A Look at Different Types of Coffins

Although it might feel uncomfortable, it’s perfectly natural to think about your own funeral. You might have thought about songs you would like played or what outfit you want to be buried in. But have you thought about what type of coffin you’d like? It is your final resting place after all.

Even if you wish to be cremated, you will still need a coffin for the service and there are some types of coffins like wooden and natural ones specially made with cremation in mind. So if you’re the kind of person that likes to be an individual in everything they do, including your funeral, read on to learn all about the different types of coffins.

Alternatively, if you are looking to find out more about coffins for a recently passed loved one, this guide can also help you find one that will help celebrate their life fittingly.


Natural funeral coffins are produced from sustainable resources and are environmentally friendly. Some look like the wicker one pictured above. They are often 100% biodegradable, and a cheaper option due to their short life span. Perfect for a deceased loved one who had a passion for the environment and a great option for a green funeral.


For the ultimate in personalisation, you can opt to have a coffin adorned with a pattern or image that represents your loved one’s interests, hobbies, or any other form of representation. From a favourite colour to a floral pattern. You can also have their name or “Dad”, “Mum”, etc. engraved on the coffin. One particularly striking look is an all-over pattern of a landscape or image of the coast, great if the person who passed loved nature or the seaside.

There are also a few more “out there” designs created by specialists. If your loved one had a particular interest or even a great sense of humour, you could opt for a specialised coffin that looks like another object such as a vehicle, guitar, or pop culture icon like the Tardis from Doctor Who. Hard to believe, but it exists. Though we would advise you to speak to your funeral director about these.

The practice of using these highly decorative coffin designs is common in Ghana, where they have created coffins that look like fish, shoes, coke bottles, and airplanes. Search ‘Ghana coffins’ and see for yourself.


Wood is one of the most common materials used for coffins. You can opt for a natural, simple pine coffin or you can go for the more traditional looking solid wood veneer coffins and caskets.

Though often used interchangeably, if you ever wondered what the difference between a coffin and a casket was, here’s an explanation:

A coffin is wider at the top, hexagonal with six sides. Whereas a casket is a rectangular shape with four sides. Coffins often have a fully removable lid, whilst caskets will traditionally have hinges.

Wooden coffins are available in a range of different colours and finishes, including oak and mahogany. These coffins can have engraved patterns and come with brass handles.


Believe it or not, you can get coffins made out of cardboard. Do not be alarmed though, they are stronger than you’d expect. They are water-resistant and able to hold up to 23 stones whilst remaining lighter than other coffins. Perfect for being eco-friendly or for cremation. 

Statesmen Casket

This incredibly solid-looking casket is more traditionally seen in America. They have hinges to keep the top portion of the casket open, with the deceased resting on a cushion. This can be used for mourners to view the deceased’s body during an open casket funeral service, another more American tradition.

Generally in Britain, viewing a loved one’s body is usually done by only a few close family members before the funeral, at a funeral home’s chapel of rest.

Even if you don’t use it for an open casket service, it’s still a great choice for a dignified send-off.

Choosing And Advice

Now you have an idea of the different types of coffins out there – and may even have one in mind. However, if you are still unsure, speak to your funeral director for advice and information.