How to Become an Upholsterer

Written by

Beatrice Harrison


August 14, 2014


Upholstery is a popular practice that deals with providing a variety of furniture with padding, webbing, springs, and leather and fabric covers. Upholsterers are trained workers that perform a variety of upholstery tasks for many different purposes.

What does an upholsterer do?

Upholsterers create, repair, and restore furniture that is typically covered with fabric or other materials. They remove old fabric and stuffing to expose the wooden frame and springs and apply new materials. They often reattach loose parts of the frame and refinish the wood. They also replace torn webbing and bent or broken springs. They use a variety of tools such as tack pullers, hammers, glue, nails, and staple guns. Upholsterers that create new furniture begin with a bare wooden frame and they install the springs, webbing, filling, and fabric. They measure and cut the materials to make sure they fit properly to create a well-crafted piece of furniture.

What kind of training does an upholsterer need?

Upholsterers typically need at least a high school diploma. Many employers prefer applicants with previous experience. Most upholsterers learn their skills through on the job training by observing experienced workers. Some complete formal apprenticeship programs or basic upholstery training at vocational and technical schools and community colleges. Formal training programs vary in length from about 6 weeks to 3 years. Upholsterers that work on custom-made materials may pursue formal training for 8 to 10 years. New upholsterers typically begin with simple tasks and move on to more advanced activities once they gain the essential skills and experience. Upholsterers must complete periodic training to stay up to date on advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as an upholsterer?

Employment of upholsterers is expected to decline moderately, decreasing 9% through 2018. Increased automation and decreased need for upholstery services will contribute to the employment decline.

Job prospects are expected to be fair because some job openings will arise from the need to replace upholsterers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do upholsterers make?

As of this year, the middle 50% of upholsterers earn annual salaries between $33,728 and $47,666. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $54,063.

A career as an upholsterer is a great choice for people with a strong interest in providing upholstery services for a variety of different reasons. Upholsterers must have a solid understanding of how to apply a variety of materials to many different types of furniture. Manual dexterity, patience, good eye-hand coordination, eye for detail, good coordination and the ability to perform repetitive activity for long time periods are essential characteristics. Upholsterers must have good physical stamina and strength to lift and move heavy furniture. They must also be able to use fabrics in creative ways to create an appealing look. They must be able to effectively work independently as well as part of a team. 

Becoming an Upholsterer Requires Skills & Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming an Upholsterer? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the College Mouse Degree Search tool to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  Beatrice Harrison

Educated at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Beatrice Harrison has extensive professional experience in career counseling, having helped a growing number of job seekers find fulfilling and meaningful careers in a variety of fields and disciplines.

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