Once again, Jennifer Snider, our interior designer, answers your church remodeling and new building questions.
One question that always arises at some point in the church building process is the following: What type of seating should we use in the worship area?
There are several options available, and in this post Jennifer gives you her opinions about the three main types.
Pews: A Time-Honored Look for Worship Spaces
While we think of pews as the “traditional” choice for churches, in fact, the earliest churches had no seating options at all; worshippers stood instead.
Today, of course, every church building comes with seating of some sort, and pews are the most traditional. This means that if you’re looking for a traditional feel in your worship space, pews might be the answer, as you can see in this illustration from Parma Baptist Church.
Pews might also be the right choice if your church remodeling project involves working with a sloped floor, as was the case with Parma. Lots of older worship spaces have a sloped floor, especially if pews were initially installed in a bigger worship area.
You might find that simply reupholstering existing pews gives you a nice, clean look—but don’t expect it to be less expensive than removing the pews and installing chairs. Reupholstering involves not just new fabric, but also new padding, and of course labor.
Theater Seating: A Variety of Styles for Your Church Building
Another option, if your church remodeling project involves a sloped floor, is theater seating, as you can see here at Grove City Church of the Nazarene.
Because theater seats aren’t movable, they also can be installed on a sloped floor. Advantages to theater seating include a variety of styles and accessories to choose from.
Notice, too, how Grove City also places chairs in front of its theater seating. Such an arrangement allows the church to remove those chairs and have a larger, more flexible area up front to allow flexibility for your ministry.
Chairs: The Ultimate in Flexibility
At Brooke Hills Free Methodist Church, metal worship chairs were installed in the multi-ministry space, as you can see here. This allows Brooke Hills to easily rearrange the space to accommodate different types of activities, such as banquets, breakout sessions, or to remove the chairs completely.
We understand that the goals of many church remodeling projects include increased flexibility and a more modern feel to the worship space. In those cases, chairs are usually the first choice for church leaders.
We do want to note a couple of things in this photo. First, you will see that at the end of some of the rows there are a few chairs with arms. These chairs are helpful for people who need the leverage provided by arms in order to stand and sit.
You may have also noticed that these chairs have fully upholstered backs. Most chair catalogs focus on the front of the chair, but when you walk into a worship space, as this picture shows, it’s the back of the chairs that you’re going to see first. Spending a little extra on upholstered backs gives a nice, clean look to the worship center.
Another more elegant seating option is wood framed chairs, shown here at Archbold Evangelical. While more expensive than metal chairs, they look much nicer, still stack for flexibility and can be a bridge between pews and metal framed chairs. Wood framed chairs work best in places like chapels and sanctuaries where the look of metal chairs just isn’t that appealing.
Watch for More Church Remodeling and Seating Posts
There is a lot to talk about when it comes to seating options for your church remodeling or new building project, so look for more information in future posts. Meanwhile, we suggest that you sign up for our free i3 webinar series to learn more handy tips about church building and renovation projects. Simply visit our website to get involved.