How-to: Move Heavy Furniture

Watching a professional mover work, you would be amazed at how they easily move heavy pieces of furniture without breaking a sweat. It is not that they are all super strong, but the key is in the experience and knowledge. Proper technic often beats sheer force.

In this article, we will teach you the different methods the pros use to move heavy furniture. Follow these tips next time you will have to move your antique buffet and you won't end up with back pain.

The whole article could be summed up by this simple rule: do not lift when you can push, do not push when you can roll.

Of course the furniture will often dictate what the appropriate method is but keep this rule in mind and look for ways to roll or push as much as you can.

First, let's state the obvious.

To move a heavy furniture easily, make it lighter. The lighter it is, the less effort it will be.

It is obvious, yet many people overlook this step. By unloading the furniture as much as possible, you will dramatically reduce its weight.

Remove cushions from sofa, empty the furniture from books, magazines and miscellaneous (even the small items add up), remove the drawers and doors if possible etc.

If you cannot remove the drawers and doors, strap them so they stay in place.

It is also wise to plan the route beforehand. Know where it lands and how you will get there. Clear the path.

Now move it!

Here are your options by order of priority: Roll, Push, Lift.

1. Roll

The best option is to roll the furniture. If your are lucky, the furniture is already on wheels (quite common with fridge). Otherwise your weapons of choice are:

  • a dolly
  • a hand truck
A dolly

A dolly

A hand truck

A hand truck


A dolly is a platform (wooden board or otherwise) mounted on 4 wheels. It is the cheapest option. This one costs less than 20 euros and can hold up to 200kg. It is particularly useful for bulky items such as a couch and a buffet. If need you can slip several dollies under the furniture.

A hand truck is a two-wheel platform with a handle. It is a bit more expensive, around 40 euros but it is also more manoeuvrable. It is used for more compact items, such as a washing machine or a safe.

Another difference is that the hand truck will require you to support part of the weight when moving, while with the dolly once the furniture is loaded, all you need to do is roll.

2. Push / PULL

Furniture sliders

Furniture sliders

A furniture slider is essentially a piece of plastic that you slip under each corner or each leg. Its helps to reduce the friction which allows you push the furniture with minimum effort. The sliders above costs around 25 euros.

If you are on the budget you may replace them with pieces of cardboard or slip a blanket under the furniture.

Be extra careful on hardwood floors.

3. Lift

Sheer force should only be used at last resort.

Lifting heavy loads requires a proper technic which most of us do not have. Most people just bend over and lift with their arms and back. This can lead to injury. Instead you should squat and lift it up with your legs while keeping your back straight. Yes, as you would do at the gym. Keep the item close to your body, your head straight and walk carefully to the landing spot.

If you have someone helping you, which is wise, you can use the high and low method. It is particularly useful with tall items such as a shelving unit or a bookcase. It works this way: stand in front of the furniture and tilt it at a slight angle so the helper can grip the bottom while you carry the top. This allows to center and better balance the weight. Carrying this way also makes the unloading safer.

High and Low method

High and Low method

I hope thid helps!

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