Upholsterers pad, cover and re-cover furniture with materials like leather, suede or cotton.
Salary range: £12,000 to £25,000
How to become an upholsterer
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- specialist courses run by professional bodies
You could take a college course, like a:
- Level 2 Certificate in Upholstery
- Level 2 Diploma in Furnishings
Courses like these may be useful when looking for a trainee job with a company.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
You could do a furniture manufacturer intermediate apprenticeship or upholsterer advanced apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You may be able to get work as a trainee upholsterer, without any experience. You would then do qualifications and get experience on the job.
You can train for upholstery qualifications with the The Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers. These may be useful when looking for a job or help if you’re looking to set up your own business.
You can find out more about working in upholstery from Creative Choices.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with your hands
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be flexible and open to change
- knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
- design skills and knowledge
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- the ability to work well with others
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- planning work, advising on fabrics and estimating costs
- preparing patterns and templates
- cutting fabric to correct measurements
- fixing webbing and springs
- covering furniture frames with padding and fabric, using stitching, staples, tacks or glue
- making soft furnishings like cushions
- adding trimmings like piping, fringing and buttons
- removing old upholstery and repairing frames before re-upholstering
You could work at a client’s business, at a client’s home or in a factory.
Your working environment may be physically demanding.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could move into a supervisory or management position.
You could specialise in re-upholstering antique furniture or work in interior design. You could also become self-employed.