Interior Design

Church Interior Design Tips for Youth Spaces

In this post, Jennifer Snider continues sharing her ideas for your church building projects. Jennifer is our interior designer and recently posted some tips on creating children’s spaces with appropriate color and themes. But what about youth areas in your church building? No worries, here Jennifer answers that church interior design question with some helpful illustrations.

Helping Youth Feel Welcome and Valued in Your Church Building

Youth today see so many options from society for how to live their lives, and need to know they really belong in the church. This is why it’s so important to have specific youth areas in your church building.

Young people know they are welcome, and their presence matters, when you set aside youth spaces in your church. Youth tend to want social spaces, so it’s helpful to have a café with some tables where they can gather, hang out, and talk.

They also need the freedom to worship in their own way, so we recommend a dedicated worship space for them as well.

Finally, if space and budget considerations allow it, include a small group breakout area dedicated just for the youth as well.

Including Youth Zones in Your Church Interior Design

Gateway CON YouthHere at Gateway Church of the Nazarene, you can see an example of a single room that includes a coffee bar and a worship space, both just for young people. The tables between the coffee bar and the worship space provide a small group gathering area for discussion, or just to hang out.

You can see the worship space in the background. Notice that it includes trendy paint colors and that the two zones are delineated by a transition from a stained concrete floor in the café area to carpet in the worship area.

Giving Old Spaces New Life for Young People

If you’re remodeling an existing church building, you can sometimes repurpose old spaces for new uses with creative church interior design.

Westerville CC YouthIn this image, you can see the lobby of the youth space at Westerville Christian Church. This youth zone was their old chapel, and you can see how we’ve been able to make the space work well for young people. There’s a coffee bar as you enter, the worship space is in the back, and there is room for groups to gather behind the wall to the right, where the tables are located.

Following Your Vision

Just as you want children to feel at home in your church building, you also want to include youth in your church interior design plans, whether you’re starting from scratch on a new church or undertaking a renovation project. As always, we recommend that you keep your church vision in mind when considering your interior church design options.

To learn more about integrating people of all ages into your church building, sign up for our i3 webinar series. These webinars are free, and their goal is to provide you with ideas, insight, and innovations for designing and constructing a church building that fulfills your vision. Simply visit our website to sign up.

2017-06-20T14:05:02+00:00 June 13th, 2017|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

More Answers to Church Interior Design Questions: Platform Flooring

After over 40 years of building churches, we have learned that church leaders have a lot of questions—very reasonable questions—about church interior design and the best ways to help a vision come alive within one’s church building.

In this post, Jennifer Snider, our interior designer, is answering more of the interior design questions you’ve asked—this time, focusing on platform flooring.

Carpeting is a Great Choice

First Church of God PlatformAll of the flooring in a church must be commercial-grade. Also consider warranty and work with a reputable company for any of your church flooring. Beyond that, when it comes to platform flooring, carpet is a great choice and there are several advantages to it. Carpet is quieter than a hard surface, and a cut pile carpet will easily flow up the stairs, as you can see in the picture from First Church of God in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Neutral carpets like this one will easily blend into the rest of the space if you want to keep the focus on worship leaders rather than the platform itself.

If your church vision pulls you toward dressing up a carpeted platform a bit, you can upgrade the feel with a band of wood along the top of the platform. You can also use a contrasting color of carpet to help the platform stand out. However, it’s best to use a solid carpet rather than introducing a pattern on the platform, which might draw the eye away from worship.

Church Interior Design Options with Wood

Parma Baptist platformHere, at Parma Baptist Church in Parma, Ohio, a wood laminate platform was chosen. It dresses up the space and gives the platform more of a presence.  It is more expensive than carpet, but can make a dramatic statement.

In addition to dressing up the space and making the platform stand out, a hard surface will also change the platform’s acoustics. So, if you’re looking at wood flooring options, make sure to consult with your A/V folks and include them in your decision-making process, because their audio system will interact differently with harder surfaces. In some cases, a hard surface is preferred based on acoustics.

Choosing Theatrical Platform Flooring

Another church interior design option for platform flooring involves a more theatrical look, as you can see in this picture from Gateway Church of the Nazarene in Oskaloosa, Iowa. This flooring is also constructed with wood, so acoustically it will have a similar “live” feel as a hardwood or laminate platform—and will require input from your A/V folks.

There are a couple of advantages to theatrical flooring. First, if you often use sets or other decorative elements, you can screw them into the platform itself for added safety, then easily remove them and use simple black paint to freshen up and cover any holes or scrapes.

Second, you can contrast the theatrical black platform with carpeted steps to both minimize noise and “ground” the platform to the church interior design of the rest of the worship space.

More Church Building Information and Answers

We’ll answer more frequently asked questions about church design soon. Meanwhile, check out our free i3 webinar series. One or more will provide ideas and assistance as your church begins a new church building or renovation project. Accessing the webinars is easy: Simply visit our website and sign up!

2017-06-20T14:05:13+00:00 June 6th, 2017|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Answers to Church Building Questions Continued: Worship Seating

Once again, Jennifer Snider, our interior designer, answers your church remodeling and new building questions.

One question that always arises at some point in the church building process is the following: What type of seating should we use in the worship area?

There are several options available, and in this post Jennifer gives you her opinions about the three main types.

Pews: A Time-Honored Look for Worship Spaces

While we think of pews as the “traditional” choice for churches, in fact, the earliest churches had no seating options at all; worshippers stood instead.

Parma Baptist SeatingToday, of course, every church building comes with seating of some sort, and pews are the most traditional. This means that if you’re looking for a traditional feel in your worship space, pews might be the answer, as you can see in this illustration from Parma Baptist Church.

Pews might also be the right choice if your church remodeling project involves working with a sloped floor, as was the case with Parma. Lots of older worship spaces have a sloped floor, especially if pews were initially installed in a bigger worship area.

You might find that simply reupholstering existing pews gives you a nice, clean look—but don’t expect it to be less expensive than removing the pews and installing chairs. Reupholstering involves not just new fabric, but also new padding, and of course labor.

Theater Seating: A Variety of Styles for Your Church Building

Grove City CON SeatingAnother option, if your church remodeling project involves a sloped floor, is theater seating, as you can see here at Grove City Church of the Nazarene.

Because theater seats aren’t movable, they also can be installed on a sloped floor. Advantages to theater seating include a variety of styles and accessories to choose from.

Notice, too, how Grove City also places chairs in front of its theater seating. Such an arrangement allows the church to remove those chairs and have a larger, more flexible area up front to allow flexibility for your ministry.

Chairs: The Ultimate in Flexibility

Brooke Hills SeatingAt Brooke Hills Free Methodist Church, metal worship chairs were installed in the multi-ministry space, as you can see here. This allows Brooke Hills to easily rearrange the space to accommodate different types of activities, such as banquets, breakout sessions, or to remove the chairs completely.

We understand that the goals of many church remodeling projects include increased flexibility and a more modern feel to the worship space. In those cases, chairs are usually the first choice for church leaders.

We do want to note a couple of things in this photo. First, you will see that at the end of some of the rows there are a few chairs with arms. These chairs are helpful for people who need the leverage provided by arms in order to stand and sit.

You may have also noticed that these chairs have fully upholstered backs. Most chair catalogs focus on the front of the chair, but when you walk into a worship space, as this picture shows, it’s the back of the chairs that you’re going to see first. Spending a little extra on upholstered backs gives a nice, clean look to the worship center.

Archbold SeatingAnother more elegant seating option is wood framed chairs, shown here at Archbold Evangelical. While more expensive than metal chairs, they look much nicer, still stack for flexibility and can be a bridge between pews and metal framed chairs. Wood framed chairs work best in places like chapels and sanctuaries where the look of metal chairs just isn’t that appealing.

Watch for More Church Remodeling and Seating Posts

There is a lot to talk about when it comes to seating options for your church remodeling or new building project, so look for more information in future posts. Meanwhile, we suggest that you sign up for our free i3 webinar series to learn more handy tips about church building and renovation projects. Simply visit our website to get involved.

2017-06-20T14:05:27+00:00 May 23rd, 2017|Advice, Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design, Interior Design|

More Answers to Church Building Questions: Restrooms

In this post, we present more answers from Jennifer Snider, The McKnight Group’s interior designer to questions we frequently get about church building projects.

One of the key elements of good church interior design is making a positive first impression, as we shared in an earlier post in our series. This is just as important in a room that isn’t meant to stand out at all—the restroom.

If you’ve ever wondered, “How should we update our restrooms?” when working on a church remodeling project, the following information from Jennifer is for you.

Seeing Your Church Building’s Restrooms with Fresh Eyes

One of the difficulties with becoming comfortable in your church building is that you begin to take things for granted. You walk into the restroom, take care of business, and walk out again, not paying much attention to how things really look because you’ve been in there dozens of times before.

This becomes an issue when your church restrooms get cluttered or aren’t well cleaned. You might not notice such things … but your members and guests will.

We always suggest that you regularly walk into the restrooms and really look around—with the eyes of your guests, as it were. This allows you to better see something that might need to be addressed or to recognize when a deeper cleaning should be scheduled.

Leaving Themes Outside the Restroom Door

Restrooms are more likely to feel clean and nice if there is minimal décor. We will show one slight exception to that rule, but for the most part, you don’t want a thematic focus for your restrooms.

Instead, the church interior design goal is for your restroom to feel welcoming without having it stand out. You don’t want to decorate it like the restroom at your grandma’s house. The restroom is not the reason guests come to your church in the first place, so don’t feel as if you need to make a big statement with your décor.

Restroom Church Interior Design Examples

Parma Baptist RestroomThis first image, from Parma Baptist Church, shows an example of an updated restroom. Prior to the renovation, the restroom was mauve—everything from the tiles and toilet partitions to the countertops. The color scheme was clearly dated, so we came in and replaced the mauve with a neutral color. We also expanded the size of the stalls, to give people more room to maneuver.

Cypress Wesleyan RestroomThe restrooms at Cypress Wesleyan also have a neutral tone and feel to them. In this case, there was a little bit more room in the budget, so they placed porcelain tiles partially up the wall, both inside and outside the stalls, as you can see in the back of the picture. This dresses up the room a little while still retaining a clean, neutral feeling in the space.

Evangelical UMC RestroomHere in the restrooms at Evangelical United Methodist you can see that they have extended their Tuscan theme into the restrooms. They have done it very simply, however, just upgrading the mirrors and adding a single painting to the wall. This allows the restroom to retain its clean appearance, while subtly tying it into the rest of the church building.

Blue Grass UMC RestroomThis final church interior design example is the restroom at Blue Grass United Methodist. These church leaders chose to invest more in their restrooms, installing granite countertops and placing porcelain tiles all the way to the ceiling on every wall.

Glass tile adds a decorative feature without making the space feel cluttered. If your budget can handle upgrades like this, your restrooms can really shine, clearly showing guests that you’ve invested in their comfort.

One final note about restrooms. If space allows, it’s wise to incorporate a family restroom into your church interior design. This allows moms and dads with young children, as well as adults with older parents, to have more privacy. It also demonstrates to guests and church members that their welfare and comfort are important to the church.

More Questions? We Have More Answers!

We hope you are finding this Q&A series helpful. Please return soon for answers to other commonly asked questions. And to learn more about all aspects of the church building and remodeling process, check out our i3 webinars—simply visit our website and sign up. They’re free, so you have absolutely nothing to lose (except maybe a few questions).

2017-05-16T09:12:15+00:00 May 16th, 2017|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Answering Your Church Building Questions, Part Three

With this post, we continue our series on church building and renovation frequently asked questions. The McKnight Group’s interior designer, Jennifer Snider recently responded to some questions church leaders ask about church construction and renovation in a free i3 webinar. We’re bringing some of her answers to our blog. In the first two parts of the series, we covered questions about getting started with your church building or renovation project and how to prioritize the work. This post will focus on the question of style and give some examples of different approaches.

How to Determine Your Church Building Style

Many church leaders feel stumped when it comes to picking a style for their interior design. The most common church building styles are traditional, transitional, contemporary or modern. Whichever direction is chosen, its tone is set with the very first space your guests encounter, usually your foyer or lobby—and that’s why it’s so important to determine the style of your church building at the outset of your renovation or new construction project.

It can also be difficult for church leaders to separate personal feelings about style from the statement their church needs to make. It’s important that your church building style is rooted in your church’s vision and its ministry in your community. Your style must speak to that vision or you will fail to draw in the types of people you seek to serve.

Sample Foyer Styles

Eaton COB StyleIt is often easiest to explain what we mean with photos. This first image, from Eaton Church of the Brethren, shows how you can add some traditional flair to a modern space. We show this partly to illustrate that “traditional” doesn’t have to mean “old-fashioned.” The carpet pattern here conveys a sense of tradition without being dark and stuffy.

Gateway CON StyleContrast that image with this more modern look at Gateway Church of the Nazarene. The pattern of the carpeting creates a very different feel in the space, along with the sleek leather seating. The dark ceiling and deep paint colors also contribute to a modern style that clearly speaks to a modernistic church vision, while the light from lamps and candles maintain a welcoming warmth in this seating area.

Bethany WC StyleNext are the foyer and café area at Bethany Wesleyan. Here the modern element is clearly present in the industrial look of the ceiling. Notice how the white color and style of the ceiling create a very different feel from the Gateway experience. The multi-level ceiling draws the eyes upward, while the pattern in the carpet appears to mimic the layers and industrial style of the ceiling.

Grace Gathering StyleFinally, we have Grace Gathering. Here you can see a blend of modern style elements. There is the carpet pattern, and also the very high metal wall panels. While you might think those metal panels would cause echoing and make the space loud, those panels are actually an acoustic product, created to give an industrial look without the noise. This illustrates how you can use elements of a certain style without creating a space that’s uncomfortable for guests. The fireplace, with its natural stone finish, is another way to add a cozy feel to an industrial style.

Learn More with Our Free I3 Webinars

We hope our responses to common church building questions are helpful. We’ll answer some more of these queries in future installments in this series coming soon. Meanwhile, you can continue to learn about church building and renovation with our free i3 webinars, so sign up today.

2017-05-02T11:36:40+00:00 May 2nd, 2017|Advice, Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Fun Church Children’s Interior Themes on a Variety of Budgets

You can tell right away when you walk into a place that children are going to enjoy. Whether it’s a child-friendly restaurant or great church children space, you know kids will be drawn in by the bright, colorful décor and interesting, child-friendly themes. In this post, we’ll show you some ways to create fun and fabulous church children’s interiors that use themes to excite both children and their parents.

Plan Ahead

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of planning ahead of time when you’re considering a church remodeling project or new church building. Doing so allows you to build your theme into every element of the children’s spaces.

Paving the Way for Children

Children Theme 1As you can see in this picture, a roadway was created that leads children into their worship space. This type of theme works well for church remodeling jobs on a budget. The sky and grass are simply paint, which is not expensive. And the road signs and barriers are easy to obtain, plus they don’t need to be customized in any way to get the message across.

But we have paid attention to the content of these signs: Children are going to see the “school crossing” sign and recognize that this means they’re going to be learning something here at church. Parents will recognize these signs and receive the message that you care about their children and their education.

Giving Church Children’s Interiors a Fun Vibe

Children Theme 2In this second picture, you can see extra steps have been taken to make a large, open space more inviting for older kids. This worship space is called the “garage,” which is going to be a fun place to hang out.

A brick vinyl wall covering on the back wall makes that “garage” statement loud and clear. The added expense of vinyl is offset by paint on the other walls. Plus, we’ve intentionally created a graphic look that helps the ceiling feel lower and makes the walls more interesting than what you would get with just a single color.

Fabulous Options for a Higher-Budget Church Remodeling Project

If your church can invest more in your children’s interiors, you can consider customized full wall graphics like the theme pictured here, using a floor to ceiling design on vinyl.

Children Theme 3In this situation, the theme planning took into account the locations of the classroom doors and incorporated them into the design. Extra lighting was also added to take full advantage of the design investment.

No matter what theme you choose, the full-wall approach provides a strong, dramatic effect. It’s pretty much impossible for children—and parents—not to be drawn in by such a hallway.

Addressing the Question of Changing Themes

When it comes to making an investment in themed children’s spaces, we are frequently asked: How do you keep your children’s spaces fresh and exciting? How often will you need to change themes?

While we as adults might see the same theme, year after year, children will be growing up and moving into new areas of your church’s interior spaces. The younger children who take their place will find those themes exciting because they will be new to them.

Find Out More

Whether you’re first considering the question of a church remodeling project or are already in the midst of constructing a major new church building, we have ideas and solutions that can help. This is why we created our free i3 webinar series. Visit our website and sign up today.

Choosing the Right Flooring for Your Church Children’s Spaces

One area we recommend our church building clients give special attention to is what’s going on under their feet. The right flooring choices are very important—especially when it comes to church children’s spaces. This is because a lot of children will spend time on the floor of those areas, and what they touch matters.

In this post, we present some flooring options for the children’s interiors of your church remodeling or building project.

Counting on Quality

The quality of your flooring materials matters. Church buildings require commercial-grade flooring by code. Even with commercial flooring, be aware that some options are more durable than others.

You also need to consider the maintenance that will be involved in keeping the floors of your children’s spaces clean.

In addition, make certain that the flooring comes with a good warranty to protect your investment if trouble arises.

Carpet Options for Church Children’s Spaces

Carpet is a popular option for church children’s interiors because young children are likely to be more comfortable on carpeted floors.

Carpet OptionsYou have two options with commercial carpet: broadloom and carpet tile. Broadloom (pictured, on right) is the more traditional option and is typically a 12’-0” wide roll. Carpet tile (pictured, on left) is available in a variety of sizes – 18” or 24” square, 18”x36”, and even hexagons. Carpet tile makes it easy to add a splash of color too, as you can see here.

From a practical standpoint, stains and damage are more likely to occur in church children’s spaces. Carpet tiles can be easily replaced if one is damaged, making them an increasingly popular choice for children’s spaces when one’s budget allows.

Understanding VCT, LVT, and Sheet Vinyl

Other flooring options to consider in children’s spaces are hard surface varieties.  Hard surface flooring is often used around sinks and counters in children’s classrooms, in part of the room, or even the entire room for crafts and snacks because it’s easy to clean up.

VCTVinyl composition tile (VCT) is your least expensive flooring option and comes in a wide variety of colors, but it requires regular maintenance (stripping and waxing), which means that in the long term it could prove just as expensive.

LVTLuxury vinyl tile (LVT) is a newer product that has become increasingly popular in recent years. As you can see here, these tiles come in a number of shapes and patterns to create a wide variety of looks, from a warm wood look to cool water or even bright green grass. LVT is lower maintenance, because it doesn’t have to be stripped and waxed, but it is a softer product that can be scratched or scuffed.

Sheet vinyl is a rolled product that can have a seamless look. It comes in fewer colors than VCT and is softer, like LVT, yet also requires less maintenance.

Regardless of which flooring option you choose, you will want to coordinate the colors of your flooring with the theme of your church children’s spaces. An integrated look in your children’s interior will demonstrate to parents that you care about their kids.

Discover More Church Remodeling and Building Tips

Whether you’re looking to complete a church remodel or construct an entirely new church building, consider your children’s ministry needs when selecting. Learn more at our website, and while you’re there sign up for our free i3 webinar series for important tips for your church remodeling or building project.

2017-04-04T11:44:55+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Children's Spaces, Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

How Wall Finishes Can Impact Your Church Design

Each element of your church design plays a part in making your guests feel welcome.  Whether you’re building new or renovating—the design choices you make will be impactful on your members and guests alike.  Like some of the other design elements we’ve talked about, your vision should help guide you in making these decisions.

Why Choose Paint for Your Church Design?

wallfinishings1For starters, here’s a picture of a small seating area at Blue Grass UMC in Evansville, IN, that serves multiple functions. It’s a small meeting space, a place for people to get to know each other over coffee, but also it’s an opportunity to share some of the history of the church with guests and members. The pictures hung on the walls tell a story, helping to tie your church’s vision into the interior design.

The Blue Grass example shows the effectiveness of an accent wall with a contrasting color of paint. The flooring and other walls are intentionally neutral colors, so that the contrasting paint in the sitting area will draw people’s eyes toward the pictures. This way, people are drawn to learn more about the church and what it has to offer to members and the community. Paint also helps diversify a space—it mixes well with other finishes and the number of colors is only limited by your imagination.

Another advantage of paint is that it can be easily changed or touched up. For example, Blue Grass might want to highlight a different aspect of its church history—or unfolding vision—next year. By changing both the pictures and the paint color, they can effectively draw members’ attention to what is new, without having to post a sign or make an announcement.

Paint is also the most cost-effective option for wall coverings. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for an economical church renovation to help you live out your commitment to good stewardship.

What about vinyl wall coverings?

Vinyl wall coverings can convey bright colors and are durable, but they can also be expensive to install and remove. We find that they are best used in children’s areas when creating wall graphics.

When You Want Your Church Building to Stand Tall

wallfinishings3There are also times when it’s appropriate to use different wall finishes in order to illustrate other aspects of your church design characteristics. Say, for example, that you want to appeal to the millennial generation by using natural materials. This picture from Grace Gathering in New Haven, IN shows how a tall, stone-fronted fireplace can draw the eye upward, adding dimension, texture and definition to a large space.

The metal finish at the top of the walls creates interest within the space, but also serves a hidden practical function for the church building. This is because those metal finishes have tiny perforations and acoustical material behind them, helping to absorb noise that might otherwise echo in such an open area.

When You Want Everyone to Feel at Home

wallfinishings2Finally, here’s another example of an appropriate use of wall finishes to enhance your church design. The wood wainscot is a traditional finish for homes, which helps add comfort and warmth to hospitality areas. You can also see how the accent color draws the eye to both the fireplace (another homey finishing touch) and the TV monitor which can be used for meetings, teaching or entertainment.

Much of what we’ve talked about today is really centered on the idea of hospitality. In our next post, we’re going to talk more about the specialty spaces in your church building that help support hospitality. Meanwhile, sign up today for our free i3 webinar series so we can help you make those important connections between your church building and your church’s vision.

2016-10-18T11:01:45+00:00 October 18th, 2016|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design, Uncategorized|

Finding Inspiration—and Practical Tips—for Your Church Building’s Interior Design

IdeasSometimes it’s hard to think about marketing and church at the same time. In the past, everyone went to church because of family or tradition, often choosing the local church down the street.

But that’s not always the case anymore. Nowadays, churches have to think about marketing, because so many people today are used to “shopping” for exactly what they want—for church as well as everything else.

So if you want to bring people into your church building, you’ve got to make sure its design is appealing. You’ve also got to make sure your interior design concept speaks to your guests, so they’ll come back to learn more about what your church has to offer. This is why we believe interior design inspiration is a critical component of any church building or remodeling project.

Connecting Your Church Design with Your Church Vision

We’ve mentioned before some of the basic steps any church needs to take when approaching interior design. You need a good design team, typically composed of three to five people who work together well and are willing to put your church vision ahead of their personal likes and dislikes when it comes to interior design.

That team also needs to understand your church vision, and the project that has brought them together in the first place. Part of that vision will involve the budget for the project. While your team can “think big,” it also needs to understand when it’s time to phase in a project, tackling the most critical and visible areas first, and perhaps leaving finishing touches for future fundraising.

Team Up with Technology

Long before it’s time to paint the walls or install the floors, your interior design team should be meeting, talking, and brainstorming about the fundamentals. And what matters most is this: Who are you trying to reach?

Use marketing techniques to create “ideal customer” templates of the guests you want to see walking into church on Sunday morning. Then go where they go, shop where they shop, eat where they eat.

Not only do you want to go where they go, you want to capture what they see as they’re eating or shopping or hanging out. You can easily do this by employing that most popular of technological advances: the smartphone.

Use your phone to snap pictures of the places you go, the things you see, the décor of the shops and restaurants and theaters you investigate. Once your field trips are over, gather your team and brainstorm over what you saw, what you liked, and what colors, patterns, and images will create a familiar-feeling, welcoming space for your guests.

Think on a Commercial Level about Your Church Building

Like those places you visited and captured on camera, you need to think on a commercial level when it comes to furnishing your church building. There are two reasons for this:

– Since the building is considered commercial in terms of fire codes and warranties, many residential interior design elements will not pass muster.

– You need your interior design elements to be durable. Like a commercial building, most church buildings get a lot more foot traffic than an average home, so your furnishings have to be up to the task.

This means you definitely need commercial-grade flooring; high-quality paint, wall fixtures, and window treatments; and chairs and tables that can handle being pushed around.

You also want to think about the maintenance necessary for all these church design elements. If you try to save money by installing cheaper flooring, but then have to pay your staff to reseal your floors every single month, chances are you’ll actually spend more money in the long run.

Team Up with Professionals

If you’re thinking that there’s a lot more to interior church design inspiration than just the inspiration, you’re right. This is why we also recommend that your church design group teams up with professionals (such as The McKnight Group). Expert designers can point you in the right direction to find durable, good-quality finishes and furnishings that will appeal to your ideal guests, stand the test of time, and look beautiful in the process.

For even more church design and building inspiration, visit our website today and sign up for our free i3 webinars. And to learn more about church interior design inspirations, contact us today and speak with Jennifer Snider, our interior design expert.

2016-06-29T11:09:10+00:00 June 29th, 2016|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design, Uncategorized|

Church Design Transformations: When Your Church Building No Longer Meets Ministry Needs

There are many reasons why a church building needs to be transformed. One of the truths about ministry is that your vision is going to change over time. In order to reach people for Christ, you need a church building that attracts guests and a church design that makes them want to stick around to learn and grow in your community. This post begins a new series about churches whose current vision mandated a building transition. We’ll show you how The McKnight Group took these older church buildings and updated their design to meet today’s needs.

Reason to Transition: Modern Ministry

One of the most common reasons that church leaders need to transform a church building is that it no longer meets the needs of a modern ministry. Here’s an example of how we’ve taken a church design from the seventies and transformed it into a welcoming worship space for today: Bridgetown Church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The church had worked with a local building firm up front but could not get the help they needed because, although the firm had experience working with churches, they did not specialize in church building. Once the church partnered with the McKnight Group we started working on solutions for their new vision of ministry.

The Challenges

Bridgetown Church of Christ - Before

Bridgetown Church of Christ – Before

One of the big issues for this church building was the façade. The new vision of the church had them focusing on reaching younger, unchurch families. The shape of the church, and the colorful, abstract stained glass window, were definitely “hip” in the seventies, but are not in style now. It doesn’t say “church;” it says “history.”

But the problems didn’t end when you stepped into the building. The foyer was small and dark, with low ceilings; it felt like a cave. This outdated church design also didn’t function well in the modern world. There were literally no handicap-accessible restrooms. The women only had a restroom upstairs by the sanctuary. And the men’s restrooms weren’t any better; most of them were downstairs.

Finally, a coat closet had been converted into a tiny café, but it was really just a bunch of coffee pots lined up on a counter. There wasn’t any place for visitors to sit, enjoy that cup of coffee, and build relationships with other church members.

The Church Design Solutions

Bridgetown Church of Christ - After

Bridgetown Church of Christ – After

So what did we do about this? From the outside, you can see that we removed the outdoor walkway and expanded the entire lobby area into that space. We made the ceiling higher and brought in lots of natural light with the addition of plenty of windows. Those windows also have the added benefit of making the place light up at night, attracting visitors who might wonder, “What’s going on in that church tonight?”

church-design-transformations-3Inside this bright and open lobby, we created seating spaces and a small, but more efficient, café that clearly says “hospitality space.” You can see that they integrated their stained-glass history with a framed piece of the old window on the wall next to the café. We also placed convenient, handicap-accessible restrooms just across the lobby, making them easy to find and completely ADA compliant.

You Don’t Have to Transform Everything to Make a Difference

Of course, we know that a lot of churches are afraid that transforming an existing church building means creating an entirely new church design that will be difficult to fund. Here at Bridgetown, we worked with the church to prioritize the work, focusing on what brings people in and helps visitors become members.

church-design-transformations-4Obviously the lobby was key; with the worship space itself, we didn’t make a lot of changes. We focused on a facelift to address key ideas: comfort and flexibility. Replacing pews with chairs increased seating capacity, comfort and flexibility. New carpeting, lighting and paint made the place feel more bright and welcoming. And a transformed HVAC system, along with energy-efficient windows over the existing stained glass, brought improved heating and cooling comfort.

One of our recent, free i3 webinars covered the fine points of transitioning churches to meet modern needs. It’s the type of topic you can learn more about by signing up for our webinar series today!