Furniture Restorer

Job Description:

Furniture restorers repair and conserve modern and antique pieces of furniture.

Job Category:
Manufacturing & Electronics

What you will do:

You could:

  • work out the best way to conserve or restore a piece of furniture
  • advise customers about restoration options
  • estimate prices and give quotes
  • gather the materials needed for a job
  • use techniques like woodturning, veneering and marquetry
  • mix and apply colours and stains
  • gild, polish and upholster items
  • keep photographic and written records of the process


You’ll need:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creativity)
    customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • persistence and determination (drive)
  • the ability to work on your own
  • the ability to organise your time and workload (organisational skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a furniture restorer, you don’t typically need specific GCSE subjects, but a well-rounded education can be beneficial. The skills and knowledge required for furniture restoration are often developed through hands-on training, apprenticeships, or specialized courses. However, the following GCSE subjects and skills can be useful and may provide a strong foundation for a career in furniture restoration:

  1. Art and Design: This subject can help you develop artistic and creative skills that are valuable in furniture restoration. You’ll learn about design principles, color theory, and various art techniques.
  2. Design and Technology: This subject covers aspects of woodworking, materials, and construction techniques. It can provide a practical understanding of the tools and materials used in furniture restoration.
  3. Mathematics: Basic math skills are important in many aspects of furniture restoration, especially when measuring and calculating dimensions.
  4. English: Good communication skills are essential for dealing with clients and writing descriptions or reports about furniture pieces you’ve restored.
  5. History or Antique Studies: These subjects can provide valuable knowledge about different furniture styles, historical periods, and the materials used in different eras, which is helpful when working with antique furniture.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • specialist short courses
  • applying directly


You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • art and design
  • furniture design
  • furniture restoration
  • product design


You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. In the UK, for example, relevant subjects include:

  • Diploma in Furniture Making
  • Diploma in Furniture Finishing Methods
  • Level in Craft and Design

Some colleges and adult education centres run more informal courses in craft and restoration. Courses include topics like repair methods, staining, veneers and French polishing.


Apprenticeships that will give you some of the knowledge and skills needed to do this job include:

  • intermediate furniture manufacturer
  • advanced upholstery
  • advanced bespoke furniture maker

Direct Application

If you have advanced skills from working in upholstery, furniture manufacture or carpentry you may be able to apply direct for jobs.

Other Routes

You can do short courses in woodworking skills and restoration techniques.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 42-44 hours of work. You could be required to work freelance/be self-employed managing your own hours.

You could work in a factory or in a workshop. Your working environment may be dusty. You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

You could set up your own furniture restoration business, carrying out work for organisations and the public, or work as a consultant for museums, auction houses, historical or heritage sites, or antique dealers.