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How to Arrange Sanctuary Furniture: Our Top Picks for Small Spaces

When your church’s goal is to grow and you’re working with a small building, it can be tricky to find the right strategy. While some church teams daydream about a building expansion or creating an entirely new building, it’s not usually the ideal first step to take. Many times, churches have yet to use their buildings to their maximum capacity and could find new ways to use the building more efficiently.

The sanctuary can be the most puzzling part to figure out, as it’s the “heart” of the church. You want the vibe to feel just right while still making the most use of the space. Hopefully, you’ve already let go of those uncomfortable, inflexible wood benches. Upgrading to church chairs will make your sanctuary easier to rearrange and use for the many meetings and events that are important to your congregation.

When it comes to arranging your church chairs, you have many options depending on what your sanctuary floor plans are like. We’ve put together our top picks for sanctuary arrangements that will make your space effective and easy to use in a small space.

1. Straight Rows

Yes, it’s the classic sanctuary arrangement with a wide aisle down the center of the room. This style of seating can work really well in certain spaces, especially if your sanctuary is a thin, long rectangle. In these kinds of rooms, it can be hard to arrange the chairs in any other style.

This arrangement will also work for other sanctuary shapes, but it isn’t necessarily the best way to get lots of seats in the space or for encouraging congregation engagement. It can work for helping congregations to transition out of wooden pews and for congregation members who have more “traditional” church set up expectations.

2. Angled Rows

This arrangement is a new spin on the straight rows design. Simply take those straight rows and put them at an angle. You can make the ends of the rows closer to the front or the center aisle side of the rows closer, depending on how your front stage is set up.

This design can help make better use of space and bring the congregation closer to the front for better viewing and listening purposes. It can also breathe a little life and movement into the design, encouraging attendees to interact more.

3. Semi-Circle Rows

If you’ve got a little more space or a sanctuary design with more flexibility, you can arrange your rows into a semi-circle. This brings certain members of the audience even closer to the front, which can help with visibility and ability to hear. If you have an older congregation or disabled congregation members, this is a great way to make the meeting easier for them to enjoy.

Semi-circles also encourage attendees to engage in eye contact and acknowledge each other, which is excellent for encouraging member engagement. If your goal is more interaction and bonding in your congregation, this is a great way to get members to be friendly.

4. Circular Rows

For very small spaces and congregations or churches with a specific worship-style, circular rows can be a useful way to bring everyone together. This style can be pretty intimate and can make new members more intimidated, so make sure it fits your church’s personality and goals.

For the congregations that do fit this arrangement, this style can bring members really close together, foster an egalitarian experience, and make the meeting congregant-focused.

Choosing Your Arrangement

When deciding which arrangement will work for your church, the best method is to stay flexible. If you’ve chosen church chairs for your church’s seating, you’ll have a much easier time with this process. Engage your congregation in the process of choosing the arrangement and explain that it might take a few tries before you find the right one. You might also find that one arrangement works for Sunday worship but not other meetings. Keep the dialog open and you’ll eventually find the right space set up for your church’s needs and goals.

If you’re ready to upgrade to church chairs that work perfectly for your small church, look no further than Advantage Church Chairs. We offer a wide variety of quality options and customization, as well as unparalleled customer service. We would love to help you plan the best seating arrangement for your congregation. You can find us online at and by calling 1-855-294-0532.

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