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How to Choose a Keepsake Cremation Urn for Keeping at Home

Placing a loved one’s ashes into an urn can be a difficult thing to accomplish. You might even put it off for a while, dreading the sense of finality such an act can bring.

There can be a better way to approach this experience: with fondness and clear memories. This is why many people choose a keepsake cremation urn for their loved ones.

Unlike most traditional urns, a keepsake urn embodies the memory of the deceased. It’s a unique decorative addition to your home that’ll lead to smiles once you look upon it.

To help you choose the perfect urn, we’ve put together this guide to simplify the urn options for you. Continue reading to learn how to select the ideal urn for your family.

Intended Location

The first thing to consider is where you intend to keep the urn after cremation. If you don’t have any ideas, start by asking yourself a few questions. These can include questions like:

  • Do you want to keep it on a shelf, above a mantel, or on a dedicated shrine area?
  • Do you want it to sit outside in a thriving garden?
  • Do you want the urn to be portable so multiple family members can cherish it?

Certain urn materials shouldn’t be exposed to sunlight as it could warp the container or fade a design. When in doubt, choose a place for the urn that doesn’t get hit by direct sunlight for too long. This will ensure that the urn and the ashes will avoid any potential UV damage.


Another vital consideration is the size you want for the urn. A good rule of thumb is to measure based on the weight of the deceased. 1 pound equals around 1 cubic inch of space within the urn.

If you’re planning an ash scattering ceremony, remember to save an appropriate amount before filling the chosen urn.

Urn Material

The material you select for an urn has an impact on all the other decisions you make. Some materials are longer lasting, but others are more affordable. Some allow for more intricate design choices while others work best in larger shapes.


Wood is a classic choice and has an inherent natural beauty that people love. It’s easy to carve into different shapes and sizes or to embed keepsakes into the material. You can customize wooden urns further with stains and finishes.

It’s a sturdy material but can be damaged or scratched. It’s not the best choice if you live in high-humidity areas which could warp the wood over time.


Glass is a unique material choice because of its transparent quality. Instead of keeping the ashes hidden from view, you can use the ashes in the glass itself.

The glass can be in any color you choose. This creates a crystal-like structure that looks beautiful from every angle.

Because it’s a fragile material, you’ll need to make sure to keep this particular type of urn protected. Families with children or pets should place a glass urn far out of reach.


Another naturally beautiful material is various stones. Although it’s often difficult to carve stones into intricate designs, they are long-lasting and durable. Stone has a heft and weight that feels protective, which makes it the perfect receptacle for a loved one’s remains.

This is a great choice if you plan to place the urn outside because the stone will withstand weather and temperature changes.


Metal lends itself to an urn design that’s both elegant and durable. It has a glimmer you can’t replicate with other types of materials.

It’s easy to mold into varying shapes and sizes. It can even be painted, engraved, or used as a secondary design element.

With so many different metals to pick between, you’re sure to find one that suits your particular design idea.


If you plan to have an urn burial at home, you may want to select a biodegradable urn. This will allow the urn and the buried ashes to become one with the soil. These urns come in materials such as:

  • Dried salt
  • Plant fibers
  • Sand
  • Recycled paper

It’s a good choice for planting a flower or tree in the same place and honoring family wishes. Without the ability to degrade, the plant won’t have the right nutrients to grow and thrive.

Design Ideas

Once you’ve decided on the three key elements of the urn, it’s time to figure out the design aspects. Take time to think about your loved one and consider their hobbies, personality, dreams, and achievements.

Honoring Veterans

People who served the country deserve to have their dedication honored and respected. An urn that displays this love for the country is a distinguished way to honor the deceased.

The urn could have the American flag painted into the design. It could also have an important rank or insignia engraved into the material.

Functional Urn

Most urns have their designs focused on being meaningful decoration pieces. Some families, however, prefer their urns to serve a function. It’s a remarkable way to allow the urn to be a real part of your everyday life.

For example, consider an urn that also functions as a clock. It’ll help you every single day which is a lovely way to pay homage to a passed loved one.


Few things are as captivating as a mosaic of colorful tiles. That kind of design can emphasize personality or a love for anything creative.

Since a mosaic can be made up of almost anything, this gives you a chance to show off your loved one’s favorite colors in a beautiful array. You could go even further and customize the tiles to have different designs. If your loved one adored florals, each tile could be a petal or have an engraving of a flower.


When a loved one passes on, it can be difficult to think of them as they were. At the beginning of the grieving phase, it’s hard to picture anything other than a sorrowful final image.

This is why an urn featuring a gorgeous photograph of your loved one is such a popular choice.

You’ll see a photo of your loved one beaming at the camera every time you look at the urn. It can change an urn into a helpful part of your healing process. It’s also a wonderful way to keep a person’s spirit alive, even to those who may be too young to remember them.


An artistic urn brings the beauty of artwork into the design of the urn. It can feature things like painted branches of blooming trees or birds in flight. Favorite animals or an important landscape can also work well for this style of urn.

You could even customize the urn to feature artwork made by the deceased. Bring new life to the things your loved one enjoyed during their life so that it can bring joy to yours, too.


When people think of urns, they often have a singular idea in mind: oval-shaped and plain. While this is a classic choice for a reason, some families prefer to go with something with more personality.

Rather than a typical urn, you could place the ashes inside of an intricate statue.

This works wonders for families who want something unique or dislike the idea of remains in the home. With a statue urn, you’ll often forget it’s an urn at all. Instead, you’ll see a statue of a majestic eagle or a wise owl. This will help you think about your loved one without the normal associations connected to cremation urns.

Companion Urns

A companion urn is the ideal choice for the situation when you want to show a clear connection between two loved ones. A married couple, for example, are the typical candidates for urns like this.

This is because the design is created with two urns in mind. The design won’t be complete without the other half.

It’s an elegant way to keep a loving pair together even after they’ve passed on.

Taking Care of an Urn

Choosing an urn design full of meaning also means you should learn how to keep human ashes safe. While the urn is your first line of defense to protect the contents, there are a few things you can do to help, including:

  • Keep the urn in a safe place
  • Dust the urn with a dry, soft cloth
  • Place the urn in a dry area away from direct sunlight
  • Polish wooden urns once or twice a year
  • Avoid harsh chemicals near the urn

Beautiful Keepsake Cremation Urn

Choosing the right keepsake cremation urn can take time. This guide is here to help make the process easier, but don’t feel rushed into a decision. Finding the perfect memorial urn is a worthwhile endeavor that should take as long as necessary.

At Lone Star Cremation, we know this is a difficult time for your family. We aim to make your experience as simple, meaningful, and convenient as possible. Take a closer look at our beautiful selection of keepsake urns to see how they can help you honor your loved one.

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