Only 13,740 people worked as furniture finishers in the United States as of 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a furniture restorer, you'd be among an even more exclusive group, because many finishers work with new furniture. Furniture restorers sand, disassemble, putty and shape old furniture, including antiques, and then stain, stencil or gild it according to their clients' specifications. They also add compounds to preserve the furniture for many years. In this job, you can expect to earn a salary averaging just under $30,000 annually.
Salary and Qualifications
Furniture restorers -- or finishers -- earned average annual salaries of $29,900 as of May 2012, according to the BLS. The middle half earned $27,920 to $35,350 per year. If you were among the top 10 percent in earnings, you'd make over $43,410 annually. To become a furniture restorer, you need at least a high school diploma. Employers may also prefer that you've taken courses in woodworking, wood technology, furniture manufacturing, wood engineering and production management. Training usually takes place on the job and can take up to three years. Other essential requirements for this job are manual dexterity, physical strength and stamina, an attention to detail, and math, mechanical and troubleshooting skills.
Salary by Industry
Furniture restorers' salaries may vary somewhat by industry. They earned some of the highest annual salaries of $34,140 working in home furnishing stores in 2012, reports the BLS. Those in furniture stores made an average of $32,170 per year. If you worked in the personal and household goods repair and maintenance industry, you'd earn $29,880 per year, just $10 below the industry average for all furniture restorers.
Salary by State
In 2012, the top-paying state for furniture restorers was Nebraska, where they earned $38,770 per year, according to BLS data. Those in Washington and New Hampshire also earned comparatively high salaries of $38,700 and $36,590 per year, respectively. If you worked as a furniture restorer in North Carolina or Vermont, you'd earn an average industry salary of $28,950 or $28,260, respectively. Your annual earnings would be slightly less in Mississippi, at $26,310.
The BLS projects an 18-percent increase in jobs for woodworkers, including furniture restorers, through 2020, a bit above average compared to the outlook for all jobs. Employment for those in the restoration industry, such as furniture restorers, should be relatively strong in the next decade. People are more likely to get their furniture repaired when the economy is growing, as they have more disposable income. You stand the best chance of getting a job as a furniture restorer if you take courses in furniture restoration and get experience working as an assistant to a furniture restorer for a year or two.