How To Move Heavy Furniture

Moving heavy furniture is a big job and must be done safely to avoid injury. Wood Furniture Store has loads of tips on how to move heavy furniture in the safest ways according to the furniture and the surface on which you’re moving it. Whether you’re transporting a wardrobe to another room or moving a bookshelf up stairs, we’ve got all the best advice.

Remember, if you’re not sure about moving a heavy item yourself, always get help. Moving heavy items of furniture can be dangerous if not done with care.


Important Tips

Before we cover the different methods of moving heavy furniture, there are some basic and essential tips to make the job a bit easier.

1. Wear good shoes

You might not ordinarily wear shoes indoors, but if you’re moving furniture about, it’s essential that you put some on. It’s extremely easy to stub your toe or even put furniture down on your feet when you’re moving it around. Shoes help to protect your feet from injury and will often lessen any damage that might otherwise cause more severe problems.

The best kind of shoes to wear are steel-capped, but these aren’t found in everyone’s wardrobes! Choose the most sturdy pair you own and make sure they fit properly. Shoes that are too big might cause you to trip which could result in accidents.


2. Lift with your legs

If you’re picking up a heavy item of furniture, never lift it with your back. This refers to using purely the back muscles to take the strain of the weight, rather than other muscles in your body.

The best way to lift a heavy item is with your legs. When you lift, first bend your legs and ensure your torso is straight and upright, rather than bent over. Then straighten your legs as you lift the object. Lifting with your legs reduces the risk of injury.

If an item is particularly heavy, you might not be able to lift it with your legs alone. In this instance, still lift initially with your legs so they take most of the weight and then allow your back and arms to share the weight. Even better, get a friend to help you!

3. Clear Furniture First!

It might seem obvious, but never forget to take all other items off or out of the furniture before you move it. This includes removing clothes from a wardrobe, for example, or books from bookshelves. You should also remove the drawers from dressers and cabinets. This will make the furniture significantly lighter. It can be annoying to have to put everything back afterwards, but it makes the moving job much safer and easier.

Bookcase empty ready for moving

4. Take It Apart

If you can take the furniture apart, it’s often a good idea to do so. For example, most wooden bed frames can be flat packed. This will make it significantly easier to move them, although it does mean a bit of extra time and effort to take them apart and put them back together.

Not all furniture can be taken apart, but if yours can then consider doing so as it’ll make moving much simpler.

5. Plan Where It’s Going

You might have an idea of where the item of furniture is going to be placed, but it’s a good idea to know for sure. Plan precisely where in the room your furniture is going to be placed.

This is helpful for a number of reasons. Firstly, it will mean you can move furniture into the room in the correct order. You don’t want to have to move heavy furniture around other items to get it to the far side of a room.

Secondly, it ensures that you don’t have to put down the item and then pick it up again. Often the most strenuous part of moving heavy furniture is the initial lift. When you know where the furniture is going, you can avoid having to lift and place down too many times.


Methods For Any Surface

The following methods of moving heavy furniture work for any surface. Once you’ve chosen your method, read our extra tips for moving heavy furniture over wood floors, carpet or up stairs for additional advice according to your situation.

Furniture Straps

Furniture straps are designed to help you better grip and manage the weight of an item. There are different straps available, but some of the most common are shoulder straps. These attach securely to the item and fix around your shoulders, helping to take the weight off your back where it’s more likely to cause injury.

Shoulder straps are not recommended for moving heavy furniture up stairs as they will cause the person at the bottom to carry the vast majority of the weight.

Moving Dollies

Moving dollies are wheeled square platforms on which furniture can be placed. The furniture can then be moved across a room much more easily.

Hand trucks are similar to dollies, but they stand upright. They can be used for items such as small bookcases or bedside cabinets. The platform on the truck can be slid under the item, tipping it onto the wheels so it can be manoeuvred. With hand trucks, be sure not to use them on items that are too large as it could cause the weight to tip and crush you. With the largest items of furniture, like wardrobes, use a moving dolly instead.

Moving heavy furniture with a hand truck

The ‘Hook’ Technique

If you’re moving an armchair where the back cannot be taken out, use the hook technique to get the item through a doorway or round narrow corners. Turn the armchair on its side so the top is going first. Guide the top through the doorway then rotate the item left or right so the seat then follows at its narrowest angle.

Stand Sofas End Up

To move a sofa, it’s usually best to tip it so it’s stood on its end, pointing upwards. This will make it much easier to move through spaces and around corners, especially if you place it on a moving dolly!

If the length of the sofa makes it too long to fit through the height of the door, still stand it upright, but tip it when you reach the doorway. Try to tip it only as much as it needs to fit under the doorway and then stand it upright once again when you’re through.


On Wood Floors

When moving heavy furniture on wood floors, one of the additional problems is avoiding scratches on your floor. This goes for traditional solid wood flooring, as well as engineered wood and laminate.

Always remember: never drag furniture across a wooden floor. It is likely to scratch the floor and could also damage your furniture by putting strain on the joints.

Soft Sliders

This method is appropriate for a range of hard surface floors, such as wood floors, vinyl or tiles.

Sliders slot under furniture legs to reduce friction between the item of furniture and the floor. It can then slide along the surface of the wood floor, making it much easier to move it across the room.

When using sliders on hard floors and wood floors, be sure that they have a soft surface. Hard surface sliders are only appropriate for use on carpets; they’ll scratch and damage wooden floors.

Place the sliders underneath the points where the furniture comes into contact with the floor.

You can buy sliders, or alternatively make your own from items such as carpet offcuts or old, slightly flat cushions.

Moving Blankets

Moving blankets are wrapped around items of furniture during a move. This both protects the furniture itself and your floors from any damage. It’s great if you’re planning on lifting the furniture as it protects surfaces if the item is dropped or put down for a rest.


On Carpet

Hard Sliders

While hard surfaces require soft sliders, soft surfaces like carpet need hard sliders. These reduce friction and allow the furniture to slide over the carpet. Sliders can be bought from DIY shops, but there are at-home alternatives that work such as:

  • Tinfoil (shiny side up)
  • Cardboard squares
  • Plastic lids of containers
  • Plastic frisbees

Place the slider under the feet of items of furniture to push them over the carpet.


Up Stairs

Moving heavy furniture up stairs can be one of the trickiest things to achieve safely as stairs provide additional hazards. Read our tips for moving items up stairs.

Get Help

Moving heavy furniture up or down stairs will always require two people. It can be dangerous as slips have greater potential to cause harm than on a flat surface, so having an extra person can help to balance the weight and make it much safer.

This also applies to items that are light, but large in size, like bed frames, as well as items that are small but heavy.

Hold High And Low

The aim of this method is to balance the weight of the furniture.

Tilt the furniture so the person leading up the stairs carries from the highest point of the item. For example, with a desk they would hold the underneath of the desk top. The person following behind should hold the lowest point of the item, such as where it would normally meet the floor. In the example of the desk, they would hold the bottom bar between the desk legs as this is the closest stable point to the floor. Be sure that your hold on the item is always stable and secure.

Carrying heavy furniture high to low

If you’re moving house, why not order some new items of furniture to spruce up the place? We have loads of stunning wood furniture items for any room of the house.


Thank you to for the use of their images.

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