Career Information Hotline

Toll Free 1-800-661-3753

Edmonton 780-422-4266

Guest Account Sign In Sign Up
Occupational Profile

Upholsterer

Upholsterers cover furniture such as sofas and chairs with fabric, leather and other upholstery materials.

  • Avg. Salary $45,722.00
  • Avg. Wage $21.99
  • Minimum Education Less than high school
  • Outlook N/A
NOC & Interest Codes
The Upholsterer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Upholsterers
NOC code: 7341
OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to lay out, cut, fabricate and install upholstery in aircraft, motor vehicles, railway cars, boats and ships; may install, fabricate, maintain and repair interior components of aircraft, such as seats, coverings, drapes, cargo nets, flooring, closets, bins and panels

METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to install padding and underlays and to fasten covering materials to furniture frames

INNOVATIVE

Interest in speaking with customers to discuss upholstery fabric, colour and style; may repair furniture frames and refinish wood surfaces

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Oct 03, 2016

Custom upholsterers usually work in small shops where they make new furniture from standard patterns. They make or, sometimes, rebuild an entire article of furniture and may help customers choose fabrics and styles. Some highly skilled custom upholsters design and produce furniture according to customer specifications.

Production upholsterers work in factories and usually specialize in one area of new furniture production. They work on an assembly line performing one function and pass the furniture on to others to finish.

Re-upholsterers recondition old furniture. In general, they:

  • remove the old cover and padding
  • examine the springing and, if required, replace it with webbing, coil springs or sinuous springs
  • build the chair or sofa up with loose fibre stuffing, cotton, felt or foam padding
  • shape and form the stuffing
  • measure and cut fabric to fit each part of the furniture
  • shape and mark fabric for sewing
  • sew fabric and cushions
  • fit the fabric to the furniture
  • staple or sew the fabric in place.

Re-upholsterers also repair furniture by repairing split seams, replacing broken springs and replacing foam in seat cushions.

Custom upholsterers and re-upholsterers may prepare cost estimates or refinish wood parts of upholstered furniture.

Working Conditions
Updated Oct 03, 2016

Upholstery work requires considerable standing, bending and stooping, and may involve handling pieces of furniture that weigh up to 20 kilograms.

Upholsters use a variety of hand tools including measuring tapes, pneumatic staplers, hammers, scissors and pliers and must be careful to avoid injury. They work indoors in shops or factories that usually are well lighted and clean, although sometimes dusty.

Hours of work vary. Production upholsterers usually work shifts. Custom upholsterers and re-upholsterers who own their own shops may work long, irregular hours to meet customer demands.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Oct 03, 2016

Upholsterers need the following characteristics:

  • excellent manual dexterity and co-ordination
  • good vision
  • strength and endurance
  • motivation
  • problem solving skills.

A flair for colour and the creative use of fabrics is an asset.

Upholsterers should enjoy using tools and machinery to perform tasks requiring precision, having clear guidelines and methods for their work, and dealing with customers.

Educational Requirements
Updated Oct 03, 2016

Most upholsterers are trained on the job. Mastering all of the skills necessary to work independently takes up to 5 years.

Production upholsterers begin on the simpler functions in an assembly line and progress to more complex tasks. Custom upholsterers start with routine tasks such as removing old fabric, padding or springs, and move on to more difficult tasks as they gain experience.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Oct 03, 2016

Most production upholsterers are employed in furniture factories. Some work at home and are paid by the amount of fabric used. Most custom upholsterers are self-employed or work as employees in small shops that employ fewer than five people. Some upholsterers work for furniture stores and businesses such as:

  • hotel chains
  • railways
  • airlines
  • automotive manufacturers.

Experienced upholsterers in large factories may advance to supervisory positions depending on their experience and management ability. Experienced custom upholsterers may open their own shops.

In Alberta, 84% of people employed as upholsterers work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Oct 03, 2016

Inexperienced upholsterers may start at minimum wage. (As of October 1, 2016, the minimum wage in Alberta is $12.20 per hour for most jobs. For more information, see Alberta Employment Standards.) Experienced upholsterers may be paid an hourly wage, on a piecework basis or by the yard or metre, depending on the employer and the kind of work.

The upholstery business is extremely competitive and profits made by self-employed custom upholsterers depend largely on market conditions and their upholstery skills, business skills and reputation.

Upholsterers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6345: Upholsterers. 

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Upholsterers occupational group earned on average from $16.18 to $26.71 an hour. The overall average wage was $21.99 an hour. For more information, see the Upholsterers wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Fashion Studies
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training

Updated Mar 31, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

Was this page useful?
Top