Upholsterer Kaiwhakapaipai Uhinga Waka

Upholsterers make or repair the springs, padding, linings and covers of furniture.

Upholsterers may do some or all of the following:

  • discuss requirements with customers
  • remove, repair or replace damaged or worn furniture parts
  • draw up patterns or cutting plans
  • cut and sew fabrics to the right size and shape
  • attach springs, padding and covers to furniture frames.

Physical Requirements

Upholsterers need to have steady hands and good hand-eye co-ordination as they work with sharp tools.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for upholsterers includes:

  • work in the furniture industry
  • factory manufacturing work
  • sewing work.

Personal Qualities

Upholsterers need to be:

  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • creative
  • able to work independently and in a team
  • organised, with excellent time management skills
  • good at problem solving
  • good communicators.


Upholsterers need to have knowledge of:

  • upholstery methods and materials
  • furniture styles
  • fabrics, threads and colours
  • sewing and pattern-making skills.



  • usually work regular business hours
  • work in workshops, factories and furniture shops.

Subject Recommendations

No specific secondary education is required for this job. However, maths, construction and mechanical technologies, and design and visual communication to at least Level 2 are useful.

Upholsterers can earn around $44K-$50K per year.

Pay for upholsterers varies depending on experience.

  • Trainee upholsterers usually earn between minimum wage and $50,000 a year.
  • Qualified upholsterers can earn between $50,000 and $62,000.

Source: Competenz and careers.govt.nz research, 2021. 

Upholsterers may progress to set up their own business.

Upholsterers may also specialise in car upholstery.

Years Of Training

There are no specific requirements to become an upholsterer.

However, to become a qualified upholsterer you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Furniture – Upholstery (Level 4). Competenz oversees upholsterer apprenticeships.