An important aspect of seating for your church is the spacing between chairs and between rows. When you’re planning seating arrangements, it’s important to strike the right balance between comfort and maximum seating capacity. Here is a guide to spacing for your church seating.
Spacing Between Church Chairs
Generally, you can maximize your seating capacity and create a feeling of closer fellowship by pushing chairs right up against each other. If that seems too close, event planners recommend leaving two inches of space between chairs.
If your church chairs have built-in ganging (like our Genesis and Harmony chairs), you should probably gang them together. Ganging is a term for church chairs that hook together. The term itself refers to small metal hooks that allow chairs to be interlocked. Connecting your chairs in this way will keep them in neat, even rows and prevent them from being pushed out of alignment by your congregation. Additionally, many church venues require the use of ganging devices, so be sure to check your local ordinances.
Spacing Between Rows of Seats
This is one of the trickier aspects of setting up your seating. On the one hand, you want your members to have enough room to move through rows without bumping into people who are already seated. On the other hand, you don’t want to limit your seating capacity by leaving too much space between rows.
Generally, you should leave a minimum of 36 inches from the back of a chair to the back of the chair behind it. However, you may find that you need to leave more space for the comfort of your members. Also keep in mind that the more space you leave, the fewer rows you can fit inside your church. When in doubt, set up just a few chairs and ask members to test them out to see if you’ve left enough space.
Spacing Between Aisles
Another thing to consider is spacing between chair aisles in your church. You should always check your local building codes to be sure you know the minimum requirement. However, to give you an idea, Lifeway Builders recommends 4 feet minimum for center aisles, and 2 feet, 6 inches for side aisles (or 3 feet, 8 inches if your code requires this larger measurement). You will probably find that 4 feet is not enough for your center aisle, so Lifeway Builders recommends 5 feet or more.
Balancing Safety and Comfort
As a church, you want to accommodate as many people as possible. However, you should remember to leave enough room for comfort and safety. Exceeding your maximum occupancy will put your congregation in danger, and crowding members together will make them uncomfortable. If you start to turn people away due to space constraints, it may be time to move or build a larger church.
These spacing guidelines will help you effectively set up your church chairs. The dimensions listed here will provide plenty of space for your congregation to sit comfortably.
If you are in need of flexible, comfortable church seating, consider ChurchPlaza’s pew chairs. Our seating is designed to give you the highest quality at a price your church can afford. Backed by our trustworthy warranty, these chairs will serve your congregation well for years to come.
Updated Aug. 24, 2022.