Variations on Catholic Church Interior Design


The Catholic Church Interior Design has a 2000 year history of producing some of the most stunningly beautiful buildings on the face of the earth. Intended to inspire, some of the most famous artists ever have been commissioned to adorn the great cathedrals of Europe and North America.

The purpose of these grand edifices has been to lift people’s hearts and open their minds and increase their devotion. They offer a place of worship where they will leave with a sense of reaching new heights in their spiritual lives.

Modern Catholic Church design retains those same goals, even in the smallest of chapels. As the Catholic religion has no specific design requirements, the local congregations may choose a theme that best serves their needs and aspirations. Some larger parishes may choose to emulate the great cathedrals in concept.

Smaller parishes may seek a different source of inspiration, blending their building in with nature’s surroundings, making the church more of a quiet space for introspective meditation. For this reason, churches often draw upon the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Augustine or St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

This is not a new concept. When immigrants came to the US, they would usually choose a city and neighborhood where their fellow countrymen resided. And when churches were designed, it often reflected the style of the churches from where they emigrated.

When choosing a central theme for their design, church leaders will often seek out a designer with varied experience in different themes. Often, an extensive interview with the proposed designer is important.

Rather than accepting the concepts of the architect or interior designer, it is a good idea to give the designer the history of the parish, the nature of the congregation, the saint for which the parish will be named and other background information. This allows the professional the ability to develop of a concept in tune with the needs and desires of the parish.

After the overall ideas are in place, the architect and designers can incorporate these ideas into the blueprint. A church that seeks to blend in with nature may choose a design with a large array of windows to allow more light into the building.

Those with a close congregation may choose a more theater oriented seating arrangement, rather than the more traditional linear pew seating. But whatever the design, the one that will provide the most lasting impression on the parishioners will be on that comes from the skill of the designer and the overall guidance of the church leaders.