“The funeral home’s colors and décor are very dated and need to be updated.” ~ This comment was taken directly from a survey received through OGR’s consumer feedback program, The Family Contact Program.


Family Contact Participants often receive comments that help them improve their business offerings and practices. Through the blog series “Exploring Solutions with Family Contact,” members get better insight into services that might benefit their funeral home.

The last thing you want to hear from a family is that they enjoyed your services, but felt that the appearance of your funeral home was too outdated. The truth is that families care more about how your funeral home looks than you might think. The design and décor of a funeral home can affect the experience of your guests. Your funeral home’s appearance could be keeping your business from reaching the next level of family satisfaction.  In this week’s blog, OGR will explore the topic of funeral home renovation and what this means for funeral homes and the families they serve.

 Hear it From an Expert

OGR asked Brent Behrens, CEO of Behrens Design and Development Inc. (a company that specializes in the architectural and interior design of funeral homes) to provide some insight into funeral home renovation.


Why is the funeral home’s appearance important to customers?

  • The Design and Decor Contributes to Customer’s Experiences – “A comfortable environment will always enhance the experience one has in a funeral home. If done right, the interior design and décor will leave a lasting impression and make the customers overall experience a positive one,” remarks Brent. The funeral home design can help ease the psychological effects of losing control or feeling confined. It can also encourage creative thinking among mourners and make them feel like they are more able to create an environment that they feel positive saying goodbye in.  


Why is renovating your funeral home important? 

  • It Contributes to Your Professionalism – Brent shares, “Renovating the interior as well as the exterior of a funeral home will show the community that you care about the level of service you provide, and that you are willing to put something back into the business to improve the funeral experience.” An updated environment speaks to the quality of your business and shows that you are operating for the present and not stuck in the past. People want the best so make some updates to your funeral home to make it look even better than it already does.
  • Appearance is a Factor When Choosing a Funeral Home – “An important factor that will influence a family’s decision on whether or not to use your funeral home is its appearance. Generally, most of our society places a great deal of importance on being a modernized environment. This holds true for the funeral home as well,” says Brent. Families are looking for a pleasant and familiar place to mourn, but they also want it to look high quality.

Ways to Get Started

There are many ways to begin renovating your funeral home. Below are some suggestions on how to prepare for renovations as well as some helpful ideas on how to get started.


In what ways should funeral home owners prepare for renovations?

  • Budget Annually for Renovations — “Every business is structured differently, but as a general rule, three to five percent of your annual budget should be allocated to upgrading and renovations,” says Brent.
  • Renovation Timeline— Brent shares, “We tell our clients that they should plan to renovate every five to seven years, in order to maintain a new and updated appearance.”


What are some quick and inexpensive ways to improve a funeral home’s appearance?

  • Fresh Paint and New Carpets– “Fresh paint, new carpet and new wall coverings are usually the most inexpensive upgrades,” explains Brent. The wall colors and carpet can enhance the overall environment of the funeral home.
  • New Furniture – A quick and easy way to give your funeral home an updated look and feel is to buy comfortable, modern furniture.
  • Lighting – Good lighting can transform a place and make people feel warm and welcomed. The less dark shadows, the better.
  • Green Plants – Plants bring life into your funeral home. It’s important to have some natural beauty displayed throughout your funeral home besides the service flowers. Plants are also known to lower stress.

What’s Trending?

For inspiration, here are a few funeral home renovations that are currently popular.

  • Outdoor Areas – Creating a beautiful and relaxing outside patio or garden is a great way for families to experience some serenity and peace during the funeral process. Several funeral homes are creating outdoor areas with fountains, small ponds and even walking paths for families to enjoy.
Horan & McConaty in Centennial, CO
  • Chapels That Don’t Look Like Chapels — Some funeral homes are redoing their chapels to look more like a living room area or a reception hall. This helps promote social interaction and lessens the formality of the chapel area.
chapel not chapels
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service in Madison, WI
  • Natural Lighting and Windows – Many funeral homes are getting rid of the heavy drapery and curtains and embracing natural light to help reduce feelings of confinement for families. Natural lighting also helps beautify any space.
green trees
Geib Funeral Home & Crematory in Dover, OH

If you are interested in renovating your funeral home and need help/advice, you can contact Brent Behrens of Behrens Design and Development Inc. at (866) 617-8778 for more information or visit their website at www.behrensdesign.com. Be sure to mention you’re an OGR member if you would like to receive the OGR member discount.

ShutterBug Headshots Austin TXBy Denise Rodriguez
Family Contact Program Manager

Read more about Denise.

Not sure if this is right for your funeral home? Find out what families in your community want by joining the Family Contact Program. For more information or to sign up, contact her at drodriguez@ogr.org or 800-637-8030.