Design Ideas for Coffee Shops in a Church

by Alana Armstrong ; Updated September 26, 2017

Barista standing in front of a coffee machine.

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A church coffee shop helps extend the church community beyond weekly sermons, provide a meeting space for church groups and offer employment or volunteer opportunities to churchgoers. The design of the space will play a role in how the coffee shop engages church members, so it should be well planned. After that, the most important things are that the coffee is fresh and the service is gracious.

Overview of Design

Consider how the cafe will work in conjunction with the church congregation. When will the shop be open? Will it host small functions? Who is likely to patronize the shop, families or single adults? How much space is available? Answering questions like these will help direct you to the most appropriate layout and interior-design scheme. Take some inspiration from the rest of the church building. Look at the art and design concepts used in the surrounding building and think about how can they be used in the cafe to create a natural flow throughout the church.


Select furniture to accommodate multiple functions. The coffee shop needs to accommodate meetings, social events, private chats and quiet reading time. A mix of straight-backed chairs, arm chairs, low side tables and larger tables allow all of these activities to take place simultaneously and comfortably. Lighting fixtures should be cohesive with the overall design and brighten the entire space. Use overhead lights as much as possible to cut down on obstacles in the cafe area, although some floor or table lamps can be included in corners with arm chairs.


To give the coffee shop space a distinct personality, turn to a few details that will reflect the values of the church and individuality of the congregation. Ask parishioners to contribute ideas or items, such as hand crafts made by members, floral arrangements to match the seasons or a sanctuary lamp that has been retired from church services. Details can also manifest themselves as activities for patrons, such as a chess set, board games, a few decks of cards or a bookshelf that stocks inspiring books and religious resources.


Consider adding outdoor seating to take advantage of pleasant weather. If you can, prop open windows and doors to help connect the outdoor seating with the activity inside. Choose outdoor furniture that accentuates the indoor decor and is suited to the climate. Place the furniture away from the heaviest areas of traffic, especially if the cafe is open before and after services.


The coffee shop is an excellent venue for local artists to show and sell their work. Choose pieces that are appropriate to the church setting and reflect the values of the community. Photography, hand crafts, woodwork and paintings make beautiful additions to the coffee-shop space and create an ever-changing design.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Alana Armstrong started her writing career in 2005, covering street art and graffiti. She currently works as a freelance writer, photographer and artist in Toronto. Armstrong has a diploma in photojournalism from Sheridan College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photo media from the University of New South Wales.