Traditional upholstery is a craft that dates back hundreds of years, it is the applied method for furniture from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Furniture with traditional upholstery are generally made from organic and natural materials like grasses, coir, animal hair, hessian, scrim, etc.

These materials are manipulated over a solid wood or webbed platform often with double cone springs lashed together to create the upholstery padding. The covering is manually stitched using blind or top stitching techniques and tin tacks, usually being finished with braid, gimp or decorative upholstery nails.

Modern upholstery came into being after mass production techniques were evolved and is typically suitable for furniture that was made after the Second World War e.g. mid-century modern pieces. Typically modern upholstery relies on the use of foam for stuffing with glues and staples for fixings.