Furniture restorer

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

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £35,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need a college qualification in furniture, or a foundation degree, HND or degree in art and design, furniture design, furniture restoration, or product design.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You can find more information about careers in conservation on the Institute of Conservation website. 

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • artistic and practical skills
  • a patient and organised approach
  • the ability to pay close attention to detail
  • communication skills, with the ability to explain complex issues to clients
  • customer service skills

3. What you'll do

Your work will range from simple tasks like re-attaching parts that have come away, to completely rebuilding and finishing a piece of furniture, including making missing pieces. 

You may specialise in a particular type or period of furniture.

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • working out the best way to conserve or restore a piece of furniture
  • advising customers on what work is needed and offering quotes
  • sourcing materials needed for a job
  • keeping photographic and written records
  • using techniques like woodturning, veneering and marquetry - designs using small
  • pieces of inlaid wood
  • mixing and applying colours and stains
    gilding, polishing and upholstering items
  • sourcing materials
  • keeping photographic and written records

You’ll need to keep up to date with developments in equipment and techniques. 

As a self-employed restorer, you’ll also have to promote your services and deal with the administration side of running a business.

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000 to £25,000

Experienced: £25,000 to £30,000

Highly Experienced: Up to £35,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Your hours will vary, especially if you’re self-employed.

You’ll usually be based at a workshop, working alone or alongside other restorers. You may do some of your work on clients' sites. 

You may need to travel to clients to collect and deliver furniture.

6. Career path and progression

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

Last updated: 10 October 2016