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How to Become an Upholsterer

There are no postsecondary education requirements to work as an upholsterer. Most workers have a high school diploma and are trained informally on the job. Some take classes to learn how to sew and upholster furniture.


Generally, employers do not have any postsecondary education requirements for upholsterers. Some upholsterers take classes to learn how to sew and upholsterer furniture, but there are few formal programs to teach someone how to become an upholsterer.


Those interested in becoming an upholsterer are often trained while working in an upholstery shop. Some are trained through apprenticeships, where they are hired by an upholsterer and get training to develop their skills. However, formal apprenticeships are difficult to find.

Most who are interested in becoming an upholsterer find employment working with an upholsterer and are trained informally on the job. Others teach themselves by taking furniture apart to learn how it is made and what appears to be needed to replace the fabric, padding, and broken springs.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Upholsterers should be able to help customers choose and use fabrics to match the design style they are trying to achieve with their furniture. Upholsterers must have a good eye for color and pattern to help customers fit the newly upholstered furniture with the rest of their décor.

Customer-service skills. Upholsterers need to meet customers’ requirements while managing customer expectations.

Detail oriented. Upholsterers need to take careful measurements to avoid wasting fabric and to do a neat and accurate job. Paying attention to details is essential to their work.

Problem-solving skills. Every piece of furniture and every upholstery job is different. Upholsterers need to use creativity to solve problems and to determine the best way to approach each job.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition