Flag-Flying Etiquette You Need to Know
Learn the proper way to display the stars and stripes. You'll want to flag these tips for later.
Take inspiration from these star-spangled homes and show your patriotic colors. But first, check out these tips for hanging the American flag properly on the Fourth of July (and every other day of the year).
Flags are meant to be displayed from sunrise to sunset. You can fly one at night, but if you do, it should be illuminated.
The flag should never touch the ground, the floor or anything that may sit beneath it, including tables, chairs, railings and bushes.
- There’s a difference between half-staff and half-mast. "Half-mast" technically refers to a flag flown on a ship's mast, while "half-staff" describes flags flown on land, though they're commonly used interchangeably. (Flags should be flown at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day.)
It’s against the official Flag Code to hang a tattered flag. If yours is in bad shape, you can wash, dry-clean and/or sew it.
Unsalvageable flags should be dropped off at a local American Legion or VFW office for retirement, or burned discreetly.
Ways to Decorate With Stars and Stripes
Make a Bouquet
Karri Perry (@blueribbonfavorites), a blogger in West Chester, Ohio, used floral foam to secure small flags in a hanging basket on her door. “More is definitely better,” she says. Add a few rocks so the basket doesn’t blow in the wind.
Paint Your Own
Blogger Kelly Elko (@kelly.elko) transformed a section of wood fencing into a flag for her Summit, New Jersey, house. She cut it down to 13 pickets, painted the stripes and square, then added a clamshell wreath for the stars.
Chrissie Anthony Haim
“I wish I could go even bigger!” says designer Chrissie Anthony Haim (@chrissiehomeanddesign) of the 4-foot-by-6-foot flag adorning her Locust Valley, New York, home. It stays put from Memorial Day to Veterans Day, and a spotlight shines on it at night. Good to know: When displaying a flag vertically, the blue square (called the Union) must be in the observer’s top left.
Bring on the Bunting
Bunting is an easy and affordable way to get in the spirit, says Spotsylvania County, Virginia, blogger Kathryn Packard (@kathrynpackard), who snagged these online for $25 each. “Be sure it’s outdoor material, so it can get wet and won’t fade,” she says. And look for bunting with grommets so you can easily hang it from hooks or zip ties.
Take It Inside
Blogger Margaret York (@margaretofyork) keeps the patriotic vibes going all year long in her son's bedroom. Displaying the flag as wall art gives this space cool Americana style. You could also try hanging it horizontally above a bed for the most star-spangled "headboard" ever.