Each year we review and update the current church design trends around the country. At least one of our free i3 webinars annually covers the topic, because trends do change—as we’ve seen over the half-century in which we’ve worked to support church leaders in designing church buildings that work.

One of the top trends right now is remodeling the church building you have rather than starting from scratch. Since the economic downturn in 2008, more church leaders are asking us for help in remodeling existing structures rather than taking on the significant debt required to finance a new church design.

The most common remodeling needs currently are accessibility upgrades, such as elevators, additions and restroom remodels, and new finishes that bring old spaces up to date. Here are three examples of what’s possible, including some before-and-after photos of each project.

Example 1: The Sanctuary or Worship Center

See in these photos on how we worked with a church in Columbus, Ohio to upgrade their traditional sanctuary without losing that traditional feel. We transformed a dark space by removing the dark wall paneling and a lowered ceiling and brightening both with white paint. We added multiple types of lighting that look more elegant, provide stronger illumination, and evoke a lighter feeling without changing the time-honored character of the worship space.

Example 2: The Church Building Entrance

In this second example, we only added about 800 square feet to this church building, but we completely changed the character of its façade and the impression that it gives to guests. Rather than stating “outdated 1970s church building,” the new entryway and expanded foyer add a welcoming modern feel. The clear glass provides visibility and transparency about what is happening inside the church building, while the steel and stone give people a sense of strength and permanence.

Example 3: The Foyer

Our final example is of the foyer for a 1950s church sanctuary that we remodeled into a youth room in Westerville, Ohio. In this case, white walls couldn’t brighten a space that needed more windows and an updated feel. We replaced the monochromatic carpeting with an appealing flow of carpeting pattern, wood veneer, and metallic accents. Then we replaced many of the square lines and corners with flowing curves and mood lighting that creates a welcoming feel for the young people who now use the old sanctuary as their meeting room.

Hopefully, these before-and-after photos give you a glimpse into what’s possible by remodeling an existing church building. It’s not always necessary to create a completely new church design in order to meet today’s needs. As we frequently tell clients, don’t be too hard on your existing church building. It might be what you need—with a little bit of help!

To learn more about current trends in church design and construction, stay tuned for the next article in this series. We also encourage you to sign up today for the next and final episode in this year’s free i3 webinar series and learn more about what church leaders are doing with church buildings today.