Arts & crafts

Furniture restorer

Furniture restorers repair and conserve modern and antique pieces of furniture.

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £35,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

42 to 44 variable

You could work: freelance / self-employed; managing your own hours

7%
Future employment

There will be 7% fewer Furniture restorer jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • working out the best way to conserve or restore a piece of furniture
  • advising customers about restoration options
  • estimating prices and giving quotes
  • gathering the materials needed for a job
  • using techniques like woodturning, veneering and marquetry
  • mixing and applying colours and stains
  • gilding, polishing and upholstering items
  • keeping photographic and written records of the process

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work in a factory or in a workshop.

Your working environment may be dusty.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • specialist short courses
University

You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • art and design
  • furniture design
  • furniture restoration
  • product design

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Furniture Making
  • Level 2 Diploma in Furniture Finishing Methods

Some colleges and adult education centres run more informal courses in craft and restoration. Courses include topics like repair methods, staining, veneers and French polishing.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information
Apprenticeship

You can complete an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in restoring furniture or advanced upholstery.

Entry requirements

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
For more information
Other routes

You can do short courses in woodworking skills and restoration techniques through the British Antique Furniture Restorers' Association.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about training and careers in furniture restoration and conservation through: | https://ccskills.org.uk/careers/advice/article/conservator][The Institute of Conservation; | https://ccskills.org.uk/careers/advice/article/conservator][The British Antique Furniture Restorers' Association

You could set up your own furniture restoration business, carrying out work for organisations and the public, or work as a consultant for museums, auction houses, historical or heritage sites, or antique dealers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to work on your own
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • the ability to organise your time and workload
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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