How to Move a Couch Through a Narrow Door

Movers Carry a Sofa Through a Door Into a House
Philip Lee Harvey/Stone/Getty Images

The difficulty of moving a couch or sofa through a narrow doorway is a common problem that many people face when moving to a new house or after the purchase of new furniture. Sofas always seem to be too large for the opening, an issue exacerbated by protruding legs, arms, and seat backs. But with a little know-how and planning, you just might be able to squeeze your couch through a door opening that doesn't look like it will allow the piece to pass through.

Supplies You May Need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Notepad and pen
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Utility knife
  • Pry bar
  • Pliers
  • Work gloves
  • Large towel
  • Lifting straps

Instructions

Two strong people are needed for this project since even a small couch may weigh as much as 100 pounds. Sleeper sofas and conventional sofas can weigh 350 pounds or more.

Measure the Couch

Measure the couch's height, width, and length. If the legs can be removed, do this first. If the legs cannot be removed, then you need to measure the height of the sofa with the legs attached, from the floor to the top of the couch's back.

The length measurement often is the most important because many couches are easiest to move when placed in a vertical or nearly vertical position. The reasoning is that the shortest dimension on a couch is often at an angle from the bottom rear corner and up across the rear of the seat. With the couch in a vertical (or nearly vertical) position, you can move the back or seat through the doorway first, and the rest will follow while you move the couch in a hooking motion through the opening. Often this allows you to fit a couch through that is wider than the door opening.

Loveseats, typically 5 feet long, are particularly good candidates for moving vertically because door openings are usually over 6 feet high.

Measure the Size of All Openings

Whether you need to move your couch through a narrow space, like a doorway, or through a hallway, stairwell, or elevator doors, you first need to know how big the passages actually are. Use your tape measure to measure both the height and width of the openings, and jot down the dimensions on a notepad.

Also measure all hallways and other passages that lead to the final destination. In many cases, the doorway is only the first obstacle. Doors usually lead to hallways, leaving you a narrow space once you get through the door. Visualize how the couch will get through the door as well as the space immediately beyond.

Remove Doors and Door Stops (Optional)

If your measurements confirm that the fit is too tight, consider removing the door and, if necessary, the door stops to pick up a little more room. Open the door as far as it will go; if any of the door is blocking the opening, it will help to remove the door.

Interior doors are lightweight and are easy to remove without unscrewing the hinges from either the door or the door frame. To remove a door, use a flathead screwdriver and a hammer to tap out the hinge pins, tapping upward from the bottom. Pull each pin all the way out, then shift the door sideways to take it off of its hinges.

Door stops are the strips of trim on the inside of a door frame that hold the door firmly in place when it is closed. Depending on their thickness, removing the door stops on the sides can gain you about 1/2 to 1 inch in door width, and sometimes that's enough to make the difference.

To remove a door stop, first put on safety glasses, then use a utility knife to cut through the paint film where the door stop meets the door jamb. This prevents the paint from peeling away when you remove the stop. Carefully work a small pry bar under the door stop by gently tapping the back of the pry bar with a hammer. Start at the end of the door stop, not the middle. Pry up the rest of the stop to remove it. It's OK if the nails stay in the door jamb when the stop comes off; just pull them out with pliers.

Lift and Move the Sofa

Each mover should wear gloves and try to lift the couch by the frame, whenever possible. Remove the cushions and throw pillows from the sofa. For heavy couches, it may be necessary for both movers to wear lifting straps.

If the couch is small enough to fit through the door (and the space beyond), either right-side-up or rotated at 90 degrees, simply carry the couch straight out in a level position. This is the easiest way to move a sofa.

If you have determined that the sofa must be moved vertically, stand the couch on end, with a towel underneath to protect the couch fabric. Slide the couch toward the door, then move it through the doorway in a hooking motion with either the back or the seat entering the door first.

If you're moving it vertically and the couch is too tall for the opening, you will need to tilt it back at the top end and perhaps rotate it to get an arm and a corner of the back through first. Keep tilting and rotating the couch as needed to move the rest of it through in sort of a corkscrew fashion.

Couch Moving Tips

  • If none of these techniques work, you can hire a mover or furniture technician to partially or fully dismantle your sofa, move it, then reassemble it inside of the desired room.
  • If you cannot lift the sofa, hire professionals to do it for you.
  • It helps to have a third person on hand to clear the way as you and another person move the sofa.