How to Tell What Kind of Church Chairs and Seating Your Space Requires

the Temple Israel in Minneapolis, Minnesota

If you’re in the middle of a synagogue or church renovation, designing a new worship space, or just wondering how your spiritual center’s seating can best serve your religious services, there are several choices you need to make. The process can be overwhelming. You’ll need to determine the maximum number of seats for your worship space, decide between pews, church chairs, or some combination, and select a seating arrangement.

Luckily, New Holland Church Furniture has not only design experts to guide you through every step of this process, but our in-depth blog posts to explore each choice even deeper. So when you’re ready to create a beautiful worship space in your church or synagogue that connects your congregants with their Creator, we can take you from overwhelmed to overjoyed.

Determine Your Seating Capacity

The first step in determining the seating needs of your place of worship is to get a rough calculation on your church seating. Follow these steps:

  1. Find out the maximum occupancy of your building. If you don’t know, check with your local fire department.
  2. Measure the length and width in feet of your worship space where you need seating.
  3. Determine the area of your worship space by multiplying the length times the width.
  4. Calculate the rough number of seats required by taking the area of your worship space and dividing it by the following numbers based on your maximum occupancy:
    1. Up to 300: Divide by 15 to 17 square feet
    2. 300 to 500: Divide by 12 to 24 square feet
    3. 500 and above: Divide by 10 square feet

Of course, you’ll have to factor in architectural elements, like columns or posts, so it’s best to speak with one of our worship furniture design pros to get an accurate answer.

Choose Between Church Chairs, Pews, or a Combination

After arriving at an estimated number of seats needed for your church or synagogue, you need to choose whether you want church chairs, pews, or a combination of the two. Each choice has distinct benefits and some downsides too.

You’ll need to decide which works best for your religious services. This blog post gives you detailed information to help you decide. We’ll summarize a few keynotes:

  • Chairs—High-quality church chairs provide flexibility to experiment with different seating arrangements, but you may need to replace them more often since they’ll be moved, stacked, and stored frequently.
  • Pews—Pews are traditional church furniture that allows churchgoers to spread out, and worshippers appreciate their timeless beauty. Since they are fixed in place and moving them is difficult, experimenting with seating arrangements is not an option.
  • Combination Seating—Combination seating is contemporary religious furniture that combines individual seating within fixed rows. You get the convenience of separate seats, but since they’re fixed into place, it’s difficult to rearrange once they’re installed.

Decide How You Want Your Seating Arranged

Once you have an estimated number of seats needed and the type of seating you want for your spiritual center, you’ll need to decide how you wish to arrange your seats. With curved church pews, straight or angled rows of chairs, or even a complete circle seating method, there’s plenty of choices when it comes to seating arrangements at your place of worship.

Curved Church Pews

Curved wooden church pews at the Redeemer Presbyterian Church

Our specialty at New Holland Church Furniture is radius curved pews. We are the ONLY manufacturer of these church pews since 1962 and have installed them throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and South America. Curved benches create a more intimate experience with a great view of critical focal points. Increased seating capacity, without the need to expand your space, is a possibility with curved seating.

Straight Rows

Straight rows of pews or chairs directly face a stage, altar, or pulpit in the front of the room. It helps create multiple aisles and is an excellent choice for long, rectangular sanctuaries. However, it makes interacting between congregants difficult since they aren’t facing each other.

Angled Rows

Angled rows fan out from the center and give a communal feel to your worship center. It works well with the acoustics of a building, but may not be ideal for narrow spaces.

Fan Rows

Fan rows work best in square-shaped rooms and maximize closeness, allowing visitors in the back row to see and hear what’s happening in the front of the room. However, you may need larger aisle widths to accommodate this design.

Complete Circle

A contemporary way to arrange your church or synagogue seating is in a complete circle around a center stage. This design encourages lots of interaction between the speaker and the guests, but it’s not ideal if you have a band that leads worship music.

For more information on how design choices affect your congregation, check out these tips on maximizing your worship space to grow your congregation.

Ready to Improve Seating at Your Place of Worship? Find a Rep Today at New Holland Church Furniture

Determining the seating needs at your place of worship can be an overwhelming process. Luckily, the design reps at New Holland Church Furniture are experienced in every step of the church seating process. We can help you evaluate your space and determine the best seating capacity, type of seats, and the arrangement of the seats for you. Find a rep to get started on the process to create a beautiful worship space with appropriate seating for your spiritual center.