One-Year Upholstery Course

2016-02-14 10.58.52

We are very pleased to announce that we will be able to offer a year-long (3 x 12 weeks) upholstery course starting in September 2017.

This course is ideal for those who wish to learn all of the practical skills associated with becoming a professional upholsterer, but do not wish to commit to the academic side of an accreditation. Our focus will be on developing  top quality practical results, so that learners can learn the exacting standards required by professionals.

With opportunities to study for one day per week for 36 weeks, you will be guided by professional upholsterer Louise Richardson.

The course will cover the basics of both traditional and modern processes as required by all professional upholsterers. This reflects the techniques used within the furniture industry but will also allow for an individual’s creative desire to push the conventional boundaries. As one of our tutors sometimes says, ‘Craftspeople use this technique until someone comes up with a better way’.

Our courses are taught from our newly equipped studio close to Southwark and Borough tube, within walking distance of Waterloo and London Bridge. We keep our classes small so that a maximum of 8 students will ensure you benefit from close personal attention during your course.

Course Outline

During your 36 week course you will first learn, then put into practice, the key and advanced processes needed to achieve a skilled level of upholstery. Whatever your current level of experience, age or intentions for the future, we have the necessary knowledge and passion for our craft to see you succeed.

Key processes that will be taught throughout the course will include:

In addition to covering these basic upholstery techniques, we are able to offer experience in constructing classic wood upholstery workshop trestles to support your work safely. These are yours to take home and use for your own upholstery projects.

Health and safety procedures, good practice use of all hand tools and machines is taught throughout. Business acumen in costing materials, pricing work, invoicing and basic online book-keeping will also be covered. 

Practical projects that will be completed during your course:


** Fibre/hair/hessian/linen stitching



Learners will spend a total of 216 hours of learning time during the course. Attendance is recorded and this can be used to verify your time here. We will issue a certificate of completion at the end of the course and will be happy to write references for job applications or for placements onto advanced accredited courses.

Teaching & Learning

Learners will have full access to our well equipped upholstery workshop and the majority of the teaching will be by practical experience on your own projects (listed above).

There will be set exercises to be completed and tutors will help learners evaluate their own work in private and group tutorials throughout the course. Any additional projects the learner takes on will be encouraged. Feedback will be given throughout the course.

Fundamental knowledge will be explained in interactive lectures in the workshop using practical examples where possible. Different basic topics will be explored and learners are encouraged to develop their own creativity and confidence as they progress.

Tutors will encourage, support and arrange informal external visits to museum collections and manufacturing businesses.

Help in creating mood boards and presentation boards will be at hand. You will also be encouraged to develop your design thinking by creating an online Pinterest portfolio

Opportunities to improve drawing skills will occur as we offer technical drawing days throughout the year.

We encourage learners to develop a comprehensive and referenceable folder of notes as a valuable and visible aid to learning, as well as an ongoing portfolio of your own projects.

Entry Requirements

This course is suitable for absolute beginners as well as those who have some previous experience. As much of the learning is transferred verbally, a good knowledge of English is required. We do not have minimum academic qualification requirements.

Career Progression

Learners will be encouraged to attain professional standards in their upholstery and soft furnishing projects, as well as acquiring a background knowledge in a broad range of basic techniques. Final projects can be used to show a high standard if a learner has a desire to continue to onto an accredited higher level.

Students will be encouraged to work independently as they would have to in industry.

Supplementary Learning

In addition to our the core upholstery course, learners have the opportunity to round-off their knowledge by attending other related workshops at a substantial discount.

These workshops run regularly, in the evenings and at weekends, and can be taken at any time during your upholstery course or up to a year afterwards for the same rate.

These complementary workshops will improve your skill levels and abilities in hand-made trims, woodcarving, gilding and basic woodwork, providing you with a very comprehensive grounding in all levels of upholstery and furniture restoration.

Tutor – Louise Richardson

Lou is a fully qualified ‘City & Guilds‘ upholsterer with over 9 years of experience working in the industry here in Britain and Australia. She is an experienced craftswoman with a wide range of skills from traditional to modern techniques. Lou works as a freelance upholsterer for several workshops as well as taking on private commissions.



Course fees per term are £820. Or you can save by booking the entire 36 weeks for £2400. 

Optional supplementary workshops are available at a 50% discount for one-year upholstery course members.

*Furniture Restoration/Upholstery hand caning/Furniture painting techniques/


All basic materials for the projects are included in the cost of the course. Additional materials used on learner’s own chairs will be charged at nominal prices. Legs for the projects can be purchased at cost price.

Start Dates

The course takes places weekly each Wednesdays 10am-1pm / 2pm-5pm. Term dates for the course are 13th September -6th December 2017 (half term 25th October)  10th January-12th March 2018 ( No half term), 18th April -11th July 2018 (half term 30th May )

There will be 8 people on this workshop, so you will have lots of attention and time to ask questions.

For those wishing to take an accreditied course, please consult for a full list of training centres.


Contact the Goodlife Centre today! Call Alison on 0207 760 7613 or email