How and Where to Store an Urn

Final arrangements FAQWhen a loved one is cremated, there are many options available for honoring the life of the individual in the storage or disposition of the remains. These options can generally be distilled down to three basic choices, each of which will be discussed in its own post:

  1. Burial
  2. Scattering
  3. Storage

Click the link to view each disposition method. In today’s post, we will discuss the options for urn storage, in the home or in a columbarium.

Urn Storage: Mausoleum, Columbarium, Niche

Urn Storage in Mausoleum or ColumbariumThese three terms usually refer to the same thing: a compartment in which to store an urn.

A mausoleum is simply any building in which cremated remains are stored. Mausoleums are generally a part of a funeral home or cemetery.

A columbarium is a structure with niches (small spaces) for placement of cremated remains in urns or other approved containers. It may be outdoors, as its own building, or as a separate wing of a mausoleum.

A niche is exactly what it sounds like, a small compartment for holding a cremation urn, usually one of many on a wall in a columbarium. Sometimes a niche can have a glass door, so that the urn can be visibly displayed; more often the niches are designed along the lines of a decorative safety deposit box with a metal door for permanent storage of the urn.

Be sure to find out the exact dimensions of the urn vault or niche before you purchase a cremation urn. Many of our urns at Urns Northwest will fit into standard columbarium urn niches, and many more can be modified to fit.

Urn Storage: In the Home

Urn storage at home

Urns can be stored or displayed at home; for storage in an out-of-the-way location such as a closet or drawer you can use the box provided from the crematorium, or choose a simple and affordable urn from our wide selection.

For display of an urn in your home, be aware of the size restrictions for where you want to display the urn, but also be sure to choose an urn that will be a fitting way to honor the individual no matter where the urn is placed.

Additionally, if your loved one’s final resting place is in a columbarium niche but you would still like to have something to display in honor of the memory of your loved one, there are many memorial keepsake urns available which hold a small amount of remains. These are ideal for display in a wide variety of places, such as a fireplace mantle, a bookshelf, or end table, while remaining small and unobtrusive.


Read Next: 68 Interesting to Do with Cremation Ashes

7 thoughts on “How and Where to Store an Urn”

  1. Hi,
    Hy husband and I had a conversation before him passing about how we wish to be put to rest. He had been diagnose with ALS at the time he asked me to keep his remains around us, our daughter and I, to create a meditation corner in our back yard decorated with a bench and fountain that we could often visit . Now, I am ready to start this project and my question to you: is a traditional metal urn safe to bury without disintegrating ? I want to be able to take the urn with me if I move.

  2. Maderlene, any metal urn will deteriorate over time. You will want to use a burial vault to protect a wood or metal urn for burial, especially if you plan on moving it later.

  3. Hi Mary,

    Contact local funeral homes in your area, and they should be able to give you a quote and/or give you info for columbariums that can.


  4. As I shop for a burial vault for the urn, they all seem easily compromised. You have a seam on each where it opens and closes… and I’m begininng to think a time capsule that is waterproof would be better. Ideas?

  5. Is it legal to keep a small necklace type size urn as a keepsake, to keep at home? I was told that is against the law.

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