Guidelines on Church Design

Decisions about how to design a church interior usually involve group consensus. The process from concept to implementation is likely to include multiple approvals and input from inside and outside of the individual church community. Catholic church interior design differs from other church denominations and may also require diocese inputs.

Design and function go hand-in-hand in church design. Priests want to present a welcoming presence to existing and new parishioners. The church’s target audience and priests’ messaging style to congregants should also be considered. Importantly, the goals of church design should reflect congregants’ aspirations and goals in worship and daily life.

Traditional or Modern Church Design Considerations

For instance, a Catholic church will include kneeling benches for parishioners and one or more altars. The design is likely to include stained glass windows in a bright color palette.

Ultimately, though, the decision to embrace traditional church design or not depends on group decision-making. The average age and size of the congregation will be considered by the church design committee.

Church size may influence design choices as well. Although a Victorian age Catholic cathedral with brilliant stained glass windows might not need a massive exterior design overhaul, an interior design plan can add new warmth and comfort. A small church space may benefit from small design tweaks or major changes. For example, a growing congregation may decide to build an addition to accommodate its members.

Youth Instruction Room Design

Considerations for the functional use of each room in the church should be included in design discussions. For instance, the parish sanctuary or confessional differ from the design used in a comfortable youth or after mass gathering hall.

Youth rooms often look like a design afterthought. The church may move older couches or chairs formerly used in its primary rooms for youth instruction rooms.

The youth center should look inviting to younger parishioners. A unique and/or energetic design, rather than a small room with cast-off furniture, can encourage youthful attention.

Sanctuary or Contemplation Chamber Design

The church’s sanctuary design can particularly challenge the design committee. If the church requires a space set apart for the priest, deacons, and musicians, the design must accommodate the design plan. If a raised altar is preferred over a simple podium at pew level, the final design plan must consider it.

Modern preferences of the church community may guide the design. If the congregation consists of young families, the decision to replace hardwood pews with more casual couches could make sense in the design plan.