Upholstery Apprenticeship

Upholstery Apprenticeship

As a furniture upholsterer, you will be in charge of all aspects of upholstery for various things. An upholsterer covers the furniture framework with padding and fabric or leather to create beds, mattresses, chairs, couches, cars, buses, and train seats.

The duties of a furniture upholsterer vary depending on whether you manufacture new furniture or restore existing furniture, the products manufactured, and the materials used.


Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:

  • plan work, advise on fabrics and estimate costs
  • prepare patterns and templates
  • cut fabric to correct measurements
  • fix webbing and springs
  • cover furniture frames with padding and fabric, using stitching, staples, tacks or glue
  • make soft furnishings like cushions
  • add trimmings like piping, fringing and buttons
  • remove old upholstery and repair frames before re-upholstering.


  • Starting salaries for an apprentice is £15,000 per year.
  • Experienced upholsterers can earn up to £30,000 per year.

Working hours

You will typically work 43 to 45 hours per week. You could also work freelance or self employed meaning you will be managing your own time.

Working environment

You could work in a workshop, in a factory, at a client’s business or at a client’s home.

Your working environment may be physically demanding.


Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice upholsterer include:

  • Level 3 UpholstererEntry requirements for this level include 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship.

These typically take 24 months to complete as a mix of learning in the workplace and off-the-job study.


On a upholstery apprenticeship, you’ll learn:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.

Career path and progression

You can advance to a supervisory or managerial position with time and experience.

You may specialise in reupholstering antique furniture or interior design.

You may go into business for yourself and establish your own upholstery firm.

Updated on November 29, 2022

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