Craft & Food Trades

Production upholsterers work in factories and upholster new furniture. They often concentrate on one task, such as padding chair arms.

Craft upholsterers work on new furniture and do re-upholstery. Some upholsterers renovate antique furniture.

Work Activities

Upholsterers attach the padding and soft covers on to furniture, such as sofas, chairs and mattresses. There are two main types of upholsterer: production and craft.

Production upholsterers carry out skilled work in factories or workshops, upholstering new pieces of furniture. They use filling materials, like foam and polyester waddings. They attach the fillings to wooden and metal furniture frames to form padding for seats, backs and arms, as well as using them to stuff cushions.

To fix the upholstery to the frame, upholsterers usually use a hand-held staple gun. Decorative trimmings, such as beading, will be attached with a hot glue gun.

Craft upholsterers are highly skilled and are able to complete the full range of upholstery tasks. They may work on new furniture but also do re-upholstery. This can include repair work. Some craft upholsterers do contract work, for such as upholstering furniture in hotels and bars.

Some upholsterers have quite a lot of customer contact, which would involve giving advice, noting requirements and helping them to select fabrics.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of upholsterers include furniture manufacturers and traditional craft workshops.

Opportunities occur for experienced upholsterers to work independently as self-employed craftworkers.


Entry requirements for Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeships will vary so it is important to check qualification requirements. Typically you will need five GCSEs / National 4/5s at grade C or above, possibly including English and Maths.

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