UPHOLSTERERS make, fix, and restore or rebuild furniture that is covered in fabric. They create new upholstered furniture such as couches, armchairs, and dining room chairs, or renew old and worn upholstered furniture, including antique furniture. Upholsterers combine knowledge of fabrics and other materials with artistic flair and manual skill. Some upholsterers repair and replace automobile upholstery and convertible and vinyl tops. Some upholsterers may design or assist designers in creating furniture pieces. Upholsterers may also help customers to select fabrics and give advice and price quotations.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $41,000 average per year ($19.75 per hour)
- A medium occupation (30,200 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (0.7% per year)
Most UPHOLSTERERS learn their skills on the job, but a few learn through apprenticeships. Inexperienced persons also may take training in basic upholstery in vocational schools and some community colleges. It takes about three years of on-the-job training for beginners hired as helpers to an experienced worker to become fully skilled upholsterers. It may take as many as eight to ten years of experience for an upholsterer to reach the top of the trade. Regardless of setting, workers usually begin by performing simple tasks. No special licensing or certification is required for upholsterers.