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

Average salary (a year)

£12,000 Starter


£25,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

43 to 45 a week

You could work

freelance / self-employed managing your own hours

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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course

More information


You could do a furniture manufacturer intermediate apprenticeship.

This will usually take 24 months to complete. You'll do on-the-job training and spend time at a college or training provider.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship

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

Further information

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

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to work well with others
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • planning the work, advising on fabrics and estimating costs
  • preparing patterns and templates
  • cutting out fabric
  • fixing webbing and springs
  • covering frames with padding and fabric using stitching, staples, tacks or glue
  • making 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.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to a supervisory or management position.

You could become self-employed.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Upholsterer

  • Wage : £200.00 Weekly
  • Location: Ilkeston DE7 4RA

Apprentice Wood Machinist - Bradford (CD)

  • Wage : £225.00 Weekly
  • Location: Liversedge WF15 8ER

Courses In England

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