Whether you’re building a new church or looking to redesign your current church, seating must be part of your plan since it’s so important. It determines how many people can attend services comfortably in your sanctuary and how much space you have for other events and proceedings. In addition, it also directly impacts how your members experience attending church.

You must account for the weekly crowd as well as visitors, and plan for special events and holidays when you’ll have more people than usual. Calculating the cost of church seating and determining a budget that covers all your needs may be tricky, but it will certainly pay off in the end.

You should start by considering the size of your sanctuary as well as the needs of your congregation as far as space and comfort go. On average, a church sanctuary can comfortably hold a few hundred individuals. The actual number depends on things such as whether a church has pews or chairs. Small sanctuaries can seat an average of 50-100 people while larger sanctuaries may be able to seat upwards of 500 individuals.

Calculating the cost of church seating and determining a budget that covers all your needs may be tricky, but it will certainly pay off in the end.

How much do church pews cost?

To calculate the number of pews you’ll need to seat 250 people, use the standard measurement of 22–24 inches per seat per person. You can expect simple wooden pews to cost somewhere between $120 to $170 per pew seat. Adding seat cushions, carvings, and other specialty features will add to the cost. So, for a seating area with a capacity of 250 people, basic church pews will cost $30,000 to $42,500, plus installation costs.

How much do church chairs cost?

A quality church chair will cost $45-$65 per chair. If your sanctuary can hold about 250 chairs, it will cost $11,250 to $16,250 for this option. There is no installation cost for church chairs, which adds to the savings.

How much does theatre-style seating cost?

Overall, church chairs allow for more seating for a smaller price. Church chairs are also much more comfortable.

Installing theatre seating in a church will cost between $130 to $250 per seat. If you are installing 250 theater-style seats in your house of worship, it will cost $32,500 to $62,500, plus installation costs.

Theatre-style seating gives you the most seating in the smallest area, since rows can be narrower because the seats fold up when not in use. Like the other options, it can also be very attractive. This option provides the most seating for a sanctuary space, which is why it is often used in larger sanctuaries and auditoriums. Of course, the cost for theatre–style seating is much more expensive, and you’ll need to take extra precautions (i.e., no food or drinks, etc.) to ensure longevity.

Theatre style seating
An example of theatre-style seating.

Final tally: How much to budget for church seating?

When it comes to budgeting for sanctuary seating, keep these factors in mind and stick to a basic range of $10,000-$30,000 per 250 seats. Theater-style seating for a church will be more.

At Bertolini, we manufacture church chairs in a variety of price ranges. We look forward to hearing from you.

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