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  • Alex E. Wendt

Decorative Painting in Churches: 7 Inspirational Ideas

Restoring a church can be expensive, and you may find that despite your constant tidying and touching up, your church is beginning to look tired and worn. Painting a church is an easy way to lift its look and add decoration.

Surprisingly, you do not need to break the bank to do it. From total rehauls to adding decorative painting touches, we give you seven inspirational ideas to brighten up your church. 

1. Add a Mural

A mural is described as a painting or work of art that is applied directly to a wall. There are some beautiful murals related to worship littered throughout the world. Having one in your church will be a real focal and talking point for the local community. 

Consider hiring an artist to paint a scene from the bible. This could be related to the name of your church. If doing so, be sure to get all details correct and double-check the initial sketches with the artist.

You may decide to give it an older aesthetic, in which case you should look at the Byzantine murals at the church of Timios Stavros in Cyprus. This classical painting style would look fantastic juxtaposed in a modern building, or a more traditional church. 

2. Redesign the Stations of the Cross

Many churches, across different faiths, house their versions of the stations of the cross. Also known as the way of the cross, or way of sorrows, the 14 pictures depict the path Jesus took from his condemnation to his crucifixion at Mount Calvary. The 14 pictures are often numbered and laid out in order, telling the story of Christ's final hours. 

Though the stations represent a somber moment of sadness, that does not mean their depictions have to be created in this way. While many churches may opt for wood carvings and monotone drawings, your stations can be updated. They could be painted in a modernist style using color and new techniques. 

3. Add Decorative Painting to the Roof

You could have your own Sistine chapel if you decide to paint on to your roof. In fact, with just a little decoration on the ceiling of your church, you can really lift the whole building. You do not have to go as far as the famous Vatican City chapel, but you can add small touches and flourishes to enhance the appearance. 

One idea is to paint a starry night on to the roof of your church. This will bring the outside in, and give the impression of a gateway to heaven. Keep in mind that painting a roof may take more setting up than normal paint, so you may have to close the church longer for renovations. 

4. Go Minimalist

If all the talk of adding color, decoration, and sparkle to your church just does not seem to fit, then go in the opposite direction. Turn your church minimalist and give it a modern makeover. This can look just as exciting as any bright paint scheme.

Strip the church back to bare white and greys. If you have any features such as stained glass, this will really put the attention on them so make sure they are in great condition and well repaired. Finally, make sure any wood an natural products such as your pews are well maintained and oiled. 

Remove any unnecessary items from the church. Light it will large candles and make sure walkways are clear. 

5. Bring the World to Your Church

The world is a big, wide, and vast place. Across it, Christianity has been incorporated with a range of different art forms and styles. Just because you have a traditional church, does not mean that your paintings and aesthetic style need to be the same. 

Try to incorporate some elements of worship from around the world into your house. You may look at the wood and gold 2D iconostasis artwork from Russia. You may decide to employ bold, Central, or South American designs into your church. 

This will work even better if your church has links with the country. Perhaps the town you are in is descended from settlers, or you have a large contingency from somewhere else in the globe. Look at your congregation for ideas.

6. Reflect Your Stained Glass

The next task will only work if you have stained glass in your church. If you do, think yourself very lucky as the stained glass can really enhance the mood of a church. Take a good look at what you have, then pick out your two favorite colors as the light hits it. 

These are the colors that will be used to add color to your building. If they are quite bold, you do not have to paint the whole place in them. Instead, opt for larger patches of a neutral color such as white, then use your color scheme in decorations, smaller walls, and furniture.

7. Paint Your Exterior

The exterior of your churches just as important as the inside. While many people may have natural wood or stone finishes, other churches can have the option to paint the exterior. You should look at color schemes that you would see on large houses, and match them to any door or sills colors you have. 

As a general rule, the busier the exterior, the more streamlined the interior should be, and vice verse. This will stop your place of worship looking messy and untidy. 

Ask the Congregation

Before you even open a can of paint or lift a brush, ask your congregation what they think. They are the people who will be using the space. Discuss some of the ideas with them and show them some samples, as they may have even better thoughts and plans.


If you are looking for help and assistance when painting and decorating your church, visit our website. We have been restoring churches since 1989 and have the experience and knowledge to make your place of worship look beautiful. Contact us for a quote today!


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