Church Chairs v. Pews: Weighing the Pros and Cons

Churches, especially start-ups, must decide between using church chairs or pews in their sanctuaries. But what’s the difference? What are the pros and cons of each choice?  Here are some thoughts that I hope will help make your choice easier.

SPACE/LAYOUT     How your sanctuary or meeting room is laid out and how much space you have is an obvious consideration.  Would long pews fit and give the attendees in every pew/seat a good view of the pulpit?  Is there space for an aisle and walkways if you use pews?  If you are using the space for multiple functions, would the flexibility and mobility of church chairs be a better fit for the space? If your location is not a permanent location, then adding pews could be high risk if you move into a new facility that doesn’t support a similar layout or functionality.  Church chairs can be moved out of the way, stacked for storage, and easily set up in different configurations or ganged together (with the included ganging brackets) for the ultimate in convenience and choice when it comes to space and layout.  Pews, on the other hand, cannot.

COST     The upfront cost between church chairs and pews differs greatly.  Church chairs are much less expensive for the initial purchase than pews, which are often hand-crafted from wood.  However, church chairs often need repaired or replaced before a long-lasting pew, so there could be additional costs after the initial purchase.  For a start-up church though, the initial budget is probably a little tighter and cost could be a deciding factor.

COMFORT     If you have a lot of young families in your church, pews make it easy for the kids to sprawl out (or squish together) and offer a surface to color in their coloring books or play on while keeping occupied so as not to disturb the rest of the congregation.  If you have a lot of older members in your church, a soft, padded church chair is going to be very comfortable during the hour -long sermon.  Where pews can have a hard back and sometimes a hard seat, chairs are much softer.  Church chairs give each person a pre-defined amount of space and wiggle room.  For adults, this might feel more comfortable, because we tend to want a set amount of personal space.

BOOKS & BULLETINS     Pews and church chairs are tied neck-to-neck on this consideration, because there are typically book racks attached to the back of pews, and church chairs offer a book rack beneath the seat and a pocket in the back, as well.  Both options offer the convenience of holding your Bible, hymnal, and program/bulletin during each service.

STYLE/AESTHETICS     When it comes to style, it is usually left to personal opinion.  There’s no denying the old world style and ultimate beauty of rows of wooden pews in a traditional style church.  However, church chairs offer a more modern and contemporary feel to a church’s setting.  Aesthetically speaking, both can be arranged in a neat and orderly manner, making either choice a beautiful edition to your sanctuary.

For churches looking to purchase church chairs or pews, please feel free to post your additional questions or comments below to help add to this debate.

Welcome to East Coast Chair & Barstool!

Who is East Coast Chair & Barstool? We are a dynamic group of people with our own hobbies and interests, but when we’re not hunting, fly fishing, scrapbooking, running our kids to and from after-school activities, playing Bunco, walking our doggies, or hanging out with friends and family, we are working together in our office/warehouse. Here, we help bars, restaurants, resorts, hotels, conference/banquet centers, social clubs, and churches find the tables, chairs, and barstools to fill their businesses – and fit their brands. To us, furniture is exciting. Along with a lot of other things.

East Coast Chair & Barstool, an authorized dealer of many manufacturers, started in the basement of our owners’ home in 2002. We’ve grown a lot since then. Today, we have multi-million dollars in annual sales, have accounts that range from small corner bars to huge theme park resorts, and employ a team of talented and passionate staff. In addition to being an authorized dealer of many national, made-in-the-USA vendors, we also import from manufacturers in China, with whom we directly collaborate with on design and quality standards, making sure we can pass along the best products at low prices.

Our products are available on our three Web sites:,, and

As I type, there is snow falling outside our Grove City, Pennsylvania, headquarters, but we deliver to all 48 continental states. So if you are opening a restaurant in Pittsburgh, ordering chairs for your temple in Boise, or remodeling a spa and resort in Phoenix, we can help you find the indoor and/or outdoor commercial furniture your business needs! With an array of products in various sizes, shapes, colors, and styles, we are confident we can help you find what you’re looking for.

We know purchasing furniture for your business isn’t always easy. There are a lot of questions. What is the benefit to offering church chairs instead of pew seating? Should I choose a swivel barstool or a stationary one? Would tables and chairs fit better in my restaurant than booth seating? How many banquet chairs will fit comfortably around this size of table? What base goes best with my commercial cafe table umbrellas? We know tables, chairs, and barstools. That’s why we are starting this blog! Because you know what you do best – whether it’s preparing the tastiest, juiciest, and most delicious filet mignon in your restaurant, bringing together a community of ministry in your church or temple, or accommodating your guests in your resort/hotel – we can help make your commercial furniture purchases a little easier. (We know how busy you are!)

Plus, you might hear some humorous, cute, heartwarming, or just plain quirky anecdotes about the people behind the tables, chairs, and barstools! While most of the blogging will be written by Emily, the web coordinator (that’s me!), the content will be borrowed from the collective knowledge, experience, and imaginations of our entire team of East Coasters. I hope this compilation of articles will be interesting, resourceful, helpful, and even a little fun – for both of us!

I invite you to follow me on this journey into all things chair and barstool. Learn with me. Learn from me. And learn to love reading me (so I hope)!

If you ever want to read an article about a certain topic, please just ask! I’ll see what I can do for you. Because any of my friends will tell you, I aim to please!

Until the next entry, welcome and happy furniture pondering.