Military Service On Display: 6 Military Décor Ideas for Grandpa’s Nursing Home

To ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible, it’s important that you create an environment that’s familiar, warm, and inviting for your grandparent on moving day. For veterans, that means covering the walls with extra-special items and replicas from your grandparent’s time in the service. Displaying military decorations and photos reminds older adults of their life accomplishments and also helps connect them with fellow veterans who can share their own unique stories about their time in the service.

Here are some wonderful gift ideas for your favorite veteran using the photographs, medals, awards and documents they have amassed during his time in the Armed Forces.


  1. The Perfect Place for Medals: Shadow Boxes—By far the best way to showcase their military service, a shadow box can house a veteran’s achievements. Your vet will be proud to show their friends and family their extra-special military shadow box that houses all of their most cherished military mementos. Shadow boxes come in all sizes and styles so they can hold just about every notable object, including medals, ribbons, coins, badges, insignia, and even apparel. Make it a fun craft project and design and fill your shadow box together. They’ll relish the opportunity to tell you about each and every cherished item.
  2. Black and White Splendor: Canvas Prints—If your vet has albums full of cool photographs from their time in the service, you’re in luck! There are so many unique things you can do with the pictures, but one of our favorites is the canvas print. Have your vet’s official military portrait (or otherwise memorable photographs from his time served) blown up and printed on a canvas so they can display it on the wall of the room. This instant conversation-starter is sure to capture the attention of fellow residents.
  3. Celebrating His Accomplishments: Military Plaques—Who says grandpa’s service can’t be memorialized with new keepsakes? Doubling as an amazing gift and a wonderful piece of military décor all in one, a custom wall plaque makes grandpa feel extra-special when he’s transitioning into his new home. You can tailor his plaque to the conflict and missions in which he participated or opt for one that celebrates his specific branch of the military. This is another awesome décor idea that’s sure to start conversations among the other veterans in the nursing home.
  4. Welcome Guests: Military-Themed Door Décor—At the nursing home, door décor is everything. Most facilities don’t have porches and front yards where residents can display their personalities with seasonal décor. Thus, the door to each room serves as the place where residents showcase their big personalities and personal stories. Make sure all passersby and guests know that grandpa is an American hero with a military-themed door wreath (perhaps something in camo, or red, white, and blue) or a patriotic welcome mat at the door.
  5. Upcycling Old Uniforms: Toss Pillows—If grandpa has an attic full of sweet old military uniforms that he can’t take with him to the nursing home, consider repurposing them into a toss pillow or blanket that can liven up an otherwise basic bed or sofa. Some savvy crafters have even turned old uniforms into Christmas ornaments and teddy bears. The great thing about this option is that it’s personal and helps Grandpa scale down without losing the sentimental value of the military items he holds near and dear. If you aren’t fond of the idea of ruining his actual uniform, visit a local surplus store to find uniforms on the cheap.  
  6. The Big Picture: A Military Gallery Wall—These days, décor is all about the gallery wall. At its core, a gallery wall is a collection of framed images, documents and artwork (often in mismatching frames and sizes) styled together to create a sort of collage on the wall. You can celebrate your family member’s brave sacrifices by creating a beautiful wall display featuring his medals, photographs from his time in the service, awards, certifications and even enlistment documents. Be sure to mix colors and textures to create a truly unique display that will capture every visitor’s attention.

Bonding Over Incredible Stories

Grandparents have some pretty amazing stories to tell, and one of the best gifts you can give to them is to listen. Simply sitting down and listening to our seniors talk about their heroism in the military, and their life in general, can help improve their mental and physical health and ensure that they have a smooth and seamless transition to the nursing home. Welcome them by displaying their favorite conversation-starters with these awesome décor ideas and help them transition into a new beginning!