OFO No: 683401

Other names for Upholsterer:

  • Furniture Upholsterer
  • Mattress Maker
  • Upholsterer and Sail Maker



Youtube clip – All about becoming an Upholsterer

For training options in South Africa – scroll down


What is an Upholsterer?

Upholsterers repair, or replace upholstery for household or commercial furniture, or transportation vehicles. 

They may just cover new or existing pieces of furniture eg chairs and sofas in material or leather or, they may make the frames as well. 

An Upholsterer can also work in the boat-making industry where they are responsible for the upholstery in the cabins etc.

Some Upholsters make soft furnishings like cushions, Roman blinds and other material-décor items as well.

See also under Automotive Trimmer on our website for more information.

What does an Upholsterer do?

  • meets with clients or interior designers to discuss their requirements
  • advises clients on suitable materials, colours and various techniques
  • measures correctly
  • prepares quotations
  • orders materials and supplies
  • measures and draws cutting lines on material following patterns, templates, sketches, or blueprints, using chalk, pencils, paint, or other methods before cutting
  • fits and installs materials onto frames using hand tools, power tools, glue etc
  • stuffs furniture with fibre stuffing, cotton, felt, and/or foam padding to form smooth rounded surfaces
  • examines old furniture frames, upholstery, springs, and webbing to locate defects
  • attaches fasteners eg zips, buttons, buckles, ornamental trim, and other accessories etc
  • restores old furniture
  • prepares invoices, keeping records – and making deliveries

Are you … ?

  • interested in furniture and materials?
  • good with your hands?
  • neat and accurate?
  • a person who takes pride in their work?
  • good with colour and colour combinations?
  • dexterous?
  • fit and strong?
  • mathematically inclined – can work out quotes?
  • able to work well without supervision?
  • creative?
  • detail orientated?

How do I become an Upholsterer?

You may get on-the-job training alongside an experienced Upholsterer but to jump ahead of the rest, you may consider doing a few courses.

Some TVET (FET) colleges may offer programmes for specific Trade or Skills in upholstering. Check your local college to see what they are offering.


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 



  • Apprenticeship
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – Furniture Making: Wood: Upholstery NQF Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – Furniture Production: Upholstery NQF Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • Artisan Internship
  • Trade Test


  • RPL (Recognised Prior Learning) for Artisans: CLICK HERE
  • If you have already been working a long time as an Upholsterer without qualifications, you may be able to get your qualification through RPL
  • Trade Test


Private institutions



Skills Programmes
Short Courses
Learnerships / Apprenticeships – towards the following qualifications at NQF Levels 2 and 3:


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Pattern Maker … or … Milliner

Is becoming an Upholsterer the right career choice for me?