Planning for the future is both vital and challenging when it comes to your place of worship. A synagogue or church that lacks a strategy is doomed to stagnation and failure. It’s important to ask, “How many chairs should we have in our sanctuary?” With a smaller congregation than with a bigger one, the answer is different.
You’re not the only one asking how adding pew chairs to your synagogue’s existing set of traditional church pews might affect the number of seats that are available. In the past, adding extra seating to the sanctuary has been the primary justification for replacing the dated wooden pews in churches.
Determine the maximum occupancy
To ensure that a room can accommodate the most people possible, it is preferable to follow the International Code Council’s International Building Code. The website has a breakdown of state-specific safety references and church occupancy limits that you may consult.
However, while planning the room layout, remember that the most important consideration should be safety, not aesthetics. The proportions of the room should not influence how it should be designed. Put another way; you’re overstuffed if you’re completely stuffed. Aim for a clean area of one-fourth of the total area.
Maximum vs. comfortable occupancy
Even if you can comfortably arrange 15 or 30 seats in a row, it doesn’t imply people will feel at ease sitting that close together. The temptation to overcrowd your venue may be strong, but this might negatively impact your members. Attenders’ comfort is key, no matter how spacious or large your church auditorium is. If this isn’t taken into account, it will be challenging for those with disabilities to participate in the event.
One of the essential things to remember when designing a church is that comfort directly influences how people feel about attending and inviting others.
Regarding your seating configuration
Expect to have at least double the minimal number of people in your area if the minimum is seven square feet per person. Ensure each worker has between 10 and 20 square feet to work with. If your church doesn’t plan to grow beyond 300 members, you may expect to have around 15 square feet of space per person. However, the worship area and the lobbies and standing areas are excluded from this requirement.
Keep in mind that you need at least five feet of aisle space. This is the ideal length for the main aisle in a church with numerous aisles; it should be at least this long. A simple way to figure out the number of seats required is to divide the total square footage of your worship space by the average square footage per person, other than the altar space.
Pews vs. chairs
Cushions and upholstery make many church chairs more comfortable than pews. With the utilization of chairs, space may be rearranged in various ways to suit different purposes and religious contexts, hence reducing the need for additional construction and costs. As a result of their increased maneuverability, they are less likely to sustain harm.
On the other hand, many people like the more classic look of church pew seats because a seat may conjure up pleasant memories for many people for various reasons.
Pews are often spacious, but they can accommodate a large number of people. As a general rule, pews are preferable for adults who want to relax and for children with short attention spans. Unlike church chairs, pews may last for decades and need little to no maintenance.
There are a few drawbacks of using pews, despite its benefits. Color and style options are limited since there aren’t a lot of different options to choose from. Because seats are normally affixed to the floor, removing them from a church during a renovation project may cost a lot of money.
Aside from that, they’re quite pricey, and the lack of cushion for church pew makes them less than ideal for long trips. Many individuals prefer chairs since they prefer not to be sat so close to their neighbors.
Take storage space into consideration
Compared to traditional pews, church chairs provide a great deal of adaptability. Individual chairs may be joined to produce a pew-like effect in the pew chair style, which allows for seamless sitting. They may be utilized as separate seats at any moment and can be moved about on their own.
For your convenience, acquire seats and carts that can be easily moved and stored along with enough storage space. A lot of future frustration can be avoided by doing this now. To avoid damage to the frame or cushions, look for chairs that can be stacked effortlessly. Make sure you choose chairs with wheels so they can be easily moved through doors.