Careers & Opportunities

Duties and Responsibilities of an Upholsterers

Upholsterers: As an upholsterer, your job is to replace or repair padded coverings and cushions on furniture. You’ll need to understand all aspects of upholstery work to be successful in this role.

You’ll need to be well-versed in different fabrics, fibers, and textiles used for upholstery like cotton, linen, wool, silk, rayon, and durable synthetic blends. Know how to identify them, their characteristics, and proper uses. Understand pattern repeats, grainlines, and calculating yardage for different furniture pieces.

You must understand the construction of sofas, chairs, headboards, and other upholstered goods. This includes knowledge of springs, webbing, and different kinds of padding like cotton, polyester fiberfill, foam, down and feather. Be able to assess and repair damaged frames or add additional support. Know how to tie springs securely and apply webbing and padding evenly for comfort and durability.

Master the tools and skills of the trade like using a pneumatic staple gun, tack hammer, shears, sewers, steamers and cutting knives. Know how to properly install zippers, buttons, and trim. Understand sewing techniques like slipcovers, box cushions, piped edges and tight backs. Know how to securely attach new fabric and padding to furniture frames for a professional finish.

Strong communication and customer service skills are essential. Meet with clients, understand their needs, and propose upholstery solutions to match their tastes and budget. Provide estimates, samples, and final invoices detailing all work and materials. Explain options and processes to help customers make the best choice for their furniture. Build rapport and a loyal clientele through high quality work and great service.

The role of an upholsterer is multi-faceted but rewarding. With the right knowledge and skills, you can revive and restore furniture to like-new condition, giving it a second life and many more years of use. Your expertise and craftsmanship will be appreciated by customers who value quality and service.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

Duties and Responsibilities of an Upholsterers

As an upholsterer, your main duties revolve around repairing and replacing upholstery on various items of furniture like couches, chairs, cushions, and vehicle seats. You’ll handle all parts of the upholstering process from removing old fabric and padding to installing new coverings.

  • Remove existing upholstery and padding: First, you’ll remove the previous fabric, batting, springs, and padding down to the frame. This may involve stripping staples, tacks, and nails to fully clear the surface.
  • Inspect and repair the frame: Once uncovered, inspect the frame for any damage or weak spots and repair or reinforce as needed. A sturdy frame is essential for professional results.
  • Add padding and batting: Apply new padding like cotton or polyester batting over the frame to provide cushioning. Then add foam, cotton, or batting for extra softness and support.
  • Secure the new covering: Stretch the new fabric over the padding and frame, securing in place with a staple gun, heavy-duty staples, tacks, or upholstery nails. Pull tight for a smooth surface with no wrinkles, folds or puckers.
  • Add trim and skirting: Apply matching or complementary trim, piping or skirting around the edges to finish it off in a neat and professional manner.
  • Final check: Do a final check of your work to ensure the upholstery is tight, evenly attached, and free of any mistakes before considering the job complete.

With the proper skills and techniques, upholstering furniture can be a rewarding job. If you pay close attention to detail, work efficiently, and aim to provide high quality results, you’ll excel as an upholsterer. The key is taking pride in transforming worn out or damaged pieces into furnishings that look brand new again.

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What does an upholsterer do?

An upholsterer, also known as an upholsterer or upholstery fabricator, repairs and replaces upholstered fabrics, cushions, springs, and padding in vehicles, furniture, and other furnishings. Their duties include:

  • Removing worn or damaged upholstery, padding, springs and webbing
  • Measuring, cutting, and installing new upholstery materials
  • Sewing upholstery sections together and affixing them to the furniture frame
  • Installing padding, springs, and webbing to provide shape and support
  • Ensuring the newly upholstered item is attractive, durable and comfortable

Do I need any special training or certification?

While upholsterers typically learn on the job through informal training, many complete apprenticeship programs, vocational school courses, or earn certifications to demonstrate their skills. Some upholsterers become certified through the National Upholstery Association. Certification requires passing an exam to demonstrate knowledge of tools, equipment, fabrics, and techniques.

What kinds of hours do upholsterers work?

Most upholsterers work full time. Schedules often include weekends and evenings to meet customer needs. Self-employed upholsterers may have more flexibility in setting their hours. During busy periods, overtime may be required to complete jobs on schedule.

How much do upholsterers earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for upholsterers in the US is around $33,000 per year. Actual wages depend on factors like:

  • Location – Wages tend to be higher in metropolitan and suburban areas.
  • Experience – More experienced upholsterers, especially those with certifications, can earn up to $50,000 annually.
  • Type of Employer – Self-employed upholsterers may earn more than those working for furniture stores or upholstery shops.

What are the job prospects for upholsterers?

Employment of upholsterers is projected to decline over the next decade due to automation and overseas manufacturing. However, opportunities may emerge for highly skilled upholsterers, especially those with certifications and experience in custom or high-end upholstery. Self-employment is also an option for experienced upholsterers looking for more job security.

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