the floor if it’s more than you can handle. Know your limitations, and either get assistance from friends or family, or let professional movers handle all the heavy lifting. Your back will thank you!

Do not cover all of your furniture pieces

Covering furniture pieces—from dressers, sofas, chairs, and desks—before moving them, will prevent damage during delivery and the rest of your move. If you don’t cover the whole piece of furniture, at least try to cover up and protect any sharp corners. Not only will this decrease the chances that your furniture items will be damaged in transit, but covering up sharp edges will prevent injuries or wall-damage while moving. When using furniture movers, professionals can complete this process for you. Contact your mover or furniture company in advance if you need this service.

Do not save the largest pieces for last

Move large furniture items, first, so that you have the space for all the smaller items that will fit in and around the large pieces not only in the moving truck, if applicable, but also moving the items into your new home. Moving large pieces at the beginning will ensure you have nothing to trip over when moving the sofa into your new living room, and you will also have the energy at the end for the remaining smaller boxes and items.

Do not move your furniture without a plan for where it will go

The last thing you want is to perform the back-breaking labor of getting a large piece of furniture into your space, only to find out that there is no place to put it. Think carefully about what you need to rearrange, sell, give away, put in storage, or keep—all prior to the move.

Do not throw out your furniture just because it doesn’t fit—at first

Something as heavy and awkward as a sofa might not make it through your new hallway or doorway at first glance. Don’t give up on it. Experts can help you to alter your pieces so they fit in the desired space. They can disassemble and reassemble your sofa to get it into your apartment’s elevator and through that narrow hallway, and they can even remove a section so that it fits snuggly in that nook of your living room.

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Moving is a complicated task, especially when you have large furniture pieces that you're relocating to a small apartment. In order to ensure your safety and the integrity of your furniture, hiring professional movers is often the most efficient way to complete this process. However, if you decide to take on the daunting task of moving on your own, it is important to be highly organized and take every possible safety precaution.

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Shlomi GalonThe Furniture Surgeon

I come from a long line of furniture specialists, ranging back three generations and am the owner of Dr. Sofa. I’ve appeared in the New York Times and other print media, as well as on TV shows such as Bravo’s Blood Sweat and Heels, Super Delicio...

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