Interior Design

Making Sure a Good First Impression with Your Church Interior Design Lasts

Our blog series on making a good first impression with your church interior design has covered many elements in a church building, ranging from worship space to restrooms. When the design is done, there is still something that will help those great first impressions continue and that is maintaining your significant interior design investment.

Implement Your Church Interior Design Plan Thoughtfully

Once you’ve made the various important decisions about what you will do with walls, flooring, furnishings, and finishes, it’s time to bring the design to fruition. If you’re constructing a new church building, then your construction company will take care of ordering materials and scheduling the installations in the right order. If you’re working on a church remodeling project instead, one where church leaders might be responsible for some of the implementation, then it’s wise to think about the best order in which you want things to happen.

For example, you will most likely want to attend to all wall and ceiling work before you install any new flooring, to prevent any damage to your new flooring during wall painting or installation of stonework or metal accents. You also don’t want to have new furniture delivered until after the church interior design work is done unless you have plenty of safe and climate-controlled storage space for all those boxes.

Remember to Include Maintenance in Your Post-Installation Checklist

Once everything is installed in your church building, the work isn’t really over. A good first impression isn’t a constant, in the sense that floors will get scuffed, carpets spilled on, walls dinged, and furniture scratched over the course of time. For your church building to keep making a good first impression, you need to invest in proper maintenance of all these elements of your church interior design.

Good stewardship requires an investment in your church building, in the form of regular maintenance. Floors need polishing, walls need cleaning and sometimes touch-up paint, while furniture needs mending and sometimes refinishing, especially in youth and children’s areas.

Preserve That First Impression with a Church Building Maintenance Plan

Those are all reasons why we recommend that you have a church building maintenance plan. Especially if you don’t have a dedicated custodial staff, you will need to document proper maintenance for each element of your church interior design and create a plan for routine care to maintain that carefully thought-out good first impression. That way, everyone who participates in keeping your church building in good shape is aiming toward the same goals and maintaining that same church vision for ministry in your community.

All of these tips for making a good first impression were first shared with church leaders during one of our free i3 webinars. We hold these webinars regularly to keep you up to date on the latest and best practices for church design and construction of a new church building. We are currently putting the finishing touches on next year’s webinars, so stay tuned for a new list. Meanwhile, feel free to search our treasure trove of existing articles for ideas and innovations.

2021-11-09T21:07:43+00:00 November 9th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Making a Good First Impression with Small Details in Church Design: Signage

Signs to read are everywhere today. We have traffic signs, safety signs, storefront signs, and all manner of other signs that help us orient ourselves in the world and figure out where we need to go next or what we need to do. The same is true in a church building. When guests arrive for the first time, they are looking for signs to help them orient themselves and figure out where they need to go. When it comes to making a good first impression with your church building, clear, bold signage can go a long way towards helping guests feel welcome and wanted.

Easily Identifying Locations in Your Church Design

As you can see in this photo from Bethany Wesleyan Church, signs can be clear and concise without distracting from the overall church design aesthetic. On the right, you can see that they’ve added a large “Women’s Restroom” sign over the entrance to that space, in addition to the smaller sign that’s required by code. This allows people to see the restroom location from across the room.

In both the Bethany Wesleyan photo and this one from Dayspring Church, you can see that each area is clearly labeled with title and function: Family Life Center, Children, Welcome Center, His Cup Café, Gymnasium. All these signs are high enough to be easily viewed, even if the space is filled with people. As a result, guests can easily navigate your church building without having to ask questions.

Imagine a Guest Wandering Around Your Church Building

Are you wondering what signs you might need to add to your church building? We can become so comfortable with our church design after a while that we are blind to the difficulties guests might encounter. One useful exercise is to walk around your church as if you were a guest who’s never been there before. Imagine what they see and where they might want to go. Could they easily find their way? Would they have to resort to guessing where the children’s center is or which door to use for worship? Where could some signage help people to navigate their way around more easily? Remember, the more you can help your guests navigate your church building through signage, the more comfortable they will become, and the quicker they will start to feel like they’re a part of your congregation and that they belong.

Good Signage Isn’t Just for Directions

Of course, signage isn’t just good for directions—although that’s very important! As you can see in this image from Bridgetown Church of Christ, they took the opportunity to remind everyone—guests and attendees alike—about their church vision for sharing Christ in their community. Opportunities like this to incorporate your vision and your ministry with your space can make for important visuals that people reconnect with every time they enter your church building.

Clearly, signs are extremely helpful elements to make people feel welcome in your church building, and especially useful in making a good first impression. They are also easy to incorporate into your church design, so take that “guest tour” and figure out where your signage could help everyone navigate your church building. We also encourage you to sign up for our next free i3 webinars, which can help you, as church leaders, to navigate the church building process. A new line-up for 2022 will be announced soon.

2021-11-02T20:07:19+00:00 November 2nd, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Furniture Design Decisions Support a Good First Impression for Your Church Building

There are many ways that your church design can make a good first impression on guests. We’ve covered obvious areas like lobbies, cafés, and worship spaces, but the small details matter too. Here’s a closer look at how the furniture in your church building helps make a good first impression.

Flexibility is Key in Your Church Design

We frequently stress the importance of flexibility in your church design. For example, multi-ministry spaces can support your church vision for ministry, but flexibility on a smaller scale matters too. For example, in this first photo from Archbold Church, you can see two seating areas for people to congregate, with four chairs around a center set of ottomans. These ottomans can be pulled apart to create additional seats, which makes it easy for a group of four to become a group of six or eight. If they had placed the traditional coffee tables in the center of each grouping, they wouldn’t have that flexibility.

Installing Attractive Table Options in Your Church Building Café

These next two photos are examples of how flexibility can be inviting in a church building café setting. For younger folks on the move, a higher table frequently feels inviting. Sometimes people can have a conversation without even sitting down—and in fact, some churches choose not to provide stools at all with smaller high-top tables. On the other hand, older or shorter people might appreciate having an opportunity to sit down at the standard height tables pictured here at the Archbold Café.

Another important element of flexibility comes with square and rectangular tables, which can be easily pulled together to accommodate a larger group of six or eight people, while not leaving anyone feeling left out or unable to easily place their beverage and snack on a table.

In this image from the Bethany Wesleyan café, there are high tables in the back and lower tables in the front, creating a pleasing visual scenario where all tables are easily visible, and friends can be quickly located. The metal chairs in this café were also intentionally chosen to fit in with their church vision for ministry in their community.

Creating a Living Room Feel in Your Church Building

In contrast with the sleek metallic look at Bethany Wesleyan, the church leaders at Berachah Baptist Church wanted to create a very homey feel for their café. To support the welcoming sense of having a comfortable space to hang out in, they included a living-room-style area off the café in their church design. This “extra” space is in keeping with their church vision of helping guests feel at home in their church building.

Notice that even the smallest details of church design can help create a good first impression for guests. In our next post, we will address another important smaller detail: signage. All these good tips come from our free i3 webinars, which we share each year to help church leaders like you to stay up to date with important church design considerations. Stay tuned for next year’s lineup and keep reading our blog for more helpful tips.

2021-10-26T22:57:26+00:00 October 26th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Making a First Impression Right Down to the Walls in a Church Design

Making a good first impression with your church building also goes beyond the key areas we’ve discussed in recent blogs. Small details can make a good first impression with guests too. For example, here are some ideas for incorporating different wall coverings into your church design.

The Pros and Cons of Vinyl Wall Coverings

Obviously, paint is the most common wall finish—and we’ll cover that in a moment. But you could also consider vinyl wall covering, especially in children’s areas. You can see the theme created at Archbold Evangelical in the children’s corridor with printed vinyl wall covering. There are some considerations with vinyl, however. It will protect your walls, which is helpful. But it costs more than paint, and it is more expensive to replace. This means you’ll have to think about the cost you could incur down the road in replacing the vinyl or repairing the walls once the vinyl wallpaper is removed, so you can replace with paint.

Using Paint Colors to Make a Good First Impression in Your Church Building

Paint color schemes are often used to draw attention to certain areas of your church design. In this first image from the Dayspring Church café, you can see how the warm orange color draws your eye to the café itself with accents colors to create more interest. In this second photo from Dayspring, it’s clear that they’ve tied the two spaces together by using orange again for one of the walls in the fireside room.

In this third image, from Blue Grass Church, they’ve used paint to set off an alcove as if it were an entirely separate room. The photos in this image tell the story of the church’s history. This makes the alcove serve as part of their church vision for ministry—set aside just through the smart use of paint colors.

Incorporating Stone and Metal into Your Church Design

Finally, in this image from Grace Gathering, you see the use of natural elements like stone to create an accent area in a large room. There’s also a stone fireplace in the second Dayspring image above. In both cases, that natural element helps people feel connected and calm, which is helpful in getting guests to feel more comfortable in your church building.

Notice also in this Grace Gathering space that the top segment of the wall is covered with corrugated metal. You might think that would make a large room louder, but it’s an acoustic feature that is perforated, so it doesn’t cause an increase in sound levels. Instead, the metal allows the sound to go through it to be absorbed in the acoustic material behind it.

A few wall covering decisions can make a big difference in how a space appears to guests who are visiting your church building for the first time. Thoughtful incorporation of different types of wall coverings into your church design can enhance your church vision for ministry and makes a good first impression on guests. To learn more about how other aspects of church design can make a big difference, check out our free i3 webinar series.

2021-10-19T22:29:32+00:00 October 19th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Making the Right First Impression with Worship Space in Your Church Building

We’ve been focusing on the various areas of your church design that matter when making a good first impression. We started with some logical areas, like the lobby and café, then reminded you about the importance of restrooms. Now we’re turning our attention to the space in your church building that is definitely very important: your worship space.

First Church Design Question: Multi-ministry or Dedicated Worship Space?

Before we start diving into details, it’s important to determine whether you intend your worship center to be a multi-ministry space or dedicated only to worship. That will determine the finishes you will use for the space. For example, in this first photo, from Wayne Street Methodist Church, you can easily see that they have a traditional church vision. Guests’ first impression makes that clear with the use of pews and stained-glass windows, which were brought over from their prior church building.

In contrast, this photo, of Crossview Church, shows a multi-ministry space. You can see that there’s a transition in the carpeting, from the carpet that’s also in the lobby, to a lighter, but more practical, multi-use carpeting that allows them to use this space for athletics during the week. (If you look up at the ceiling, you can see the retracted basketball goal.)

Making a Good First Impression with Different Seating Selections

You might also notice that the chairs in the Crossview Church building have finished upholstery on the backs, which makes a better first impression than seeing hardware on the back of every chair. Other seating options include the color variations in this photo from the worship center at Cypress Wesleyan. The psychology behind this seemingly random selection of two colors is that it helps to break up a long row of chairs, making it and more inviting to the eyes of both guests and attendees.

Another option is theater-style fixed seating, as you can see in this image from First Church of God in Columbus. These theater style chairs are bolted to the floor and were chosen for their comfort and ease of use. In contrast with pews (the fixed seating option used by Wayne Street Church above), the armrests make it easier for older people to get in and out of the seats, while also breaking up the sense of a long row. Fully upholstered seats are also more comfortable than padded pews. Church leaders at First Church of God did choose to have movable upholstered chairs in the back half of this worship space, giving them a mix of fixed and movable seating for increased flexibility.

Other Finishing Options in Your Church Building

Beyond chairs and carpeting, notice the stone wall behind the platform in the First Church of God photo. It naturally draws the eye to the front of the church building space. To the left is another area of stone, behind the baptistry, which is one way to make an elegant first impression while also emphasizing the importance of baptism for people who worship in your church building.

There are many elements to making a good first impression with the worship space in your church building. Usually, these finishes are chosen with an eye toward supporting your church vision for ministry in your community. To learn more about all that we take into consideration when working on your church design, sign up for our next free i3 webinar.

2021-10-12T19:50:00+00:00 October 12th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Don’t Forget the Restrooms on Your Church Building “Good First Impressions” Checklist

Some spaces in your church design may seem obvious for making a good first impression, such as the carpet tile in your lobby. There are other interior spaces you might overlook that still impact first impressions. One such place is restrooms. 

Putting Cleanliness Front and Center in Your Church Design

When guests visit a church building and enter the restroom, they want a place that feels clean and safe to use. This is even more true with the pandemic. All of us have become more aware of the importance of a clean look, and fortunately you don’t have to break the bank to get it.

As you can see in this photo from Dayspring Wesleyan, neutral walls, laminate countertops, and bright lighting help the restroom look clean and neat. The flooring looks like stone, but it’s actually luxury vinyl tile (LVT), which is more affordable than porcelain tile, but still easy to keep clean.

One important element of cleanliness is to avoid clutter. It can be tempting to add décor in an effort to make a restroom look homey, but that might not align with your church vision for ministry—for example, if you wish to attract younger families. In this image from Garfield Memorial, you can see that they’ve chosen a bold color, but kept the look clean with minimalist photographic artwork.

Garfield Memorial also invested in porcelain tile for the flooring, which is a common choice for the main or primary restrooms in a church building because of its durability. You can also see that they’ve included white tile around the sinks to provide some wall protection in that area.

Additional Options for the Restrooms of Your Church Building

Here are two final photographs of potential finishes for your church building restrooms. Summit Church chose to go with flooring in a woodgrain pattern, while also adding tile around the sinks.

Finally, Bluegrass United Methodist Church chose to invest in a very classy look, with porcelain floor tiles, decorative porcelain tiles all the way up the walls, and glass insets to add shine and sparkle. The countertops are also upgraded to granite, which helps create an overall feel of elegance that’s in line with their church vision for ministry to their community.

As these very different examples demonstrate, the primary restrooms in your church building can give a variety of first impressions. You don’t always have to break the bank and invest in the top of the line (quartz and solid-surface countertops are also classy and durable), but it’s important to remember that the restroom is a critical part of giving a first impression for your church design.

These images come from one of our recent free i3 webinars, where we discussed the importance of making a good first impression in many areas of your church design. To get the big picture and think holistically about the message your church building gives to guests, we invite you to sign up for each of our i3 webinars.

2021-10-05T20:20:12+00:00 October 5th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Making a Good First Impression with Flooring in Your Church Building Café

Not every church has one, but for those that do, the café of your church building can be one of the most important places to make a good first impression. However, with all the food and drink being served, it’s reasonable for church leaders to worry about spills and stains ruining that first impression. It’s why good flooring matters in café areas. Here is some flooring wisdom that will also translate to any high-traffic areas where spills could happen.

Considering Luxury Vinyl Tile

One of the most popular and flexible flooring options for your church building today is luxury vinyl tile (LVT). This vinyl product is made with three layers.  The center layer is a printed image that gives a highly realistic look of visuals.  The most common are wood and stone in an abundance of colors that fit any church vision or decorating style.  It’s also an excellent choice from a budgetary standpoint. While it may cost less than porcelain tile (which we’ll address below), many restaurants and retail settings use LVT to create an excellent first impression.

With LVT, spills are easy to clean up and there is no grout to discolor or stain. Walking on LVT is quieter than porcelain tile or stone, yet it can mimic the same colors and effects. Our one cautionary reminder is that LVT is vinyl, so it is softer than porcelain or stone, and can be gouged if someone drags a chair (without glides or other flooring protection) across the floor.

LVT Examples for Your Church Building

Here we have two LVT examples which show some of the range available in these tiles. This first image, of the café in Belmont Church, shows the woodgrain look that’s very popular in LVT, installed in “planks” that enhance the impression of wood flooring. In this second image, of the Berachah Church café, shows how LVT with a stone pattern could look in your church design.

Porcelain Tile and Polished Concrete Options for Your Church Design

If you do want to go with a more traditional tile look, porcelain tile is a durable and elegant way to make a good first impression with your café flooring. As you can see in this image from the Global Café at Bethany Church, we combined two related colors of tiles to provide some visual variety in this large open space. This adds interest to the floor and helps to create a welcoming space.

Finally, polished concrete is another budget-friendly way to create a sleek first impression, Color can be added to create even more interest.  Although is it a hard surface, it can be subject to stains, so it is important that spills be cleaned up.  We have also found it to be a popular option for youth spaces, which tend to get some hard use over time. 

In these examples, making a good impression balances the durability and design of materials to meet the needs of the space. With your church building café or other fellowship areas, it’s important to use flooring that will be attractive and resilient, making cleanup easy and straight forward maintenance. Stay tuned to learn more about other ways to make a good first impression with your church building in our next post. While you wait, sign up for our next free i3 webinar, where we keep you up to date with all the latest in every church design element, from floor to ceiling, inside and out.

2021-09-28T19:52:09+00:00 September 28th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Make a Good First Impression with Carpet Tile in Your Church Building Lobby

Your church building should be an effective tool for ministry in your community. It’s one reason why The McKnight Group shares our decades of church design wisdom in free i3 webinars every year, and why we post these articles. In this series, we’ve been looking at how your church building can make a good first impression. One way is to pay attention to the flooring under guests’ feet.

Understanding Carpet Tile

A type of floor covering that’s become increasingly popular in recent years is carpet tile. It was originally created as a solution for large office spaces that needed to quickly be able to replace carpet. Over time, however, manufacturers have embraced this product and developed many different patterns, styles, and installation methods.

The Types and Advantages of Carpet Tile for Your Church Design

There are different types of commercial grade carpet tile, and it’s important to understand that not all will hold up to the heavy traffic of your church building lobby. “Tenant improvement” carpet tiles may be less expensive, but they’re designed to last just five years, which is the average lifespan for a business office lease. Good stewardship includes making wise decisions on the quality of your flooring in such important areas of your church design. For this reason, while you don’t have to go with the top of the line, you do need to invest in carpet tile that will withstand many feet over many years.

One obvious advantage of carpet tile is that it’s installed in pieces. This means it’s easy to replace just one or two tiles if they get badly damaged, without having to reinstall an entire lobby’s worth of broadloom carpet. Carpet tiles also stand up better to spills because they have a vinyl backing which keeps liquids from getting underneath the carpet and damaging adhesives or causing buckling. Keeping spills on the surface level also makes for easier cleaning.

Church Building Lobby Examples of Carpet Tile

Here are three images of carpet tile in church building lobbies. In the first, at Bridgetown, you can see how the tiles form a pleasing overall pattern that isn’t clearly tile-based. Guests and attendees may notice the pattern, but they’re not likely to be focused on individual tiles or left wondering how the flooring was installed. This second photo is from Summit Church. Here, your mind might think there’s a plank style of pattern in the carpet, but they aren’t likely to realize that it’s composed of 24”x24” tiles. In this final image, from Fearless Church in Centerville, Ohio, we have another carpet tile pattern that is meant to appear less rustic, which supports their church vision for ministry in their community.

These examples demonstrate how carpet tiles that may not consciously be noticed can still make a good first impression. In this case, carpet tiles also make for easier cleaning and spot replacement, which is good stewardship of the resources you’ve invested in your church building. Carpet tile now comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Square tiles may be 18”x18” or 24”x24”.  Planks could be 9”x36” or 18”x39”.  You can even find hexagon shaped carpet tile.

To learn more about how to develop the best church design for your ministry needs, sign up for each of our forthcoming free i3 webinars.

2021-09-21T17:14:49+00:00 September 21st, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Bright Options for Children’s Interior Design in Your Church Building

Usually we know it immediately when we enter the children’s space in a church building. The colors are vibrant, the themes are bright and energetic, and the furnishings are designed to be attractive to children. For children’s areas to be both fun and successful, it’s important to understand what’s possible, and within your budget, with interior design for children’s spaces in your church building. It’s also important to appreciate how a church design that includes attractive children’s spaces will draw families to your church building.

An Interior Design with Bold Colors Sends a Bright Message

If families with young children are searching for a church home, parents will want to know that you are investing in children’s ministry. One easy and relatively inexpensive way to do this is to decorate the walls of the children’s area in your church building with bold colors.

As you can see in this image from Evangelical United Methodist Church in Greenville, Ohio, you don’t want to be afraid to use color. While the colors in the worship space of your church building will be muted in order to focus attention on the message of Christ, children are drawn to bright colors. The use of color here draws children in and tells their families that you are investing in the next generation. Even the furnishings echo those bright colors and create a welcoming theme with little additional investment.

Another advantage of this simple, but clear, use of color in your interior design is that it’s just paint, so it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to repair or update. This means that if your budget is limited, you can still create and maintain an inviting children’s area in your church building.

Improving Your Children’s Area Church Design by Stages

If you’ve got a little more money to work with, you can set the basic point for your children’s area and improve it in stages over time. Here at Blue Grass United Methodist Church in Evanston, Indiana, we began with a simple paint job of blue sky and green grass. The clouds, tree, and children in the scene are graphics applied to these walls. In this way, you can get started on a theme with a limited budget, then add additional graphics over time. With a basic wood-look floor and cheery outdoor scene, children and their parents are drawn in toward the check-in station, then to the brightly colored classroom doors.

Making Your Church Building a Magnet for Children

If you can make a more major investment in the interior design of your children’s spaces, consider floor-to-ceiling wall graphics. As you can see in this photo from Crossview Church in Grabill, Indiana, there are bold and engaging graphics available with biblical themes. In this interior design, you can see toward the rear of the image that we also integrated flooring with a water-like appearance and a check-in desk fashioned like a ship. With a holistic view toward children’s church design, you can make a bold statement to all guests that children’s ministry is an integral part of your church vision.

Whether it’s a bold and fun space with color, a wall-graphic based theme, or a more dramatic theme for the entire children’s area with 3-dimensional elements, interior design for your children’s space should clearly fit in with your vision of ministry with children. To learn more about other aspects of interior design and your church building, sign up today for our free i3 webinars.

2020-08-25T19:37:50+00:00 August 25th, 2020|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

How Much Should Your Church Building Interior Design Feel Like Home?

It’s important to make your new or remodeled church building feel welcoming and for it to create a great first impression. We associate home with welcoming and comfortable.  While having a homey feel to the interior design of your church building may be a great idea, home looks different to everyone.  The key is to create a space that makes people feel welcome, comfortable, and safe. A space that is hospitable and friendly. To accomplish that goal, you may consider design elements that feel like home, using materials that are found in many homes though is not a good idea. Even the most home-like church interior still needs an interior design with commercial grade finishes and furnishings.

Why Your Church Building Needs Commercial Grade Furnishings

For a number of reasons, it’s not wise to install residential finishes and furnishings in your church building. First, while your church building may feel like home, it comes under the codes and requirements for commercial spaces, rather than residential building codes. This means that many types of flooring and furniture that you might use in your home cannot be used in your church. Commercial grade products have different fire code ratings, for example, which make them required for church interior design applications.

Other reasons you need commercial grade finishes in your church building relates to good stewardship. You get what you pay for, to a great extent. Commercial grade interior design furnishings may cost a little more, but they will also last longer, especially since you will have a large number of people using your church building every week. Good quality commercial grade finishes will also be easier to maintain.

Getting Inspiration from Interior Design Site Observations

So how do you make your church interior design feel welcoming, but still use commercial grade products? We strongly suggest that you make site visits to other church buildings in your area, along with other welcoming professional spaces such as real estate offices, restaurants, and retail outlets.

The idea with these site visits is to get a sense of what people in your community are accustomed to, in terms of interior design. These are all places that locals are visiting. Therefore, if they see other spaces—like your church building—that look similar, they will feel at home. We suggest taking pictures of interior design elements that you like. This will help you convey those images to other members of your team.  It will also allow you to compare ideas and images to help come up with a design plan that fits your community but is also unique to your church and ministry.

One more important element to your site observations is the question of your church vision for ministry in your community. Will these interior design elements fit with your vision for your new or remodeled church building? Will these finishes and furnishings fit with the vision you’re trying to achieve, to bring people to Christ?

Is Now a Time to Involve Professionals?

As you are gathering images and ideas for your church building, it’s also a good time to ask the question of whether you could benefit from the expertise of a professional. Such experienced leaders can guide you in the process of integrating your ideas into a cohesive whole that will indeed welcome to your guests.

One good way to experience more site observations is to sign up for our free i3 webinars. With each webinar, you get to see more of the interior design of church buildings that we have worked on. These glimpses could give you even more ideas to incorporate into the interior design of your own church building.

2020-07-28T18:43:17+00:00 July 28th, 2020|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|