What Is a Family Mausoleum? 6+ Design Ideas for Inspiration

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Alecia Milano
Posted by Alecia Milano on April 16, 2024

Often preferred for their architectural beauty and craftsmanship, mausoleums provide a tangible and lasting tribute to family heritage and legacy. Choosing a mausoleum allows families to establish a permanent, shared space where multiple generations can be laid to rest together, fostering a sense of connection and legacy. 
Mausoleums can vary in size, cost and even type, including private, public, garden, columbarium and family. In this resource, we dive into what a family mausoleum is, and how you can design and customize one to truly reflect the values and legacy of your family.

Family Mausoleum, Defined   

A family mausoleum is a private structure built to house the remains of family members. Typically constructed above ground, family mausoleums can vary in size and architectural style, ranging from small, single-room structures to elaborate buildings with multiple chambers and ornate decorations. 

Family mausoleums often serve as a permanent resting place for multiple generations of a family and may include features such as crypts or niches to accommodate individual remains. These structures can be found in cemeteries or private property, and they offer a dignified and personalized way to honor and memorialize loved ones. 

>>> Related Resource: Your Guide to Ohio Cemeteries That Accept Mausoleums 

Family Mausoleum Design Options  

Like building your own house, a family mausoleum offers endless options for customization, including size, colors, design options, personalizations, curb appeal and landscaping. Below we detail some of the top family mausoleum design options 

Granite Color for Mausoleums 

While a standard headstone offers a vast variety of granite colors options, mausoleum granite choices are more limited because larger slabs are needed to reduce the number of seams and joints. The most common options include gray, which comes in polished (a darker gray) or unpolished (a frosted white appearance), rose granite, mahogany and black. 



Family mausoleums can feature ornate moldings, including crown, egg and dart, or dentil designs. These architectural elements are often used to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the mausoleum and add decorative detail to the structure. 

Hudson - Family Mausoleum

Crown moldings, for example, are typically located at the top of the mausoleum and can feature intricate patterns or motifs. Egg and dart motifs consist of alternating oval shapes (eggs) and pointed elements (darts), creating a visually pleasing pattern along the molding. Dentil moldings are characterized by rows of small, rectangular blocks resembling teeth, which add texture and depth to the design. 

Columns & Capitals 

Columns can add a sense of grandeur and classical elegance to a family mausoleum. These columns can be smooth or fluted, with fluted columns featuring shallow grooves along their length, adding texture and visual interest to the structure. 


Smooth columns with decorative capitals 

Additionally, decorative capitals are often placed at the top of the columns, serving as ornamental crowns or finishing elements. These capitals can vary in design, ranging from simple and understated to elaborate and intricate, depending on the desired aesthetic of the mausoleum. 


Fluted columns with decorative capitals 

Roof Lines

A family mausoleum can be customized down to the last detail, including the roof line. Offering a modern or contemporary aesthetic, flat roofs may be simpler in design and offer a clean, minimalist appearance. They can also provide a sense of symmetry and balance to the overall structure. 


Mausoleums with peaked roof lines are more traditional in style and may evoke a sense of classic or historical architecture. Peaked roofs can vary in shape, adding visual interest and architectural detail to the mausoleum. 


Exterior Options

Many families customize the exterior of their mausoleum with options like steps, statuary, benches, vases and/or a patio surrounding the exterior of the mausoleum.  

Consider the following exterior options to create serene and memorable curb appeal:

  • Steps leading up to the entrance of the mausoleum can add a sense of grandeur and provide access to the interior space.
  • Statues or sculptures placed around the exterior of the family mausoleum can serve as decorative elements or symbolic representations, including religious figures, angels, or other motifs chosen to reflect the beliefs or interests of the family.
  • Benches positioned near the mausoleum can provide a place for visitors to sit and reflect in quiet contemplation.
  • Vases placed alongside the mausoleum can be used to hold flowers or other tributes left by visitors, and add a touch of beauty and symbolism.
  • A patio or paved area surrounding the family mausoleum can create a welcoming outdoor space for gatherings, ceremonies or private moments of reflection. 

Covelli - Mausoleum - New Landscaping

Petrarca - Mausoleum - Youngstown Cemetery

Interior Options

It’s also possible to include unique interior features in a family mausoleum, creating a tranquil and sacred space for honoring and remembering departed loved ones. Whether through stained glass windows, altars or prayer kneelers, these elements contribute to the spiritual and emotional significance of the mausoleum as a place of solace and remembrance.

Mausoleums - Stained Glass 1

Etchings & Engravings

Family mausoleums often feature etchings and engravings to personalize and commemorate the lives of those interred within. These artistic elements can be found on various surfaces throughout the mausoleum, including walls, doors and plaques.


Is a Family Mausoleum Right for You? 

If your family is interested in building a mausoleum, download our Mausoleum Guide to uncover more information on mausoleum design features, the advantages of mausoleums and typical costs. Our team of mausoleum experts is also here to help guide you through your options when you’re ready.  

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