Church draperies are functional and beautiful. They're used to make large spaces into smaller spaces for meetings and education. Draperies are used to hide lighting, music equipment and the participants in worship services and they also help control the sounds that often reverberate in large open spaces like sanctuaries. Church draperies function to frame the alter, enhancing its importance and its beauty. Church draperies are often colored to match the season, helping emphasize the symbolism of the service.
Dividers are walls created from draperies. Hung on divider tracks, these customized walls are easily opened or closed to create smaller spaces or to open several small areas into one large area. Divider draperies are less expensive than traditional walls and provide more flexibility. Churches use divider draperies to make fellowship, child care, and classroom areas smaller for classes, group meetings, and other small gatherings.
Traveler draperies are the main act drapery. They're often in two sections and each section is drawn to opposing sides. Traveler draperies are hung on tracks that overlap each other so when they're drawn closed, there's no gap in between the two sides. Churches use traveler draperies to frame the platform or altar area of the sanctuary, and in some cases, to divide it into two smaller areas for small services or events.
Venetian draperies are draperies that run the full expanse of the altar area. These draperies are opened by lifting or raising the drapery, and closed by lowering the drapery until it reaches the floor. Venetian draperies are sometimes used as the backdrop of the altar area in churches, particularly when the sanctuary faces an interior wall. Austrian draperies are a variation of Venetian draperies, which raise in swags that stack on top of one another. This style of venetian drapery is sometimes considered more elegant and dramatic.
Masking draperies are those that hang on either side of the altar area. Masking draperies are used to hide lights, equipment and service participants from the view of the congregation. These draperies are made wider or narrower to make the altar area larger or smaller, but they're not used to fully close off the area like traveling draperies sometimes are. Another benefit of masking drapes is their sound deadening quality, which conceals noise made by equipment and those awaiting their turn in the church services.