5 Must-Know Tips for Safely Shipping Tables and Chairs

Dawn M. Smith
Written by Dawn M. Smith
Updated November 29, 2021
Black dining table and chairs in open concept room
bmak - stock.adobe.com

If you have emotional ties to your dining room set, don't risk damaging it during shipping

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Many unforgettable memories take place around a dining room table—holidays, birthdays, and lively weeknight meals—to name a few. So it’s no wonder you want to ship your dining room set securely. 

Although DIY is possible, you probably want to hire professionals to ensure that the table and chairs have a safe passage. Take a look at these tips to help you find professional movers and prepare your dining set for transport.

1. Find the Right Shipping Company

Two workers moving dining table
Svitlana - stock.adobe.com

Your dining room set was probably a big investment or it holds sentimental value, so it’s important to work with a professional shipping company that provides the kind of service you need. 

To find a reliable shipping company, start with good old-fashioned recommendations from friends and family. Most people are happy to share information about companies that do a great job. If you need more reviews and background information, read online testimonials from the company’s previous clients. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau for information about recent disputes.

2. Document the Details of Your Dining Room Set

Grab a measuring tape and your phone to get accurate measurements and pictures of the items to share with the shipping company. The more details you can give your movers, the better prepared they’ll be to pack and ship your table and chairs. These measurements also help the shippers choose the best packing materials and calculate the final shipping costs. 

Check with your shipping company for specific requirements, but you’ll need to supply descriptions for most of the following categories:

  • Approximate weight

  • Number of pieces (including table and leaves, sideboard, hutches, buffet, chairs)

  • Exact measurements, including the height, width, and length of all pieces

  • Oddly shaped furniture

  • Glass components 

  • Fabric parts

  • Pictures of every piece, from multiple angles, to document the condition as of packing time

3. Choose the Right Style of Shipping

Your dining room furniture’s final destination dictates the type of shipping you’ll need and how it will arrive. A long-distance move is usually considered about 400 miles or more, and a local move is 50 to 100 miles or less, depending on the shipper. Of course, if you need overseas shipping, you’ll want to discuss air freight or sea freight options with your shipper.

Here are the primary types of shipping options:

Shipping Furniture as Freight

For long-distance and international destinations, you can ship your dining room furniture as freight, also known as Less-Than-Truckload (LTL). Many people choose LTL because it's affordable. 

With this service, your furniture shares a truck with other deliveries. Your packaged dining room set could be transferred between trucks during the journey, adding extra stops and repositioning, which increases the chances of damage. When the shipment arrives at its destination, you’re usually responsible for loading and unloading your furniture from the curb.

Independent Furniture Shippers

Independent furniture shippers move furniture long and short distances, and you often have a dedicated delivery vehicle for your shipment. They also have a centralized team to smooth out the logistics and manage your packing, pickup, and delivery instructions. 

Some independent furniture shippers offer “white glove” services to make shipping your dining room set safer and easier. They provide:

  • Point-to-point pickup and delivery

  • Extra packing materials, such as blanket wrapping

  • Dedicated movers to load, unload, and arrange your furniture set

DIY Shipping

While it’s possible to pack and ship tables and chairs by yourself, it’s a big undertaking due to the weight and size of dining room furniture. Without professional help, you’ll be responsible for dismantling, packing, boxing, or crating all of the pieces. It’s also challenging to load a moving truck without professional tools like dollies and straps. If you choose to DIY this project, keep the safety and health of you and your helpers top of mind.

4. Talk to Your Shipping Company About Insurance

The federal government requires each shipping company to offer insurance options to cover potential damage to your dining room set. Here’s a breakdown of common insurance options:

Full Value Protection

Full value protection is the most expensive choice, but you’ll have the most coverage for your furniture. If the shipping company loses or damages your items, they have three options to correct the problem. They can repair the item, replace it, or offer you money to fix it yourself.

Released Value Protection

With this type of coverage, the shipping company is responsible for no more than $0.60 per pound per item. Although released value protection is free, your reimbursement payments most likely won’t reflect what it would cost to repair the broken items or buy new furniture.

Third-Party or Separate Liability Coverage

You can buy third-party shipping insurance from most major insurance providers. Most people start by researching options through the company that provides their homeowners or renters insurance. The company can adjust your policy to include the shipping insurance or issue a completely new policy.

5. Prepare Your Furniture for Shipment

woman wearing glasses cleaning kitchen table with a cloth
stokkete - stock.adobe.com

Depending on the level of service you choose to ship your dining room set, you might need to do some of the prep work yourself. 

Regardless of whether you pack your furniture or the shipping company handles the details, you’ll want to clean the pieces and prepare for moving day. If you take the time to clean the table and chairs now, you’ll avoid damage and potential pest problems later.

  • Dust and clean dirt and food to avoid scratches

  • Apply wax to wood pieces to project the surface

  • Vacuum and steam clean fabric furniture, ensuring that you dry it thoroughly before packing

DIY Packing Preparation

If you want to pre-pack your items instead of using the shipping company, here are the steps you need to complete for a safe shipment. If you use bubble wrap, don't forget to use a sheet of packing paper first. The plastic material can damage some wood finishes, especially antiques.

  • Disassemble what you can for better package protection. This step includes unscrewing legs and removing door panels, knobs, and pulls.

  • Wrap and pack the legs separately.

  • Tape the bag of hardware underneath the table to make reassembly easier. 

  • Wrap the table leaves separately in a moving blanket or padded packing paper.

  • Secure all drawers with painter’s tape (if the finish allows) or zip ties to keep them from sliding during transit.

  • If your table has drop-sides, secure them with painter's tape or bungee cords. 

  • Protect your glass with cardboard if it isn’t removable. If you can, take the glass out, package it separately with bubble wrap, and then box it securely.

  • Use thick cardboard or specialized packing pieces to protect corners.

  • Wrap bars, like chair backs and table and chair legs, with bubble wrap to avoid dings.

  • Cover the tabletop, buffet, hutch, and sideboard with moving blankets. Use packing tape for a tight fit, and then add a layer of plastic wrap to keep the blankets in place.

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