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

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £12,000 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 38 to 42 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements.

You could take a college course in furnishings and furniture making and design, but this isn't essential.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

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

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • maths skills
  • practical skills

3. What you'll do

You'll pad and cover furniture, like chairs, bedheads and sofas.

Your job could involve:

  • factory work, upholstering complete items or particular parts like chair or sofa arms
  • craft work on individual pieces of new furniture or renovation of old or antique furniture

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

4. Salary

Starter: £12,000 (trainee)

Experienced: £18,000 to £25,000

You'll set your own rates if self-employed

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work around 39 hours a week in a factory or workshop.

You'll set your own hours if self-employed.

As a self-employed upholsterer, you'll visit clients' homes to give estimates, and collect and deliver furniture.

The job can be physically demanding, involving lifting and carrying furniture.

You may not find this work suitable if you have certain allergies.

6. Career path and progression

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

You could become self-employed.

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Last updated: 13 April 2017

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