Moving a couch can be a bit tricky, especially if you live on the second, third or fourth floors of an apartment building, as stairs often have sharp corners and are too narrow to accommodate them. A somewhat less stressful alternative to get your couch into a second floor (or higher) apartment is to lift it over the balcony.
To lift a couch over a balcony, remove the legs then cover it in plastic wrap and blankets to prevent scratches and tears. Use straps to secure the coverings. Lastly, attach ropes to the straps on both sides of the sofa, lifting it through the air to the balcony and over the rails.
As you can see, it is not as difficult or seemingly impossible as you may have thought to get a couch over a balcony. And this article will show you how to do it using ropes, latches, blankets, plastic-wraps, a few strong friends, and the six easy steps detailed below.
1. Detach the Legs, and Remove Cushions and Pillows
The lifting process will be much easier if the couch is as compact and as light as possible. The legs of the sofa can easily get caught in the ropes or between the railings. Thankfully, most couch legs are easily detachable by twisting them off by hand, although some have screws, and you may need a screwdriver.
Removing the cushions and pillows makes the load only slightly lighter. However, doing so makes the couch much more manageable.
2. Cover the Couch to Prevent Upholstery Damage
The average couch is neither small nor malleable, and will not go over the balcony without a fuss. Without some form of protection, there is sure to be some damage to the sofa while moving it, arising from scratches, tears, and bumps.
Protect the couch by covering it first in plastic wrap, and then cover both couch and balcony railings with a moving blanket or thick cloth. This double layer of protection will prevent damage to the upholstery caused by friction as the furniture goes over the rails and possible tears from the jutting edges of the railing.
It also helps to cushion the sofa’s weight and minimize potential damage to the rails, as the goal is to get the couch into the apartment with minimal harm.
3. Use Straps to Secure Coverings and Create Loops
After covering up the sofa, you will need to secure the blankets and sheets with straps so that they do not fall off when the couch is hoisted.
Also, while securing the coverings, create loops within the straps, at both sides of the couch, particularly the arms. These straps will be used to attach ropes for pulling the sofa.
Ensure that the straps are durable, not frayed or damaged in any way, and fastened tightly around the couch. Use tight but not overly complicated knots that will be easy to loosen once the sofa is on the balcony. More importantly, however, the knots should not come undone while the couch is in the air, which will be harmful to people below and the sofa itself.
Also, position the couch, such that it faces away from the direction of the balcony. Doing so will make it easier to maneuver the sofa over the railing.
4. Attach Ropes to Each Loop
Pass ropes from the balcony and attach them to the loops on each side of the couch. These will serve not only to lift the sofa off the ground but also to guide the airborne sofa.
The more knots and ties there is, the higher the risk of the couch falling off from an undone knot. Thus, it is best to pass the ropes through the loops than to tie them. Accordingly, ensure that each rope is at least twice the height from the floor to the balcony with an extra two or three feet to allow easier handling.
Again, ensure that the ropes are sturdy, not frayed, and fit for the job, to prevent accidents.
5. Lift the Couch Using the Attached Ropes
Having attached ropes to the couch, what follows next is the actual job of lifting the sofa. This part of the operation requires more care and synchronization between the people pulling the ropes, as both ends must be lifted simultaneously, so the sofa does not tilt or swing, hitting a wall, or worse, a window.
A slow, steady pace is better, as hurrying increases the tendency that the couch will swing and strike at a wall or window, especially when the balcony is on a higher floor. Also, have someone remain on the ground to act as a spotter, calling out to those carrying the couch if anything doesn’t seem right, just like what you see in this video:
An Alternative Method
If you stay in an apartment that is not very high, particularly the second floor (and third in some cases), you can transport the couch using an inclined plane and furniture sliders, instead of pulling it through the air. A sturdy metal ladder positioned at an angle to the balcony is an excellent inclined plane.
An advantage of this method is that the sliders make pulling the sofa easier and faster.
6. Roll the Couch off the Balcony and Move It Inside
Once the couch is at the balcony level, it becomes a question getting it over the rails and into the apartment. If there are many hands available, then some can attempt pulling the couch upward, such that the backside slides against the edge of the handrail.
If there are not enough people around, then continue pulling the ropes as before, the result will be the same, only that you will need to put in more effort.
After getting the sofa to the balcony, it is best to take off the ropes, straps, and blankets, before moving it into the apartment. You can also reattach the legs at this point.
While the six steps detailed above are indeed simple and do not pose many hazards, you should still take precautions at every point of the way.
Accordingly, don’t stand under an airborne couch. Ensure that all the ropes and latches used are strong enough and in good condition. Finally, wear gloves to prevent rope burns.
Keep the ladder stable by holding down the sides while the couch is moving over it. However, the inclined plane method will not work in cases where the balcony is quite high, as you will be hard-pressed to find a ladder of sufficient length or enough room to place the ladder at the required angle.
When to Call on the Experts
In ideal conditions where the balcony isn’t too high up, there aren’t any obstacles, and the size of the couch is not much bigger than the balcony, then the six steps will serve.
However, conditions are not always ideal. Consequently, these steps may not work or may be limited by obstacles like bushes or trees, the size and weight of the couch, and the height of the balcony from the ground (as the risk of accidents increases as the height increases).
In such cases, it is best to call on professional movers who have specialized skills and equipment to handle the process. Attempting to do it yourself might result in personal injuries and damages to the couch.
There you have it with some ropes, blankets, plastic wrap, and an optional inclined plane and sliders; you can move your couch over the balcony using the steps discussed in the article. But remember to wear hardhats and gloves, and do not stand under an airborne couch.