Getting one chance to make a great first impression isn’t just an adage, it’s something we’ve seen in action during our half century of helping church leaders make the most of their church building.  However, there are actually four opportunities to make a good first impression with your church design.

Key Area #1: Lobby

The first interior areas of your church building that most guests and attendees see will be your lobby and café (if you have one). The interior design of these welcoming spaces will set the tone for someone’s visit. In fact, it can take as little as two minutes for guests to form an opinion of your church based on what they see in your lobby. Is it well-lit? Does it feel inviting? Are people clearly comfortable and interacting in the space, or are they afraid to sit on the fancy furniture or allow their kids to wander around and touch the elegant lamps on spindly side tables? The tone you set with your interior church design will have a big impact on whether people want to come back to your church building.

Key Area #2: Restrooms

The second area of your church building that should be a priority are your restrooms, especially those closest to the lobby and café. Think about it this way: If you go to a nice restaurant, but their restroom is messy, dirty, dark, or outdated, you’re left with a bad impression of the entire establishment. The same is true for any building. People are going to feel much more comfortable returning to spend time in your church building if your restrooms are clean, bright, and safe to use. These days, that’s especially true in light of COVID-19. It may be well worth the investment to upgrade your interior church design to include touchless fixtures in your busiest restrooms.

Key Area #3: Children’s Area

If you want families to return with their children to your church building, you need to make children’s spaces inviting for them. Parents will feel safer if you’ve clearly given thought to keeping their children secure with check-in desks, well-placed windows, and other security features. Children will want to come back if the interior design of your children’s area includes bright and colorful paint and images, and right-sized furniture and furnishings. Youth will feel welcome if you’ve dedicated space for them in your church building and filled it with cool and comfortable furnishings to make them feel like hanging around.

Key Area #4: Worship Center

The fourth and final important focus area for your interior church design should be your worship center. Attendees will hopefully spend a lot of time in that space, so it should be comfortable (seating, flooring, HVAC system, etc.) and easy to worship in (good lighting and sound systems, sight lines, etc.).

Are you getting the picture? These four key areas of your church design can make or break that important first impression. In our upcoming posts, we’ll focus on each key area in more depth and give you some ideas about prioritizing each key area of your church building. Meanwhile, sign up for our next free i3 webinar, where we’ll share more of our half-century of wisdom on good church building practices.