How to Move a Couch Through a Narrow Door

Arm of tan couch being measured my yellow measuring tape

The Spruce / Sarah Lee

The difficulty of moving a couch through a narrow doorway is a common problem that many people face when moving to a new house or after the purchase of a new sofa. Sofas always seem to be too large for the opening, an issue exacerbated by protruding legs, arms, and seatbacks. 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.

Tools and Supplies You Will Need

Materials and tools to move a couch through a narrow door

The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  • Measuring tape
  • Notepad and pen
  • Cordless drill and driver bits
  • Nail or another sharp item
  • Hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Utility knife
  • Pry bar
  • Pliers
  • Work gloves
  • Large towel
  • Lifting straps

Watch Now: How to Move a Couch Through a Narrow Door


Remove Cushions

Two strong people are needed for this project since even a small couch may weigh as much as 100 pounds. Sleeper sofas and many conventional sofas can weigh 350 pounds or more. If the legs can easily be removed, do so first. If not, leave them attached for now. Remove cushions, throw pillows, and all extraneous items from the sofa.

Cushions removed from tan couch to move through narrow door frame

The Spruce / Sarah Lee

Measure the Couch's Dimensions

With the measuring tape, measure the outer dimensions of the couch and jot down all measurements. Since you are interested in the couch's absolute maximum size, use leading edges as your reference points. For height, extend the measuring tape from the floor to the highest point on the back of the couch. For width, measure from one couch arm to the opposite arm. Be sure to identify the farthest possible points and measure between them. For depth, measure from front to back.

Tan couch being measured before moving through door frame

The Spruce / Sarah Lee

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 the dimensions of the passageways. Use your tape measure to measure both the height and width of the openings. Write down the dimensions on a notepad.

Door frame being measured for couch to fit through while moving

The Spruce / Sarah Lee

Correlate Couch and Opening Sizes

It is vital to plan on paper, prior to picking up the couch. This helps you avoid injury and damage to the home. If the couch is less than 80 inches wide, it is a good candidate for moving vertically because the interior and exterior door openings are usually 80 inches high, including door stops. If the couch is either 29 inches high or deep, it can usually be moved horizontally through a door, since interior door openings are usually 29 1/4 inches wide and exterior door openings 35 inches wide, including door stops.

Measurements written on yellow notepad with pen and measuring tape

The Spruce / Sarah Lee

Remove the Doors

It is usually best to remove interior doors before moving the couch. Interior doors are lightweight and easy to remove without unscrewing the hinges from either the door or the door frame.

To remove a door, tap out the hinge pins with a nail or other sharp item, tapping upward from the bottom. Pull each pin all of the way out, then shift the door sideways to take it off of its hinges.

If you do not want to remove the door or feel that it is unnecessary, you will need to take your initial measurement from one doorstop to the door's closest edge when opened as far as possible. Keeping the door in place reduces door opening width by as much as 1 1/4 inches.

Screws from door hinges being removed to take out doors

The Spruce / Sarah Lee

Remove Door Stops and Hinges (Optional)

If you still need extra room to move the couch through the opening, you can remove doorstops and door hinges.

Doorstops are the strips of trim on the inside of a door frame that holds the door firmly in place when it is closed. Removing the doorstops on the sides can gain you 1/2-inch if one doorstop is removed and 1-inch if both doorstops are removed. Vertically, removing the top doorstop will help you gain another 1/2-inch of height.

Removing door hinges will help you gain 1/2 inches of door width. Also, removing the hinges helps prevent damage to tight-fitting couches. Use the cordless drill and driver bits to remove the screws and set the hinges aside.

Door hinges removed with yellow electric drill

The Spruce / Sarah Lee

Move the Couch Horizontally or Vertically

Each mover should wear gloves and lift the couch by the frame, whenever possible. For heavy couches, it may be necessary for both movers to wear lifting straps. If you have determined that the couch can 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 straight or in a hooking motion with either the back or the seat entering the door first. If the couch can be moved horizontally and level, simply carry the couch straight out in a level position.

Tan couch flipped horizontally to fit through door frame and held by woman with white shirt

The Spruce / Sarah Lee

Move the Couch Diagonally (Optional)

If other methods fail, a couch can sometimes be moved in a diagonal fashion. First, both movers pick up the couch at each end. Then the couch is tilted forward 45 degrees so that the first mover is able to hook the leading couch arm around the door. The rest of the couch follows in a type of corkscrew motion. This method requires extreme strength and may be impossible for many people to accomplish since much back-and-forth maneuvering is required.

Additional Couch Moving Tips

  • In a pinch, if your house has wall-to-wall carpeting and you need extra vertical height, you can strip back carpeting around the door area. Baseboards will first need to be removed. Carpet seams may need to be parted.
  • Often you can hire a mover or a furniture technician to partially or fully dismantle the sofa, move it, then reassemble it inside of the desired room.
  • Be sure to 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 space immediately beyond.
  • If you find that the couch is too heavy, 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.