Furniture maker

Job Description:

Furniture makers make or restore furniture like chairs, tables and display cabinets.

Job Category:
Manufacturing & Electronics

What you will do:

You’ll work mainly with wood but you’ll also use metals, plastics and other materials. Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • working from technical drawings
  • cutting and shaping materials with hand and machine tools
  • creating designs for furniture on paper and on computer
  • talking to customers about designs and agreeing prices
  • working out the quantity and type of materials needed
  • assembling items
  • adding parts like brackets, hinges, handles and locks
  • restoring antiques or repairing damaged furniture
  • finishing products with veneers, lacquers or French polish


You’ll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • knowledge of maths
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • the ability to analyse quality or performance
  • creative skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a furniture maker, you’ll generally need to have a strong foundation in practical and artistic skills. While there aren’t specific GCSE subjects that are absolutely required, certain subjects can be beneficial for developing the necessary skills and knowledge. Here are some GCSE subjects that can help prepare you for a career in furniture making:

  1. Design and Technology (D&T): This subject is particularly relevant for aspiring furniture makers. D&T provides you with practical skills, knowledge of materials, and the ability to work with tools and machinery. It often includes coursework projects that involve designing and making items, which can be applied to furniture making.
  2. Art: Art can help you develop your creativity and design skills. Creating art and working with different materials can be valuable for furniture design.
  3. Mathematics: While not directly related to the craft of furniture making, mathematics is important for understanding measurements, dimensions, and calculations when working with materials and building furniture.
  4. Woodworking: If your school offers woodworking as a specific subject, taking it can provide you with hands-on experience and knowledge about working with wood, which is crucial for furniture making.
  5. Business Studies: Understanding basic business principles can be beneficial if you plan to start your own furniture making business or work as a self-employed craftsman.
  6. English: Strong communication skills are essential for understanding and interpreting design plans, communicating with clients, and creating product descriptions or promotional materials.
  7. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Basic computer skills can be helpful for tasks like designing furniture on a computer or managing your business digitally.

Ultimately, your passion for working with wood and your ability to create beautiful and functional pieces of furniture will be the most important factors in building a successful career as a furniture maker.

Post School

There are no set entry requirements.

You could complete a college course in furniture making, carpentry or wood machining, but this isn’t essential.


You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

The following intermediate apprenticeships could lead into this role:

  • Furniture manufacturer
  • Wood product manufacturing operative

You could also complete an advanced apprenticeship like:

  • Advanced furniture CNC technician
  • Bespoke furniture maker
  • New furniture product developer
  • Fitted furniture design technician

If you specialise in coverings, you could take an advanced upholsterer apprenticeship.

Direct Application

You could apply for jobs if you have experience or qualifications in furniture or cabinet making, or carpentry. Employers often value skills and experience over qualifications.

Working Hours and Environment:

Your working hours will depend on whether you’re employed by a company or self-employed.

If you’re working in a factory, you’ll usually work a basic 39-hour week, which could involve shiftwork.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll arrange your own working hours.

You’ll sometimes need to work longer hours and at weekends to meet deadlines.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become a workshop supervisor or quality control inspector.

With further training, you could become a furniture or product designer.

In larger firms, you could move into estimating, buying or training.

You could start your own business and specialise in hand-crafted furniture or restoring antique items.