Are you planning the layout of your congregation’s seating and don’t know what to choose? In this guide, we’re going to explain the difference between pews vs chairs in church.
Pews vs. Chairs in Church: What Is Better?
Church chairs are becoming more common in newer churches. Pews came about after over 1,500 years of congregation members standing during their service. This type of seating became widely used in Europe in the 1500s.
However, today’s churches are often smaller in size or have a layout that may need to change based on the day’s function.
Understanding the main differences between church chairs vs pews requires you to review the pros and cons of each chair type:
Pews Pros and Cons
Pews have a lot of pros and cons to consider:
Large and spacious to fit a maximum number of church members
- Wood is extremely durable without concern for fabric ripping or damage
- Require little-to-no maintenance aside from refinishing after decades of use
- Pew lifespans can be decades to hundreds of years, with some pews being 400+ years old
Big and bulky, making them very difficult to move
- Cannot be broken down or easily used when not in use
- Wooden pews are very hard, making longer services uncomfortable for church members
- Pews are a major upfront expense and can cost multiples more than purchasing a chair
Chairs Pros and Cons
Church chairs have a lot of pros and cons to consider, too:
Church chairs can be stacked and allow for the greatest storage flexibility available
- Interlocking chairs work to mimic the strength of pews without many of the cons
- Come in a wide range of fabrics and colors to better fit into the design of your church
- Can be purchased in single options, making chairs far more affordable to buy
- Pews provide a classic, rustic look that is nearly impossible to match
- Offers a long lifespan, but is very unlikely to last hundreds of years
- A greater degree of maintenance and upkeep compared to a pew
Church chairs are growing in popularity because they offer a lot of the great comforts of a pew and meet the needs of congregation members without many of the cons that pews have.
Church Chairs Vs Pews: Comparison
Pews vs chairs in a Catholic church comes down to three main comparisons:
Pews are made of durable hardwoods. Old-school pews are all wooden and often uncomfortable to sit on for any extended period of time. However, cushioning is available on many newer pews that improve comfort to be similar to a chair.
Church chairs are designed with foam and also have arm options.
For most congregations, chairs are a far more comfortable option with better cushioning and stability for church members.
In terms of space, there’s no comparison: chairs are always the better option. Pews are solid pieces of wood that are very heavy to move and cannot be stored away easily. Interlocking chairs connect together and can be stacked, allowing you to reduce storage drastically.
Finally, if you need a flexible seating solution, chairs are the better choice. Pews are strong and durable, but they provide very minimal flexibility. You cannot easily rearrange pews and create a space for worship.
Church chairs allow for maximum flexibility so that you can:
- Arrange your interior to meet specific event requirements
- Rearrange chairs for better placement
- Stack and store chairs when not in use
For all three points, church chairs are simply the better option compared to pews. While pews do offer fantastic seating, they do not provide flexibility and space-saving like church chairs do.
Pews vs chairs in church is a major consideration because you want your congregation to be comfortable. While pews are known for being the traditional style of seating in older churches, times are changing.
Now, churches have many functions that must be considered:
- Bible study
- Weekly meetings
- Rental spaces
Church pews capacity vs chairs is also something to consider. Pews are big, bulky and heavy, making it difficult to make use of the space where they’re placed. However, interlocking chairs offer the stability and closeness of a pew with the option to separate the chairs to meet your real-time needs.