Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


Five year job forecast


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

What's it like?

You would add padding and soft covers to furniture to make it more appealing and comfortable. You would work with materials such as leather, suede or cotton.

You could be involved in:

  • Factory work, upholstering complete items or particular parts like chair or sofa arms
  • Craft work on individual pieces of new furniture or re-upholstery of old or antique furniture

You would:

  • Plan the work, advise on fabrics and estimate costs
  • Prepare patterns and templates
  • Cut out fabric
  • Fix webbing and springs
  • Cover frames with padding and fabric using stitching, staples, tacks or glue
  • Make cushions
  • Add trimmings such as piping, fringing and buttons
  • Remove old upholstery and mend the frame before re-upholstering

It would be important to follow health and safety rules at all times. 

Working conditions


In a factory or workshop, you would usually work a 39-hour week, possibly on a shift system. If you are self-employed, your hours would depend on how much work you have.


You would work in a factory or workshop. If self-employed, you might also visit clients' homes. Your work could be physically demanding, involving lifting and carrying furniture. You may not find this work suitable if you have certain allergies.


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

UK employment status





Self employed


Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Taking initiative
  • Managing resources
  • Concentrating
  • Attention to detail
  • Cooperating
  • Observation
  • Creative
  • Problem solving

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role though most employers value a good general education.

For a Modern Apprenticeship some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5. 

It may also be helpful to complete a furniture or craft-centred course, such as:

  • the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers training (short course)
  • or a National Certificate in Furniture Craft
  • or a Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) in Furniture Craftsmanship or Restoration

To enter a National Certificate (SCQF level 2-6) requires at least three National 4 qualifications.

To enter a Higher National Diploma course (SCQF Level 8) requires National 5 qualifications and one to two Highers or a relevant NC. 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Design and manufacture
  • Art and design
  • Fashion and textile technologies
  • Practical technologies

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show practical skills, industry knowledge such as Skills for Work Construction Crafts (SCQF level 4/5) or Creative Industries (SCQF level 5).