Is Your Furniture Too Big For Your New Home?

945883899_e8aece9e5e_zMaybe it’s the fact that I like to live in smallish urban homes, but for some reason, I’m jinxed when it comes to sofas. In fact, I lived in one spacious (by local standards) New York apartment which had 19 inch hallways. I couldn’t even fit a sofa into the living room. For five years, I was stuck with a college-ish futon.

Even today, my older Bay Area home was definitely not built for overstuffed comfy sofas. Even getting a low-profile, shallower than normal sofa through our doors was a challenge. Ninja’s movers got it through with no damage to the sofa or door, but as much as we want to replace the not-too-comfortable sofa, we’re not sure how to get its replacement in.

Despite the fact that ultimately my sofa fit, there were moments of frustration, bordering on blame. Movers hear it every day. They do everything they can to get a piece of furniture to fit, but, sometimes to no avail. In the vast majority of cases, of course, it’s not the movers’ fault, but stressed out customers don’t always see it that way and for good reason- they paid good money to have their furniture moved. No one is happy if the job can’t be completed.

The best way to prevent a less than satisfactory moving experience is to measure. If you have any relatively large furniture, make sure it will fit before you decide to move it.

1. Measure furniture from every dimension. You might not think that sofa height would be what prevents it from entering a doorway, but if it’s a narrow doorway, it might be the very problem.

2. See if the legs come off and if they do, measure again.

3. Measure every doorway, including back doors.

4. Measure stairways and elevators, if they are involved.

5. Measure each and every turn. That might involve a little high school geometry, but here’s a fairly easy formula.

If your beloved buffet cabinet or armoire won’t fit through the doors or around the turns, there might be alternatives, but be prepared, they can be expensive. If you have large windows, removing the window may be an option. If it’s on the first floor, that’s not usually too difficult, but second floor and up requires extra equipment and expertise for hoisting. Occasionally, with tall apartment buildings, a crane can be called in. At that point, though, you might want to ask yourself if the furniture is worth the extra cost.

If your furniture absolutely won’t fit, there are alternatives. You can do like I did and buy a futon, but, if a futon is not exactly your style, three sections of a sectional can make a nice sofa. Some companies, like Jennifer Convertibles, make furniture that can be disassembled and reassembled in preparation for your move. In fact, they even do it for you!

Even larger case goods, like wardrobe closets and large desks, can be disassembled and reassembled in some cases.

Another option is to forgo the big furniture altogether. If you own, build storage, which can add character to your home. Instead of a large sofa, buy a love seat and and an extra chair. You could even buy several chairs instead of a sofa or love seat. Four chairs gathered around a round coffee table make a wonderful conversation pit.