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Let’s Talk Chairs

What piece of furniture arguably makes the most difference in the worship experience, where seat count is a hot topic?

By Cathy Hutchison   •  April 23, 2017 11:44 am EDT

Tags: chair, chairs, design, interior, seating,

What’s the one piece of furniture that makes the most difference in the worship experience? It’s the chair. After all, churches talk in terms of seat count, not square footage.

While our ancestors may have been okay suffering on wooden pews, for the Starbucks-and-Smartphone generation, comfort can make the difference between attention and distraction.

Church Designer offers up some bright alternatives for worship and gathering space seating:


The Howe 40/4 chair stacks 40 chairs in a mere 4 feet—which is a big win for multipurpose worship spaces. It has elegant lines and excellent ergonomics. Since its launch in 1964, the chair has never been out of production and comes in side chair, armchair, lounge chair, and wood frame models. Other options include linking and a hymnal basket between the chairs.

Dimensions (side chair): HxWxD: 30.1" x 19.1" x 21"

Weight: 14.3 lb. (polyamide version); 13.4 lb. (veneer version); 13.9 lb. (upholstered version)


Bertolini’s popular Impressions Series offers a number of advantages including “zero maintenance” with the Fit-Tight fastening system and a strong frame with limited lifetime warranty, but one of the best features is the form of the chair itself. The Flex-Fit ergonomic seat and Ergo-V back with triple action lumbar is comfortable. It also works well as a flexible seating option for both contemporary and traditional applications; when locked together they can mimic pew-style bench seating, and when not locked together they can be placed around tables or stored in stacks of eight.

Dimensions HxWxD: 35” x 20.25” x 26”

Weight 16.3 lbs.


The Flavors line of classroom chairs and stools by Smith System offers students maximum flexibility in seating options and movement. Torsional flex in the seatback and a flat seat pan allows students to sit comfortably facing any directionfront, back or either side. Students get the comfort, support and the subtle chair movement they need to stay focused and engaged. The Flavors Stack Chair is available in six sizes and 19 shell colors. Other options include a sled base, mobile casters, and adjustable-height stools.

Dimensions: Available in 6 sizes, 8”, 10”, 12”, 14”, 16” and 18”

Weight: From 6lbs. to 10lbs., based on size


Wenger’s High-Density Portable Audience Chairs by Clarin are durable, foldable and best of all—won’t leave marks on gymnasium or auditorium floors. The x-frame construction prolongs the life of the chair and provides even weight distribution for enhanced comfort. It will even automatically return to its original shape after being used on an uneven surface. The model uses 30%-40% less storage space than standard tubular frame folding chairs.

Dimensions: Height: 31.75” Depth: 21.75” Available in two Chair Widths 18” or 19.5” (Seat cushion is 1.5” or 3”)

Weight: 16lbs.


The Howe Manhattan line features soft seating and tables with an innovative pentagon shape for creative environments. Perfect for youth and gathering spaces, the untraditional shape can be put together in multiple ways. It also has options for three back heights giving designers freedom to adjust scale and create visual interest. A limitless mix of fabrics and colors allows designers to either feature or blend the pieces into the overall interior design.

Dimensions (bench, no back): HxWxD 16.1" x 36.8" x 35

Weight (bench, no back): 32.2 lbs.


The Beret Collection by Sandler Seating invites people to pause and have a conversation. The updated mid-century modern design with diamond tufting and black walnut legs has exceptionally sturdy construction. The chair comes in side, arm and lounge varieties. A wide variety of upholstery options includes fabric, macrosuede, leather and vinyl making your café or dining area a truly welcoming space.

Dimensions (side chair): HxWxD: 88" x 64" x 48"


Wenger’s all steel Sydney Series is a workhorse with a beautifully simple design making it a best seller for worship centers and auditoria. The chair is available in five standard stain colors and a variety of patterns and materials. The chair comes with a 10-year warranty and there is an options for an ADA swing out for handicap aisle access.

Dimensions: Back Height: 34.5” Depth: 18.4”

Available in five chair widths: 20”, 21”, 22” and 23”

Standard seat back angles can be set at 18°, 22° and 26°.

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