The Complete Guide to Displaying an American Flag: Everything to Know

More than half of American adults reported owning an American flag. It’s common to hang American flags from a staff, balcony, windowsill, and more, all in a display of respect for this country. If you’re one of these Americans, then you need to know the etiquette of displaying an American flag. 

The American flag is seen as a symbol of the United States and its people. It should always be treated with respect and, when on display, honored.

This helpful guide explains the proper American flag placement along with considerations when displaying it inside your home. 

Raising and Lowering Your Flag

If you decide to display your American flag in the morning, you should always raise it briskly. When you lower your flag in the evening, go slowly, taking care to ceremoniously lower it. As you lower your flag, ensure that no part of it touches the ground. 

Once you lower your flag, fold it and neatly store it for safekeeping. 

Multiple Flags

It’s common for homeowners to display multiple flags. This includes a state flag or flags from other countries. There are guidelines for the American flag placement, in that it should always be in the middle of the flags and the highest.

However, if you have a flag from another country on display, all the flags need to be the same height, as per international usage requirements when nations are in a time of peace. 

Window Displays

American flag etiquette for window displays involves placing the stars so your flag is visible the correct way from the street. This means that the stars (they represent the 50 states in the union) will be in the upper-right-hand corner of your window when looking from inside your home. 


At certain points, American flag placement requires a flag at half-staff. On these flag-flying days, ensure your flag is instantaneously hoisted to the peak before lowering it to the half-staff position. Half-staff flag-flying days are usually the President’s orders. 

Memorial Day, for example, has its own set of guidelines. You would fly the American flag at half-staff until noon. At that point, you would hoist it to the peak and keep it there for the rest of the day. 


Depending on the layout of your yard, you may display your flag over a sidewalk. If this is the case, you should always hoist the American flag out with the stars first. 

Porches and Balconies

Another common area to display a flag is from a porch or a balcony. Always place the stars at the peak. The exception is if your flag is flying at half-staff. 

You should never fly your flag upside down. This reads as a distress symbol and should be avoided unless necessary. 

Displaying It On Walls

You might decide to display your American flag inside. If you display it on one of your walls, there are guidelines to follow, such as laying your flag flat against the wall. 

It doesn’t matter if you hang your flag horizontally or vertically — the stars always have to be in the flag’s uppermost right corner. Whoever is looking at the flag should see the stars to their left. 

Best Time to Display Your Flag

The most common (and customary) time to display your flag is between sunrise and sunset. You can, however, fly your flag and display it 24 hours a day. Keep in mind that you’ll need to adequately illuminate it at night. 

Fly It During Good Weather

It’s advised to lower your American flag when it’s raining or snowing out and to only fly your flag when the weather is fair. The exception is if you display a weatherproof flag that can withstand the elements. 

Care For Your Flag

If you notice your flag has any rips or holes, mend it as needed. You should also carefully clean your flag from time to time. 

When your flag is so worn that it no longer looks fit to display in front of your home, you should never throw it in the trash. This is seen as disrespectful.

The way to dispose of an American flag is by burning it with dignity. You may also be able to find a flag dropoff center that will dispose of it for you. 

If you need a new flag, you can purchase one with Ultimate Flags

Be Respectful Of Your Flag

Flags are not for decoration. This means you should not display the American flag on pillows, handkerchiefs, or anything disposal or temporary.

Don’t include the American flag on an athletic uniform or costume. You should also refrain from using the American flag to receive or hold any type of item. 

Displaying Flags on Vehicles

There are ways you can display the American flag on a vehicle while still treating it with respect and dignity. 

For example, it’s acceptable to display fabric flags and decals. However, you should never drag an actual fabric flag over a truck bed, trunk, or hood of a vehicle. This is considered disrespectful and bad etiquette. 

Displaying an American Flag

When displaying an American flag, refer to the points outlined in this helpful guide. Remember to care for your flag, mend it as necessary, and display it appropriately when placed next to other flags or in your home. 

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