12 Ways to Create a Funeral Home Ambiance Your Families Will Fall in Love With

will you be my valentine (1)

It’s Valentine’s Day, which means love is in the air!

Speaking of valentines… could your funeral home’s interior use a little extra love this Valentine’s Day?

If your funeral home has peeling wallpaper, that infamous “funeral home smell,” or looks like it was decorated circa 1920, chances are it does need a little makeover.

I posted a question on our Facebook earlier this week asking our fans what their families loved most about their funeral home. I couldn’t believe that every single one of them had the same answer.

Can you guess what they all said? 

It was homeyness!

If you want to make your funeral home “homey”,  you’ll have to think about all five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, taste. Check out these easy-to-implement changes you can make to your funeral home that will make your families fall in love with it!

Sights

1. Add some personalization

Famous interior designer Judith Wilson once said “‘Inviting’ means seeing a bit of you in your home.” Help your families feel at home by allowing them to personalize the interior to their liking. At the NFDA convention this year, one funeral home owner told me that he leaves his walls blank and allows his families to add their own wall decorations during the service. This is a great idea because not only will this make your families feel at home – it will also help make their service more meaningful for them.

2. Let the sun shine!

Everyone knows sunshine boosts your serotonin levels, therefore making you happier. By ripping your dusty, old curtains of your windows, you’ll literally (we’re talking brain chemicals here) be making your families happier. If you’re not comfortable ripping off all your curtains, try getting sheer ones that offer privacy during a service, but still let the sun peek through.

3. Add some color with plants

While your funeral home is usually covered in flowers during a service, it’s still important that you add a little “natural beauty” to the rest of your funeral home. You can achieve this by putting plants (both big and small) throughout. Not only do plants bring life into your funeral home (pun intended), but they also help reduce stress – in fact, simply glancing at a plant is known to lower your heart rate.

Funeral Home Ambiance


4. Garden/Patio Area

Providing a place of serenity where families can reflect and get some alone time during such a difficult time is a great way to provide a little extra value to your families. Horan & McConaty Funeral Home has done a great job with that with their cremation garden. Their cremation garden is complete with a pond, fountains, flowers and even walking paths.

SONY DSC

 

 

Sounds

5. The serene sound of water

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class or gotten a massage, you might have noticed that they played the sound of water. Isn’t the sound of ocean waves, rain or waterfalls so relaxing? Consider putting a mini water fountain in your funeral home by the sitting area like the one below. Families will appreciate the relaxing environment you’ve provided them with during such a difficult time.

Funeral Home Ambiance


6. The sound of music

I don’t know about you, but when I’m sad, stressed or angry, I like to listen to music to bring me back to a happy place. If you have a sitting area for families during the arrangement or service process, keep some iPods or MP3 players with headphones around so families and funeral guests can kick back and listen to some music on their down time.

 

Taste

7. Open a cafe

If you visit someone’s house and they offer you snacks or beverages, doesn’t it make you feel that much more comfortable and welcomed? The same should go for your funeral home. Create a cafe area in your funeral home stocked with some snacks, coffee, tea and beverages so your families have something to munch on and somewhere to munch at.

A great example of this is Robinson Funeral Home, who is opening up a Starbucks Cafe in their funeral home, calling it the “Coffee Corner”.

Funeral Home Ambiance

 

Smell

8. Light some candles or incense

Putting candles or incense in your funeral home is the perfect way to avoid that infamous “funeral home” smell that people talk about. You can also use the power of certain scents to improve your families moods and help them relax a bit. Check out the quick guide below to determine which scents are right for you and your families.

Do you want to…

  • Improve moods? Use scents like lemon, cinnamon and vanilla.
  • Reduce anxiety and tension? Try scents like lavender, cedar, orange, jasmine and bergamot.
  • Heighten relaxation? Try chamomile, marjoram, sandalwood, nutmeg and spiced apple. Not only do these scents add relaxation – they’re known to reduce blood pressure too!

9. Bake cookies in the oven

If you decide to put a kitchen or cafe in your funeral home, try this trick: bake cookies right before your families come in for an arrangement meeting or right after the service. You’ll make your kitchen area smell delicious and your families will love that you went out of your way to bake them sweets – the perfect comfort food!

 

Touch

10. Offer massage chairs
If you’ve got a little extra money after your funeral home renovation and are looking to spend it, think about investing in massage chairs. Not only will they create a sense of serenity and relaxation, but you’ll get people in your community talking about how above and beyond you’ve gone to make your funeral home “homey”.

Funeral Home Ambiance

 

Take it a little further

10. Tap into a great American staple

If you live somewhere where warm weather is prominent, consider putting a patio area outside of your funeral home. Because barbeque is a great American staple, you’ll probably surprise yourself by how many families request to use that space – either for recreation or as a part of the service for their loved one.

Funeral Home Ambiance


11. Reception Facility

Maple Grove Cemetery has done a great job at offering their community more than just one use for their cemetery. They opened up a reception facility for their families to use. It’s been so successful, they’ve hosted weddings there! If you’ve got the budget, opening up a reception facility could be a great way for you to remain profitable and relevant to today’s families.

12. Game Room

Funeral guests are overlooked all too often – particularly younger children.  To avoid children running around your funeral home with ants in their pants, consider creating a game room to entertain the younger crowd. Putting board games, ping pong, coloring books, magazines and toys in your game room won’t cost you much, and your older guests will be thankful that you’ve thought about every aspect of their loved one’s funeral service.

 

In the end, the more you give, the more you get. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time to create a funeral home ambiance your families will fall in love with. Just start simple and keep your budget and end goals in mind!

 

How have you made your families fall in love with your funeral home’s ambiance? Share your thought in the comments below!

 

Rochelle Rietow

funeralOne

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  5. Eddie Brannon

    Thanks – these are great ideas.

  6. Krystal

    Eddie, thanks for reading them! Glad you found them to be helpful 🙂

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  13. celeste

    I am a stager who normally decorates homes for sale. Two of my family members recently passed away without a will. I have been charged with settling the funeral expenses for both family members.

    The funeral home that provided services for my family members is in the process of renovating their funeral home. I asked the funeral director consider me to decorate their sitting area and their small conference room.

    Do you think its a good idea to barter my services in exchange for lower the balance of the funeral bill?