Booth layout 101: Tips to make trade show booths exciting and inviting

trade show

By Daniella Bustamante

In the world of trade shows, you come across numerous companies of varying services, products, sizes and industries – you leave remembering a select few. There is a reason for this. No matter what the company, having an effective booth design makes all the difference.

Here are a few tips and ideas to think about when planning your next trade show booth.

Maximize space

When planning out your booth, you want to maximize whatever space you have to work for your needs. The old adage “bigger is better” isn’t always true. A small, effectively designed booth can generate as many leads as one three times its size. Flooring, table linens and wall space can all serve as opportunities to showcase your message and brand.

Think outside the 10×10 box

Move away from the predictable and try designing an “un-booth”. When designing your space, think of ways to surprise people and make them forget they’re at a trade show booth. Whether it’s by bringing the outdoors in with a revamped Airstream, lawn chairs or some foliage or by turning your space into a Parisian café, your booth is a malleable environment that should be different and unexpected.


An event within an event. Treat your booth as a mini event within a larger one. Have a plan, theme and flow in mind when designing your space. Have a goal or objective and build the other components (ie. giveaways, collateral, visual displays, staff outfits and engagement opportunities) around that. Like an actual event, come up with ways to keep attendees engaged through games, live demos, wireless charging stations, snacks or 3D goggles showcasing your product in virtual reality.

Stand in the spotlight

Lighting is an easily overlooked area that can aid in making your booth feel warm, welcoming and inviting. You can use different kinds of lighting, ranging from LEDs to fairy lights, to highlight your space and products to create a booth that people will notice and be drawn to from across the room. When there are aisles of exhibitors, you want to draw attention.

Be approachable

One of the most important elements of an exhibitor booth are the people who staff it. You might have the most unique, mind-blowing and visually stunning booth – but if the staff are rude or unfriendly, it won’t matter. For the duration of the trade show, we’re all in the hospitality business – make attendees feel welcomed into the space and in turn, they will be eager to ask questions and become better leads. When staffing your booth, you also want to ensure you have knowledgeable sales people who can speak towards the topic in-depth as opposed to volunteers whose lack of expertise may drive away the attendee.

About the author

Daniella Bustamante, event coordinator at Managing MattersDaniella Bustamante is an event coordinator at Managing Matters, where she leads and produces a variety of events ranging from networking socials to large scale conferences. Daniella has worked in different facets of the events industry since 2012, from production and experiential marketing to design and planning.

Daniella is an alumni of Seneca College, where she studied event and media production, along with pursuing post-graduate studies in event and exhibit management and design. She has also studied event design at UK Arts Institution, Central Saint Martins.

Her passion for innovation and the creation of unique experiences is a driving force in all projects she works on.

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