4 Priorities of Great Stage Design

great stage design

Running a site like ChurchStageDesignIdeas.com, I’ve seen thousands of stage designs.

It’s sexy, seeing what brand new types of materials innovative churches start using. And I’ve even had the fun of designing my own stages with my own unique materials. I’ve used PVC, cellophane, stretch fabric, light bulbs… Always looking for the next cool material to blow people’s minds.

The thing is, though, that the key to a great stage design isn’t necessarily the unique material you use. In fact, I’d actually venture to say it’s the least important thing in the mix. Yet, that’s what most people put all of their priority and budget into.

If it’s not materials, though, what is the priority with stage design? I’d say you should approach stage design in this order.

1. Structure

Structure is the least sexy part of a stage design. But it’s the most important. Firstly, it’ll make your stage changes much easier. If you have a great pipe grid on your back wall or a trussing system in your ceiling, it makes new ideas a cinch to pull off.

More important than that, though, is the safety issue. Having a great system to support your elements will make sure people don’t get squashed by that epic stage design element you hang. It’ll make sure nothing catches fire. And it’ll give you peace of mind while setting up that the whole design won’t collapse as soon as you leave the room.

You should consider pausing your next stage design one month just to save the budget for better structure.

2. Lighting

Next is lighting. A great stage design will look mediocre with bad lighting. But even a boring stage design can look incredible with a bit of haze and the appropriate fixtures.

Focus on front-lighting first – specifically the quality of light and the angle so it doesn’t wash out projection screens or stage design elements. Then focus on back-lighting to help separate your speakers/musicians from the backdrop. And then focus on colored lighting for your elements (though sometimes this will satisfy a bit of your back-lighting needs too).

Structure is the least sexy part of a stage design, but it’s the most important. @jonathanmalm Click To Tweet

3. Re-Usable Materials

The next most important thing when you’re planning your budget for your stage design is re-usable material. Spending $300 on aluminum foil is fine if there’s that much left in the budget. But it that zaps your whole stage design budget for the month, why not instead put that $300 in a material that won’t fall apart as soon as you take it down?


Durable materials that are also re-configurable will go a long way in your future. Look at LED tape, fabric, or pre-fabricated pieces like ModScenes panels – which are easy to re-arrange and store. You’ll get tons of stage designs in the future by prioritizing flexible materials.

4. Stage Design Elements

Finally, if there’s money left in the budget, you can get those super special and specific stage design materials. But do that only when you’ve prioritized the first three things. This will help you make your church stage design its most effective and efficient.

There’s the list! Do you agree? How do you approach prioritizing your stage design budget? Share in a comment below.