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Moving Furniture/Couch to fit down basement stairs


QUESTION: Hello Harry,
We are trying to figure out what the largest size couch we can get for our basement.  The door frame to the basement is 31 inches wide by 80 inches tall and we have room to angle it in if needed.  
The hallway wall to wall is 41 inches wide with 5 steps down to the first landing.  At the landing the measurements are 38 inches by 43 inches with the ceiling height at the landing of 92 inches.
There is a a 90 degree angle to the right from that landing to the basement floor.  This hallway wall to wall is 38 inches.  There is also 40 inches of clearance from the floor to the wall in the basement. The height from the bottom stair to ceiling is 85 inches and the height from the floor to the ceiling is 93 inches.
Please let me know if you need pictures.


ANSWER: Hello Kari,

You said that the hallway width is 41". I am assuming that the door to the basement is on the side of the hallway. If this is the case, the couch needs to be LESS than 80" in length. 78" or LESS is ideal. The depth should be LESS than 40". The sofa height needs to be LOWER than 33". It should be a standard style design where the back is higher than the arms. The arm height (whether the legs come off or not) MUST BE LOWER than 30".

If the basement door is at the end of a hallway where it would be a straight shot to the door, the sofa length can be 82" or LESS. I would keep the depth and height at what I stated.

Your measurement descriptions were excellent. You might want to consider a sectional style so you can have the length you want. I would like to see a ling to the sofas that you have interests in once you make a decision. Remember that you can get a sofa height that is much higher if you want. It's the final back height after you remove back cushions and/or legs that is important.

Let me know if I can help you further or if you have more questions. Also let me know if you need me to clarify.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: So let's take the 80 inch height measurement for the top of the stairs door frame out of the equation.  Would you still recommend under 82 inches for length?

Hi Kari,

I would go with the "under 82" measurement. The reason for this is that the sofa needs tipping room as it is stood upright in the "landing" area and stood vertically. It would probably be resting on the last step and not the landing as it is tipped straight up. If it's more than 82", it could hit the ceiling. I wasn't sure if the bottom of the stairway opened into a big room or if there was a wall directly opposite that last step. If there is a wall there, the sofa would need to be stood vertically on the last step and turned to go in the direction needed. This is another reason the sofa length will need to be kept at under 82". The first landing turn really delegates what the sofa length will be. If the doorway to the basement is on the side of the hallway, I recommend the sofa length LESS than 80".

If you want to take a bunch of pictures, you can e-mail them to

Let me know what you think, keep me posted


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Harry Lipsky


Moving your furniture. I would like to answer all questions dealing with the proper techniques of how to move ANY type of furniture, including difficult doorways and stairways. Also, all questions dealing with the proper packing of breakables including antiques. All general questions concerning the moving and storage industry will be answered. I cannot recommend a particular mover in a person`s neighborhood but i can explain how to obtain a company in good standing with the community. I have been in the moving and storage industry for almost four decades! I am located in Massachusetts.


I have almost four decades of experience in the moving & storage industry. When I was a small boy my father introduced me into the moving business and I have been hooked ever since. At first I started out as a young laborer untill I was old enough to drive a furniture van. As time went on I drove 18-wheelers around the country moving small shipments as well as large corporate relocations. I was taught the old school methods by men that were craftsman in their field. I learned how to pack the most delicate of breakables as well as museum pieces. It was common practice to do estimates and even the actual ratings on interstate jobs. Doing commercial moves were a big part of my moving career over the years. Some of the big names that I delt with were "GE","MICROSOFT","FIDELITY INVESTMENTS" AND "AMERICAN EXPRESS". As the years went by my family retired and sold the business (not my choice). I went on to establish my own moving company which ran for 12 years before I phased out the physical moving itself. Today I have developed a consulting service where I advise future furniture buyers as well as people moving for the first time on what to expect from their upcoming adventure. Furniture buyers are advised on what size furniture will fit through their narrow doorways and tight hallways. By choosing furniture with the right dimensions will narrow down the probability of the furniture being returned back to the store. That is not a scenario people want after waiting 8-12 weeks for their new furniture. I can also help people to understand the proper procedures of a first time move in their lives. I tell them what is to be expected,how they can save money,how to choose a good mover and what is involved with getting the packing done.

I have a FACEBOOK page for PRE-MOVE STRATEGIES. Please become a fan! I would like to have all people that I have helped to leave their comments on the FACEBOOK page.

I have a high school diploma from Swampscott High School............Swampscott, MA. Immediately after high school I entered the family business where I stayed for 20 years before moving on to my own business endeavors.

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