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Church seating vs church pews: Which is better for your church?

church seating
(© Patrick Daxenbichler –

When most people think of church seating, they think of pews. But modern churches are rethinking their seating options. While pews are still a popular option, church seating chairs are quickly becoming a popular option.

Which type of seating is the right one for your church?

Types of church seating: Chairs vs pews

There are two main types of seating found in churches: chairs and pews. Each offers their own benefits and drawbacks that need to be considered carefully before making a decision.

Church chairs

Church chairs come in a variety of sizes and styles to meet your congregation’s needs. Chairs are commonly used in modern church seating design. They offer many advantages, but there are some drawbacks that also need to be considered.

The benefits of chairs

One of the greatest advantages of using chairs instead of pews is flexibility. Chairs are mobile. You’re free to change the layout of your seating every week if you wish.

They’re also easy to store, which allows you to quickly and easily create more space in your church. If you want to hold an event, you can clear away chairs, add chairs or even transport your chairs outdoors if you need.

Because chairs are padded and upholstered, they’re also more comfortable than traditional pews. They’re a great option for wide seating at church, too.

When it comes to seating capacity, chairs also have the upper hand. They can provide up to 20% more seating capacity and make your service more handicap accessible.

Finally, church chairs tend to be the more cost effective option for seating.

The drawbacks of chairs

While seats offer many advantages, there are some potential drawbacks that you need to consider.

Some churchgoers prefer old-fashioned pews. They like sitting close to their family members or friends.

Chairs may also suffer more wear and tear than pews because they are consistently being moved, stored and stacked.


Pews are a traditional form of church seating. They are long benches placed in rows and separated by a center aisle.

The benefits of pews

Pews do have some advantages. When it comes to appearances, they usually have the upper hand compared to chairs. Typically, pews are made of wood and handcrafted. Some have intricate carvings and designs that make them a true work of art.

Along with their beautiful look, pews also offer a “traditional” form of seating that some congregations prefer.

They’re spacious and give members space to stretch out. Additionally, they don’t suffer the same wear and tear of individual seats.

The drawbacks of pews

While pews have many advantages, they also have several disadvantages, which is why many churches are turning to chairs instead.

One major disadvantage is that you’re limited in terms of design and mobility. Once a pew is in place, it becomes a permanent part of the church. You can’t simply stack and store them after service.

Their permanence can not only be an inconvenience when a church needs more space, but it can also make repairs more difficult and expensive.

Because they are made from wood, pews are limited in terms of colors, styles and designs.

Also, many churchgoers don’t like having to sit so close to other people. They prefer to have their own chairs and their own personal space.

Which type of seating is right for your church?

Ultimately, the seating you choose will be a personal decision. The needs and desires of your congregation should be kept in mind when deciding whether to use chairs or pews for your church.


If your congregation is growing, you may find that church chairs are the optimal solution. They allow you to accommodate additional seating quickly and easily.


Perhaps your congregation is new and you’re planning on moving to a new location in the near future. Chairs make the most sense in this scenario as well. They allow you to bring your seats with you to your new location. Pews, in this case, would be a high-risk investment because they are permanent structures.


The amount of space you have and the layout of your sanctuary will also determine whether chairs or pews are the best option.

  • If you’re using the space for multiple purposes, you may find that chairs are the better option. Chairs can easily be stacked and moved out of the way to make space for events or activities.
  • If you have a large meeting space, your congregation may prefer pews.


Budget is another concern. The cost of chairs is much lower than the cost of installing pews. Maintenance and repairs are also lower compared to pews, which are immobile and difficult to fix.

Church seating is an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Weigh the pros and cons of each option to see which one is the best for your church.

Do your church members prefer pews or church seats?


Story by Daniel Scott

augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press

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