A black urn sitting on a mantle, surrounded by candles and flowers
Dead Serious

Unique urn display ideas for your home

Dead Serious

Unique urn display ideas for your home

Decorating tips that are urn-believable!

More Americans are cremating their loved ones than ever before. While many will want to spread the deceased’s ashes outdoors, that might not be the best thing for the environment. So if you keep the remains, you have to think about what to do with the urn. You can’t just put your loved one in the attic like holiday decorations. I mean, you can, we’re not the urn police. It’s very rude though.

For the rest of us, we may start seeing urn displays become essential parts of people’s home decor. But how do you display an urn in your home? What are the considerations one has to make? Below we’ve listed some DIY tips to turn your home space into a wonderful memorial for your loved one’s memory.

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  1. Where can you put an urn display?
  2. Cremation urn display ideas
  3. Using life insurance to trick out your urn space

Where can you put an urn display?

When setting up a display to honor your loved one, you have to consider a couple of things—namely, where should they be and how big do you want to go? The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) has cited that the average size of an adult cremation urn is approx. 200 cubic inches or 9” tall. With this in mind, it’s important to consider what kind of urn you want and what kind of space it would work best in. Here are some display areas and design ideas to get you started.

Shelf or a bookshelf

Adult urns or smaller keepsake urns can accent well on a shelf or bookshelf. It’s a great way to work with the already existing aesthetic of the space. Plus, you can be as subtle as you want without having to buy or build something new. An urn display shelf can be classy and respectful.


Similar to a shelf or bookshelf, a desk is a great way to have the urn work with the already existing look of a room. A desk is a bit more prominent but, you still don’t have to build or buy anything new. Plus, if the desk is in your office, it won’t be something guests will regularly be interacting with as offices tend to be more private.

Nightstand or end table

Nightstands can work well because you can be as subtle or over-the-top as you want with them. Bedrooms are mostly private to guests, so if you want your honoring of your loved one to be a bit more personal, a nightstand can be a great way to achieve that.

Meanwhile, having an urn on an end table is more public, but still understated. Or you can use an urn stand as an end table in your living or dining room. Both of these options are great ways to soften the urn’s aesthetic involvement.

Entire wall

If subtlety isn’t what you want, you can dedicate an entire wall to your loved one’s remains. You can use a bookshelf, display case, desk, alongside items and pictures, even wall-mounted urns themselves to really showcase the importance of the remembered.


An altar is a structure with a flat top that is used in certain religious ceremonies, such as sacrifices to gods, ancestors, etc. Having an urn display shelf or space in your home doesn’t automatically make it an altar as you have to use it as a part of religious actions. However, having an urn as part of an altar can be a great way to honor your loved ones who have transitioned into being ancestors.

Cremation urn display ideas

This is where you get to flex your design skills. Here you get to design a space that complements your home aesthetics while also honoring the memory of your loved one. There are a couple of things to consider when thinking of how to display an urn in your home.

Pick a complementary design aesthetic

If you want, this one can be more about your space than your loved one. Once you know where you want to set up the display, think about how to use it to complement the design of the room or your home overall. If you have a more modern home, classical furniture used for the urn display may clash with your aesthetic and vice versa. On the flip side, however, if your loved one had a flair for classical designs, maybe including that can itself be a way to honor their memory. Whichever you decide to go with, make sure you’re happy with the space.

Put items your loved one enjoyed on the urn display

Did your loved one have that one sports team they backed (even if they weren’t very good)? You can decorate the urn display shelf or area with items from that sports team. Or, if they were an artist, maybe you could showcase some of their work. Having things the deceased loved be present on their urn display is a great way to have a snapshot of who they were in life.

Include important items that remind you of them

If you have valuable memorabilia of your loved one, you can decorate your cremation urn display space with them. These can be items like photographs of either casual or important events in their life or things that were important to them. Did your loved one have a watch they always wore or an identifying pair of glasses? Put them on the urn display space to make it even more personable to who they were.

Have fun with it!

Death can be hard, but urn displays are about remembering the good your loved ones brought into your life. Think about it, if they weren’t good, you wouldn’t be setting up a space in your home for them. Even somber spaces can stimulate your creativity. What kind of urn design do you want your loved one to be held within? Something simple? Or are you going all out with it? If they’re on a table, do you want to add a backdrop or table cloth? And think about extra bits like flowers, incense, and other decorations that can really tie the room together.

Using life insurance to trick out your urn space

If you have a life insurance policy, you can communicate with your beneficiaries what kind of funeral you want to have. If you choose to be cremated, you can also set expectations for some of the payout to go towards a sweet sweet urn display. For example, if you’re a Wysh policyholder, you can discuss these intentions with our Wysh Granters, our customer support team who guide beneficiaries through the claims process. They’ll make sure your beneficiaries know what you would want the payout to be used for (like tricking out a sick urn).

But setting up space in your home where you can honor the memory of those who are gone can help you work through your grief. It can bring out your creativity at a time when you might be particularly vulnerable. This isn’t true for everyone, but if you think it could be helpful to your grieving process, then happy decorating!

The opinions we expressed in this post are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations.