Arts & crafts


Upholsterers pad, cover and re-cover furniture with materials like leather, suede or cotton.

Annual Salary

£12,000 to £25,000

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

Working hours

43 to 45 a week

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

Future employment

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

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

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

Working environment

You could work at a client's business, at a client's home or in a factory.

Your working environment may be physically demanding.

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.

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
For more information

You could do a furniture manufacturer intermediate apprenticeship or upholsterer advanced apprenticeship.

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

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.

Other routes

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.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the [Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF) |].

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.

The Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF) has more information on upholstery qualifications.

You can find out more about working in upholstery from Creative Choices.

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
  • 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
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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