It’s no secret that, with attendance long in a bit of a downward spiral, churches are looking for new ways to attract and retain members. One way to do this is by updating your interior design and upholstery.
Gone are the days of designing with the church as the center of the community. Now, great design emphasizes the community as the center of the church. This is great news because it means you no longer have to create a grand spectacle — or be a grand spectacle design genius.
Besides necessary functionality, the goal is welcoming. So let’s talk about ways to use design elements, including your upholstery, to offer a truly welcoming and heavenly space. We’ll walk you through the front door and all the way to the podium and offer simple ideas with every step to help you set the stage for your community to feel right at home.
Quick Church Entryway Design Tips To Truly Welcome And Uplift
We’ll start with a bit of a mindset shift. We mentioned that the overarching characteristic of the changes afoot in church interior design is a shift from the church as the focus to the community as the focus. That’s great news for two reasons. First, it relieves you of any pressure to create something grandiose. And, second, it frees you to focus on substance AND on something we’ll bet you already know how to do — welcome.
In all we explore today, the question worth circling back to over and again is, “Will this create a warm, authentic, and alluring welcome — or not?”
Home away from home. A safe place to celebrate, connect, and grow. These are the feelings that we’re after. That welcome starts in the entryway. Of course (and not for the last time today), the specific functionality your space needs will vary from faith to faith. However, there are some throughlines in creating a welcoming church entryway, in making that “welcome home” first impression:
- Clean and simple: Make your entryway clean, clutter-free, and inviting. This will go a long way to making the mere act of stepping inside itself feel like a deep cleansing breath. People come to churches to ground themselves and connect, simplicity supports that goal.
- Pop and pizazz: While you’ll likely want to keep your design foundations (walls, floors, etc.) fairly neutral, you can add energy with accents in bright colors, fun patterns, and inspiring objects or quotes to give visitors a taste of what’s to come inside. Show your personality.
- Let there be light: Brighten up your space with plenty of natural light. Large windows will make the space feel more open, airy, and energizing. Same with bright lighting from above if windows aren’t possible.
- Casual seating: Keep any lobby furniture neat with intentional seating arrangements in clear footprints. The kind of areas that say “people like to sit a spell and mingle here.” Like armchairs in a textured eco-friendly, performance-grade sky blue fabric. Or some poufs for flexible, casual seating adding earthy and inviting patterns to the space like a cream and beige colored diamond geometric patterned jacquard, or for pop try it in terracotta orange. (Thrifty Pro-Tip: You can make your own poufs, too.)
Welcome And Win With The Fabrics You Dress Your Church’s Furniture In
Time to step inside the main worship or gathering space. Continue the welcome and deepen the caring you offer by creating a space designed to comfort as well as to set the stage for inspiration and growth. Let’s focus first on the seating for the congregation.
Use Color To Your Advantage
Colors can have a powerful effect on our moods. So use them to your advantage. Stick to calming, uplifting hues. A pale teal tweed will fit the bill nicely, plus it’s Crypton so you can count on its durability. Or a chenille fabric (also Crypton) in simple, unimposing beige offering a neutral foundation.
Incorporate Comfortable Seating
Remember, the trend is attracting and welcoming folks by focusing on the community first. And everyone likes to be comfortable. So make it a pleasure to settle into your pews or chairs. Consider using soft, plush fabrics for cushions and pillows. Try upholstering cushions in heavy-duty velvet with a light and lovely lilac color. Or add some throw pillows for support and comfort in patterned platinum faux silk.
How To Set The Stage For Focus And Inspiration In Your Sanctuary
Make The Focal Point The Focal Point
Whether you have an altar, platform, or simply a side of the room where messages are offered, the worship space is the most important part of the church. So make sure it’s designed to draw the eye where the action is.
With your congregation comfortably seated in furniture dressed largely in neutral tones, the presentational focal point of the room can have more visual weight and interest.
From an upholstery perspective, this is a great place to add bold and/or more dynamic pops of color. Any furniture on stage will positively exude confidence and energy in a dark blue damask fabric. Or perhaps keep things neutral but fresh with a natural cream-colored contemporary patterned fabric.
If your space has large windows, they’ll not only make the space feel more open and airy, but they’ll also create a beautiful illuminated effect during services. Amplify the light and airiness with sheer (but heavy-duty) latte-colored curtains framing the windows. And add dimension and dial up the focus of the room by draping windows behind the podium — or merely a back-of-the-stage curtained accent wall — in a deep, burgundy red velvet.
Introduce Inspiring Elements
Have some fun! Quotes from the Bible or other sacred text verses, or even just simple words of wisdom, can go a long way in making your church feel like a heavenly haven. Display them prominently throughout the space to offer guidance and hope to all who enter. Or add natural elements to offer more of a sense of grounding and provide texture.
The attention you put into upholstering and designing for comfort and caring frees you to use details to change the theme and feel — without breaking the budget — whenever the needs of the community shift and change.
Open The Door And See All The People — Loving Your Church’s New Style
Regardless of your religious affiliation, designing for today’s churches is all about the community you serve. Translation: their “why” needs to be your why. Why are they there? People come to churches to connect, heal, get inspiration, guidance, and comfort.
By keeping those things top of mind as you approach your interior design and upholstery choices, you can create a space that serves the message before anyone inside even says a word.
It’s closer — and easier — than you think. And it just so happens that we know a thing or two about how to take that design journey from heavy to heavenly. So no need to pray on this part, just drop us a line or give us a call today. We love serving you so you can serve your people.