Tips For Moving Furniture Up Stairs

Jon Fesmire | January 24, 2018 @ 9:32 AM

If you’ve had to move to an apartment on a higher floor, or you’ve had to move items to another floor of a house, you know how difficult it can be. Heavy and bulky items are the most difficult as you combine weight with low maneuverability. What a relief it is once you get that bed, desk, or couch to the right floor!

We hope to make that job a little easier on your next move with these tips.

Get Help

First, there are certain things you simply should not move upstairs by yourself, no matter how strong and in shape you are. Items that are both heavy and large need two people to carry them. Actually, you may even have smaller items that are so heavy, such as old television sets, or items that are large but not terribly heavy, like bed frames, that will require two movers.

Moving High and Low

Most of the problem items will be the big things, like dressers, couches, desks, and mattresses. When possible, carry these high and low when going up stairs.

Here’s what we mean by that. Let’s say you’re moving a desk. The person higher on the steps will carry from under the top of the desk. The person lower on the steps will carry from the bottom, where the desk meets the floor. Move carefully and slowly, especially since the person higher up will have to walk up the stairs backward.

This method keeps the item balanced better, keeping the point where it could pivot toward its center. It also keeps the desk, bookcase, or whatever, relatively upright.

Using a Dolly and Straps

A dolly, or hand truck, is an indispensable tool for moving heavy items, especially if you need to bring them upstairs. After you have place the item to move on your hand truck, secure it with flat hook strap tie-downs.

Roll the hand truck backward to the stairs, stand on the first step, lean the dolly toward you, and pull it up. As you back up, you’ll move the hand truck up one stair at a time. Have someone on the other side, moving up the steps, to spot you. Keep your back straight and lift with your legs. This can work for items from small to large that are especially heavy, though if the item is too big, carrying it with a partner may be the less awkward option.


Once you get that big, heavy piece of furniture or appliance upstairs, getting it to the right spot can still be a chore.

One possibility to make this easier is to slide it. This works best on a wooden or other uncarpeted floor, but can work on a carpet as well. Put down a blanket, preferably a moving blanket, if you have one, and ease the piece of furniture onto it. For a couch, place it on end, which will make it easier to get through doors. With this done, you’ll be able to slide it, at least part of the way to its final destination.

Couches Through Doorways

As mentioned, it’s easier to get a couch through a door when you stand it on end, rather than keeping it upright. Due to the length of most couches, you may not even have enough clearance to get yours through a door if you keep it horizontal. However, when the couch is vertical, it’s relatively easy to turn it when necessary, rounding the doorway.

What if the couch is too tall for the door frame? In that case, a couple of feet from the door, tip and maneuver it in, top first. With your helper, this might be slightly awkward, but not too difficult. Once that top is through, you can essentially stand the couch on end again from the top, moving it fully into the next room.

Once you make it to your destination, perhaps the family room or your bedroom, you can put it horizontal again and move it into place.

Turn Chairs Sideways

Large chairs, such as recliners or desk chairs, can be surprisingly difficult to get through doorways. You may not think one is too wide, but when you get it to the entrance to your house, discover that it’s bigger than you realized and won’t fit through the door.

Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. Tilt the chair onto its side. Move the top section through the door, pivot it so that the top section is in the destination room and the base facing the new room, and move in the base. In this way, you can hook the chair into the room.

Use a Shoulder Dolly

Got an especially wide and heavy appliance that is too difficult for two people to move with basic lifting (with your legs, remember, always lift with your legs), and too large at the base for a hand truck? A two-person shoulder dolly may be what you need.

“Shoulder dolly” is a bit of a misnomer, as it brings to mind a rolling apparatus like a hand truck. This is actually a strap system for two people. It allows two people to effectively hold an object, like a washing machine, from the top and bottom on two sides, and to use leg strength and upper-body stability to move big, awkward household items.

It can be tricky on stairs. Here the lower mover will bear the brunt of the weight, so if you and a partner are using a shoulder dolly to move a heavy item upstairs, the stronger partner should be on the lower steps.

Use a Mattress Sling

Mattresses are just plain awkward. They’re heavy, bulky, oddly shaped for moving, and tend to bend one way and the other as you carry them. Add to that the fact that the holders on the sides aren’t meant for carrying the mattress. Rather, those are there to help you move it into place once it’s on top of your box spring.

Enter the mattress sling. This handy tool works well with your shoulder dolly, allowing you to stand upright, hold onto the top portion of a mattress to keep it from tipping, while the sling cradles the bottom section as you walk. This can make moving it to your bedroom much easier.

Now, have a happy, and safe, move!

Find storage near me

Recommended locations