How Do You Choose Between Church Flexible and Fixed Seating?

The interior of a church with both chairs and pews.

When your church or synagogue furniture is nearing the end of its life, or you’re opening a new house of worship, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is your seating options. The traditional answer of straight or curved pews provides comfortable sitting places encouraging fellowship. On the other hand, some contemporary congregations are using stackable church chairs instead to make use of a multi-purpose space. But how do you know which is the better option for your place?

Church fixed seating, like pews or theater-style seats, may be right if you want to invoke a more traditional spirit to your worship services or wish to encourage fellowship. Still, flexible seating also has its merits. As your church furniture experts, we’ll help you look at the differences between the two and some of the benefits so that you can make an informed decision on your worship seating. Then, when you’re ready to start the design process, get in touch with one of our reps!

What Is Fixed Seating?

Fixed seating is a type of church or synagogue furniture that has backrests and is anchored to the floor, always keeping it in the same place. It usually comes in a straight pew bench, radius curved pew, or combination seating. Pews are a more traditional type of church fixed seating, while combination seating is more contemporary. However, they all allow your congregants to have a safe, comfortable place to hear a sermon and worship their Creator.

If you choose fixed seating from us, our crews will install your pews or theater-style seating with precision and expertise. We’ll properly anchor your furniture to the floor using CAD drawings and specific measurements as a guide. Holes are drilled into your flooring, and special hardware anchors your fixed seating to the floor. A cover plate is then installed to conceal and protect the hardware.

What Is Flexible Seating?

Flexible seating is a type of church or synagogue furniture used for seating during worship or other services but can also be moved out of the way for a multi-purpose room. Flexible seating typically comes in the form of stackable church chairs. They can come in many different styles and configurations, such as double or triple length, and can even be interlocked to maintain chair alignment.

Flexible-style seating allows churches and synagogues to move them at any time so that the space can be used for other purposes besides worship services. However, this type of church seating may not be best for some churches or synagogues. First, you must check with your local building codes before choosing flexible seating. Some places require seats in public places to be fixed. Second, you’ll also want to consider the floor of the room you’re furnishing. If it’s sloped, it won’t work well with stackable chairs.

Why Are Some Churches and Synagogues Using Chairs Instead of Pews?

Flexible seating like chairs allows churches to use one space for many purposes. For example, perhaps on Saturdays or Sundays, the chairs are set in rows for worship services. But, they are stacked away during the week, so the space can be used for childcare or youth activities. Or maybe the space is transformed into a wedding venue, with the ceremony and reception held in the same place. It makes more sense to have flexible seating arrangements in cases like these.

Some churches and synagogues may also think that using movable pews or church chairs makes them a little more contemporary and modern so that they can try different seating options and arrangements. However, many people still prefer the timeless tradition of church fixed seating.

What Makes Church Fixed Seating Better?

Church fixed seating offers churches and synagogues a more traditional atmosphere. Pews can even be sentimental to some church or synagogue goers, especially in more liturgical churches. Pews allow people to stretch out further and enjoy more personal space. They also tend to last longer since they only require light cleaning regularly and aren’t moved around and stacked constantly like chairs.

Fixed seating often encourages more fellowship among congregants. When someone arrives for worship services, they often need to find room to sit in a partially filled row. This decision typically causes the people at the front of the row to stand up to allow them to enter, giving them a chance to greet one another.

Additionally, church fixed seating may provide better accessibility options. When you have your new seating installed, it will be done so that the aisles are wide enough for wheelchairs and other accessibility devices to maneuver through successfully. We can also create portions of the pew reserved specifically for wheelchair accessibility.

Need Help with the Seating Options for Your Church or Synagogue?

Choosing between church pews and church chairs takes a lot of consideration. While church fixed seating has been the primary seating option for centuries, more contemporary churches and synagogues are using chairs to create a multi-purpose environment. If you need further help with the seating options at your house of worship, get in touch with us! Our church furniture experts can help guide you to the right seating options for your unique space.