Hear from our Designers – What’s new in Church Seating?

Furniture for church facilities has shifted in recent years. 

Here are the trends we are excited about!

1     MAXIMUM FLEXIBILITY: especially in Worship rooms. This supports a bigger trend toward smaller, more intimate room sizing with flat floors to accommodate not only Worship but also dinners, guest lectures, etc. The key to flexible, moveable seating is confirming how many chairs the room can accommodate and plan for nearby storage that is sized to hold at least half the chairs when the room is utilized for other events.

2     CASUAL OUTDOOR SEATING: Casual, comfortable options (combined with shade if you live in Texas) are key to promoting use of outdoor seating areas. Options can range from lounge chairs, to rocking chairs, to picnic tables! We have also integrated stone-like benches into landscape areas for a very organic, natural look.

3     VARIETY IS KEY! For Commons and Gathering Areas, the formal feeling of an entry hall has given way to living room and coffee bar arrangements with a variety of furnishings for varying age groups and accessibility needs. Often, it’s a blend of comfortable upholstered lounge seating mixed with high-top tables and stools. Taller seating arrangements are wonderful for encouraging conversation because other people can walk up and join the group while standing without feeling like they are “hovering” over those who are seated.

4     INTENTIONAL YOUTH FURNITURE: We tend to see very similar functional requests to the Commons and Gathering spaces described above, but with an edgier look to the pieces. For example, in a recent Youth space, instead of traditional armchairs we selected comfortable sofas, 2-person swivel chairs, and beanbag rockers. Students utilize this facility almost every night of the week for various activities and we wanted to create a space that felt modern and vibrant.

5     IMPACTS FROM THE PANDEMIC: The biggest change we have experienced is the increased move toward flexible, loose chairs in Worship. A room with fixed seating serves limited purposes and can look empty on weeks with low attendance, such as during the worst months of the pandemic. With loose chairs, seats can be spaced to accommodate social distancing, and as health regulations continue to change, the room can be filled with the right number of seats to avoid feeling empty.

The GFF Church Works Studio is a team of highly experienced design professionals who focus exclusively on the planning and design of faith-based facilities.

For more information, please contact:
Stephen Pickard at stephen.pickard@gff.com
Jacquelyn Block at jacquelyn.block@gff.com