Church Decorating Ideas

Written by toni owen
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Church Decorating Ideas
Christmas cribs make traditional decorations for the holidays. (Christmas scene image by Inhumane Productions from

From a simple one-room country building with a modest spire to an imposing structure with an elevated ceiling, stained glass windows and wide aisles leading to an elevated altar, churches vary widely. While adorning the space for weekly services is traditionally the responsibility of a committee of the congregation, others need guidance. There are a few rules for church decoration. Church calendars of events and time honoured traditions for both religious services and for secular events provide some clues.

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Banners brighten high, dark walls and commemorate an event, scriptural passage or times of the church calendar. Often made by children or women's groups, the banners hang from walls, across the space above the altar or at the entrance to the sanctuary, or display above the pews from the altar to the back.

Flowers associated with specific holidays like Easter lilies and Christmas poinsettias make better displays when massed rather than put singly along pews or walls. Plinths and planter stands vary the heights and a bright ribbon around the perimeter ties them all together.

Tall candles--battery operated or electric if in a high traffic area--illuminate dark corners, while cloth, floral or greenery garlands adorn the pews.


Decorate the altar simply with a cloth or runner, and set candles at the sides for light. Drape the lectern to the side of the altar with a matching runner embroidered with symbols and colours of the church season.

Set potted flowers or vases of fresh seasonal flowers on the floor--except during Lent, when altars are traditionally bare. Alternately, decorate with bouquets of dried flowers in winter.


Create a crèche scene outside the church or by the altar for Christmas. Decorate pews with scallops of greenery garland along centre aisle pews. Group poinsettias and holly behind the back row and use banners proclaiming the Christmas message. Fill dark corners with trees decorated with Christmas lights and ornaments made by the children. Advent wreaths decorate the outside and inside of church doors and boughs surround the Advent candles.

Put Easter lilies in a variety of baskets for grouped displays and use palms and leaves to decorate for Palm Sunday.


Traditionally, floral tributes are displayed around the coffin, portrait or urn at the front. Black garlands can reserve the family pews until the funeral service begins.

Rosettes of black cloth can adorn the sides of the pews.


Beribboned bouquets of the bride's favourite flowers can decorate the centre aisle pews. Group flowers in vases of various heights and tall candelabras at the back and front. Mark the occasion with red carpet down the centre aisle and garlands of greenery over the windows. Have a canopy by the altar where the couple will pledge their fidelity.

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