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The pros and cons of living in a converted chapel

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July 1, 2015
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You might not think it, but living in a converted chapel or church is now becoming increasingly popular, and their popularity is growing every year.

1288991_fc12d71eAround 18,000 churches have been sold off in the UK in recent years, and experts are predicting another 10% of the more than 45,000 remaining churches and chapels will be put into private hands before 2020 – only adding fuel to the fire of this latest housing craze.

Even as far back as 2008, just a distant memory now, a survey by the website PropertyFinder revealed that churches and chapels are now the most popular ‘unusual’ building for prospective homeowners, even outpacing barn conversions in the race to be the most sought-after renovation space.

We set to finding out just what made these conversions so popular, and came up with these top five pros and cons of chapel life:


  • Distinctive – Mindy from accounts might be bragging about her new extension, and Matt from marketing about his glittering new kitchen, but to hell with them – you’ve got original stained-glass windows and a church bell! Living in a church means never having to be envious of anyone else every again.
  • Natural Light – As well as looking nice and showing off some lovely biblical scenes, the large windows present in most chapels and churches provide huge quantities of natural light – perfect for a light and airy family home.
  • Open Spaces – Most chapels are just one large room – maybe with a couple of smaller rooms tacked on the side – making them perfect for conversion into enormous living rooms, studio apartments and open-plan kitchens, using the building’s size and shape to its fullest.
  • Mountain-top serenity

    Mountain-top serenity

    Choice of Location – Thanks to the Victorians, the most prolific of church builders, cities, towns and villages across the UK are all home to many churches and chapels. Whether you want a slice of tranquility in the middle of a city or a rural retreat, there’s a chapel out there for you.

  • Tranquility – Whether it’s been converted into a home, or is still a functioning place of worship, there is something undeniably calming and serene about churches and chapels – a feeling that survives long after the congregation has moved out.


  • Poor Condition – Many of the buildings put up for sale by the Church have been empty for many years, if not decades. Churches are closed once their congregation dwindles to the point where it is merged with another, and the money often isn’t available to maintain empty churches. Combined with their age, older building materials and techniques, and the listed status of many older buildings, potential buyers might have a lot of work on their hands come renovation day.
  • Competition – With their distinctive looks, history and good locations, buildings put up for sale by the Church are always fiercely fought over by prospective buyers and developers. Expect stiff competition when you make an offer to buy a chapel to move into.
  • Heating – The stained-glass windows, open spaces and high ceilings might look nice, but they’ll have a serious impact on your heating bills. Churches are well known for being cold even in the middle of summer, so you’ll need to wrap up warm if you’re going to make it through the winter.
  • How far will your budget stretch?

    How far will your budget stretch?

    Graves – Some churches and chapels have rules in place that allow visitors to graves even after the grounds have left Church hands. This can both mean that you will need to allow the public into your land to visit graves, and that you won’t be able to do too much with your garden – and getting permission to move human remains is both a legal and moral minefield.

  • Price – With competition high, limited buildings available, various unique selling points and the general rise in housing prices in the UK, buyers face paying a premium for churches and chapels to renovate.

Adrian Flux offers a wide range of specialist home insurance policies, including insurance for chapel and church conversions. To get more information, visit or call 0800 369 8590 today.

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