Best Environmentally Sustainable Cremation

What to Consider Before Choosing a Columbarium Niche

What to Consider Before Choosing a Columbarium Niche
Are you considering a columbarium niche as a final resting place? If so, there are a number of things to consider before purchasing a niche.

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As the rate of cremation rises so does the demand for columbarium niches. A columbarium is a structure or building where urns with cremated remains are stored. Within the columbarium there are niches. These are alcoves, shelves or compartments where urns are placed for permanent storage. Columbariums are considered final resting places and are usually located in cemeteries or church grounds. 

Based on some of the latest data from the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), over 8% of people choose to place cremated remains in a columbarium. But that number is likely to grow as more people choose cremation over burial. If you’re one of the many people who are considering a columbarium here are a few things to consider before purchasing a niche. 

The Size and Shape of the Urn

There are a lot of things to consider when you’re choosing an urn, and that can have an impact on the niche that is chosen. In fact, for many people this is the biggest consideration. That’s because niches are a certain size and shape. If you already have an urn, then you’ll have to find a niche where it will fit. 

For reference, many single-urn columbarium niches are between 9” wide x 9” tall  x 9” deep and 12” wide x 12” tall  x 12” deep. 

How Many Remains Will Be Stored in the Niche

Is the columbarium niche for a single person or an entire family? In addition to different sized urns, columbariums can accommodate different numbers of urns as well. This again is a matter of niche size. If you have an oversized urn that’s storing the cremated remains of two people, such as a married couple, you’ll need to decide if the remains will be kept in the same urn or put into two separate urns then placed in the same niche. The decision will influence which niches will work. 

Room for Keepsakes

Some people like to place a keepsake or two inside the niche with the remains. For example, a military veteran may want to have medals included with the urn. Many families also like to put a framed picture or two in the niche. If you plan to put keepsakes in the niche that’s something else that can affect the size of the niche that’s needed. 

The Marker for the Columbarium Niche

In most cases a columbarium niche will have a place where a marker, placard or engraving can be put. However, the space for a marker will be limited. If you had your heart set on a certain niche placard or engraving that should be a part of the decision making process. 

Displaying the Niche Contents or Keeping Them Hidden

When columbarium niches are sealed shut, the front of the niche is either glass, bronze or marble. With bronze or marble all that will be seen is the placard or engraving. But if you choose a glass-front niche the urn will be on display along with any other keepsakes that are placed inside the niche.

Cost of the Columbarium Niche

When you are considering any end of life service cost is going to be a factor for most people, unless the deceased is a military veteran and the columbarium niche is in a national cemetery. Like burial plots, columbarium niches vary in price depending on the city, the cemetery and the niche itself. You can expect to pay between $500 for a single niche to several thousand dollars for a large, multi-urn niche. 

When you are comparing costs ask whether the price of the niche includes a marker or engraving. You may be able to save on the cost if you are buying the niche ahead of time rather than needing it immediately. The niche may also cost a bit more if internment is on a weekend.


Green Cremation Texas can help you arrange eco-friendly cremation services so that you can focus on finding the perfect columbarium niche. If you have questions about the cremation process or want to know more about columbariums in Central Texas, give our team a call, text or email any time of day.

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Choosing an Urn Material

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