Overview

Furniture and fabric styles come and go. When it’s time for a change, it’s time to call in a professional. Maybe you’re re-upholstering family heirlooms such as Grandma’s Victorian recliner, breathing new life into tired old fabrics. Or perhaps you are recovering a series of chairs with the same fabric in order to provide your customer with a more unified look in their living room. As an upholsterer, you will remove old tacking and fabric from furniture and replace it with something new and spectacular. You may offer consultation services in which you advise your customers on their design options, or you could simply provide swatch books for your customers to locate their own new threads. You set your own hours and terms. You will always be able to find work if you live in a decent-sized market area and have the skills necessary to build a strong clientele.

What You Will Be Doing

Upholstery is the work of providing furniture, especially seats, with padding, springs, webbing, and fabric or leather covers. The word upholstery comes from the Middle English word upholder,[1] which referred to a tradesman who held up his goods. The term is equally applicable to domestic, automobile, airplane and boat furniture, and can be applied to mattresses, particularly the upper layers, though these often differ significantly in design. A person who works with upholstery is called an upholsterer; an apprentice upholsterer is sometimes called an outsider or trimmer. Traditional upholstery uses materials like coil springs (post-1850), animal hair (horse, hog and cow), coir, straw and hay, hessians, linen scrims, wadding, etc., and is done by hand, building each layer up. In contrast, modern upholsterers employ synthetic materials like dacron and vinyl, serpentine springs, and so on. 

Qualifications Needed 

 

What You Can Earn

 

What You Can Charge

 

Startup Cost

 

What You Need to Succeed

 

Marketing Advice

 

Other Services You Can Offer

 

Equipment Needed

 

Staff Needed

 

Where to Begin

 
 

Books/Magazines/Periodicals

 
 

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Words to Know