How to Move a Couch Into an NYC Apartment

how to move a couch in or out of an apartment in nyc

There’s an art to moving in NYC, especially if you have big bulky pieces of furniture that need to squeeze through narrow doorways and halls. Add some flights of stairs to the mix and you can probably feel the stress and tension rising.

Couches can be especially challenging to move because they’re not only heavy and bulky, but wide and long. You have an investment in your couch, so you want to make sure it makes the move unscathed. Follow the 7 steps recommended by professional furniture movers and you’ll be all set to get your sofa from point A to B without a hitch.

1. Assess Your Apartment and Then the Entire Building

Are you moving your couch in or out of a pre-war apartment building? If so, be prepared to deal with narrow doorways and lots of stairs. If you’re moving your couch to or from a building with an elevator – great. If it’s a freight elevator – fantastic! Be sure to reserve it for your move.

If your building has an old 2 or 4 passenger elevator, your couch may be too large to fit inside. If the building doesn’t have any kind of elevator, assess the stairway situation. Are there several flights of stairs? Do the stairways turn 90 degree angles that are tight and narrow? You may be better off calling a furniture mover to handle moving your sofa. The experienced couch moving crews at Samba Moving are experts in moving your couch through any challenging space. 

2. Remove all Cushions and Pillows

Place all cushions and pillows in large trash bags. They’ll be protected and remain clean throughout the move. The filled bags can even act as some extra padding on the moving truck.

3. Detach the Sofa’s Legs

Whether the couch’s legs will easily twist off or you need to remove them with a screwdriver, either way, removing the legs makes your couch easier to move. Once the legs and associated hardware are removed, place all together in a zip lock bag. 

A Note About Sectionals: Sectionals are specifically designed to come apart so as to make them easier to move. Usually you can detach one part from another by lifting at the connecting bracket.

4. Measure 

Measure twice and move once is a lot like the old saying, ‘measure twice and cut once’. Essentially, if you measure carefully, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches right from the start. It’s no fun to get the couch through the doorways and halls only to find out it won’t fit in your building’s elevator.

Measure the length, depth, and height of your couch. Then measure the width and height of any and all doorways, halls, stairways, or elevator the couch will need to move through. If it seems the couch will be too difficult to move through the doorways, halls, and stairs, it may be time to call a professional furniture mover. Samba Moving will quickly give you a free quote to move even a single piece of furniture – from a loveseat to a large sectional.

5. Wrap the Couch

Moving a sofa through doorways, halls, and stairways will expose it to grime, dirt, and potential scratches. Wrap the couch in moving blankets, old sheets, or rolls of plastic like the pros use. Tape the wrapping in place so it won’t come loose and cause you to lose your balance or trip you up.

6. Strategize and Plan

Now that you’ve assessed the spaces and have your measurements, you’ll be able to strategize the best way to make the move. In cases where the depth of the couch is significantly more than the width of the doorway, you may need to move the couch vertically or diagonally and hook the back through the door first. To get a better understanding of this maneuver, check out some YouTube videos by searching, ‘how to move a couch through a doorway’.

7. Lift With Your Legs

Watch your back. Lifting a heavy and unwieldy piece of furniture like a couch can cause back sprains and strains. Be sure to bend your knees when you pick up the sofa and use the power of your legs to lift.


Moving a few boxes is one thing but moving your couch requires strategizing, planning, measuring, and strength. Be sure to get a strong friend to help because this is a job that can’t be done alone. But if you feel that moving your sofa will be just too difficult, hiring professional movers is definitely the way to go. The friendly pros at Samba Moving have the tools and experience to get your couch moved quickly and safely. And there’s no moving minimum – we’re delighted to move even just one item for you.

Save your back and request a free couch moving quote from Samba Moving – NYC’s furniture moving experts!