Moving Heavy Furniture Upstairs –

Plan ahead

Before moving day, take stock of the items that may present a challenge. First, measure their height, width and depth. You may want to record these measurements so you have them on hand for the move. Next, measure the width of the stairs, the space around corners and the distance to the ceiling. Jot these measurements down as well.

Then, formulate a plan for each item. You’ll want to decide what the best position to carry that is. Does it need to be carried at a particular angle as you go up or down the stairs? Will you need a different position or angle to avoid hitting the walls, railings or ceiling? Also, consider whether specific equipment, like a hand truck, will make the task easier. Finally, you’ll want to determine how many people you need to help move that piece.

If you’ve never moved heavy or bulky items before, invest the time to learn how to lift correctly. This will prevent injury and reduce the risk of damaging your belongings.

Furniture Carrying Straps: Shoulder Dolly

Moving and lifting straps (Shoulder Dolly, shown here, is one type) take the weight off your back by relying on leverage and large muscle groups. They also leave your hands free to maneuver awkward items. However, they can be tricky to use on stairs because the weight shifts completely to the downhill mover.


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.


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.

Protect your home

To minimize damage to your home’s banisters and walls during the move, take these extra steps.

  1. Wrap moving blankets, old blankets or thick towels around the banisters to prevent the edges and corners of large pieces from causing damage. Secure with painter’s tape.
  2. Cover staircase walls with moving blankets or old bedspreads held in place with painter’s tape. If you don’t have thick coverings, bedsheets will at least prevent scuffs.
  3. Remove doors, if necessary for added maneuverability and to protect the door from damage.

Moving Furniture Down the Stairs

Whether you are moving furniture down the stairs or moving heavy equipment up the stairs, you should have a friend help you, and you should wear work gloves and sturdy shoes. suggests starting with a good look at the steps to make sure there are no uneven steps or loose boards. You can also measure the ceiling height, the railings and the width of the stairway – and the object – to make sure that it will actually fit.

If the heavy object has separate pieces (bookcases, bedroom sets), you can take it apart to move the pieces separately. Always wrap the objects to guard them and the surroundings from dents, scratches and breakage. You can use moving blankets and bubble wrap for this.

The moving straps and dollies can be used for moving heavy objects down the stairs, and you can also build stair ramps for moving furniture and other items. This is easier than it sounds. Public Storage explains that you only need one or two 1-inch-thick wood planks; lay them flat on the steps. If you can find wood that covers the entire staircase, that would be best. With a friend, slowly slide the heavy object down the boards.

Moving Furniture Upstairs By Yourself

Moving furniture by yourself is a challenging and dangerous task if you haven’t got the right equipment. It only takes one miss-step, loss of balance, or the furniture getting too heavy before you’re in real trouble.

So, what can you do?

Your best option is to use a powered stair climber to help take the weight off your arms, back, legs and provide safety as you maneuver the stairs.

As you can see by this video…

Powered stair climbers make it effortless to get your furniture up the stairs, and more importantly, it doesn’t matter how big or strong you are.

To take the weight of your back, the stair climbers use wheels to maneuver the equipment. All you have to do is tilt it back. If the furniture still feels too heavy, you can pull out the foldable arms to help you secure the object at a 45°angle.

They also use a rotating arm to help lift the furniture up the stairs safely and efficiently, so you don’t have to lift a thing. 

But they’re not the only tools you can use to help you move furniture:

Tools For Moving Furniture Upstairs

As with anything in life, if you have the right tools for the job, it will make your life a lot easier. And that’s why we’ve created this list of tools that can help you move your furniture upstairs with ease.

Electric Mini Lifter

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how strong you are; you just can’t lift the furniture to put it on your stair climber, which can be a problem.

This is where a mini lifter can come in handy, as you can see in this video:

The mini lifter can pick up your item high enough for you to slip your stroller underneath, ready for transporting up the stairs. 

The best thing about this method is it reduces the chance of you damaging your back trying to lift a heavy object off the ground. 

Stair Climbing Dolly

Once you’ve lifted the furniture off the ground, you need something that’s going to help you get it up the stairs. 

And the best way to do that is with a stair climbing dolly.

Stair climbing dollys use a rotating arm to lift the furniture upstairs with zero effort. It’s a simple case of pulling the dolly to the edge of the stairs and letting it do the hard work for you.

Safe Strap

The next thing you should think about is keeping your furniture secure while you’re moving it. The last thing you want is the new furniture falling down the stairs. 

Not only can it cause damage to your furniture, but it can also injure anyone that’s following behind you. 

4 Wheel Dolly

The last thing we want to mention is a four-wheel dolly. Maneuvering large furniture around tight corners is definitely a challenge and not something you want to come across if you’re not prepared for it.

And this is where four-wheel dollies come in handy. They allow you to spin the furniture 360° making it easy to slip your furniture around corners.

Take the Back Off a Recliner

Find the back brackets on the outside or inside of the back frame. Lift the locking levers on both sides (you may need to use long-nose pliers) and slide the back straight up to remove it from the recliner. Always lift a recliner from the sides, not by the back or footrest. Tie the footrest in place so it doesn’t spring open.

Moving furniture up stairs using an electric stair climber

The best way to move an item of furniture up stairs is to use a professional electric stair climber in order to minimise the physical impact of moving the load.

If the item of furniture is not particularly heavy – well below 100 Kg – you can use an electric stair climber dolly with wheels, like Zonzini’s  powered stair climber dolly Buddy. However if you use a wheeled stair climber you will have to balance the weight of the furniture on the stairs while it is being moved to stop it falling. If the furniture is heavy there is a very real risk that it will tip over on the stairs.

Straight stairs are the easiest to move loads on using an electric stair climber. You can move your furniture on a helical staircase using all of the wheeled stair climbers, but only very few of the tracked stair climbers.

The Domino Automatic tracked stair climbing robot by Zonzini can move furniture weighing up to 881 Pounds (400 Kg) also on helical staircases, depending on the degree of rotation of the stairs and the size of the load. The Skipper tracked stair climber can move tall furniture and heavy furniture weighing up to 350 Kg, but is only suitable for use on straight staircases.

Spiral staircases have a tight angle and it is almost impossible to use a wheeled or tracked motorized stair climber on them. If the spiral staircase is very narrow, there is not enough space to manoeuvre an electric stair climber.

Think about wardrobes made from solid wood or with stone or marble inlays. In such cases it is advisable to use a tracked electric stair climber. As well as having a higher load capacity it is also much safer, because the operator does not have to balance the item of furniture on the stairs.

Whenever possible, it is always preferable to move furniture and domestic appliances using an electric stair climber which, depending on the type of furniture, may be wheeled – for furniture weighing less than 100 Kg – or tracked – if weighing more than 100 Kg.

The two types of technology have different levels of safety and comfort for the operator. Stair climbers with tracks are more expensive but also safer, because they require less physical effort during transport. Electric stair climbers with wheels tend to be quicker and more suitable for moving furniture weighing less than 100 Kg.

Find out all the differences between stair climbers with tracks and stair climbers with wheels

Don’t Strain Your Back and Let the Professionals Do the Heavy Lifting!

Even if you have all of the tips and tricks in your toolbelt, it can still be difficult and strenuous to move heavy items on your own. If you have hesitations or you’re not interested in attempting to move these pieces on your own, our team at Alliance Moving is only a phone call away! Our professional movers are always timely and respectful of your items. Get a free quote from us to learn more about the specifics of your move.


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