6 Ways to Reinvent Your Exhibit (without Spending a Fortune)

Graphic: © Digital Juice

Graphic: © Digital Juice

You know it’s time. You’re so embarrassed by the way your exhibit looks that you’d rather hide than stand in that booth as the representation of your brand. But you don’t have the budget for a whole new exhibit, so what can you possibly do?

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There are many ways to refresh a tired old exhibit without starting from scratch. As long as the basic structure of your design is still in good shape, it’s not necessary to buy an entirely new display. Here are some options in various price ranges, but all for much less than the whole enchilada.

  1. Update your look with fresh graphics and signage. Figure out what your message needs to be for the coming year (or for however many shows), then develop a design that can be used multiple times. To get even more bang for your buck, have it printed on fabric. This is not only economical, but also easier and less expensive to ship because it’s lightweight.
  2. Change out the furnishings in your booth. If you have a lounge area or some kind of display cabinets, you might want to consider renting those items so you can justify changing them out more frequently. Or if it fits your style, take a look at IKEA or some other inexpensive furniture option.
  3. Jazz up your lighting. Sometimes a display looks tired simply because it’s not well-lit. If you don’t currently use lighting, you might be amazed at how much even something basic like small spotlights on products can do. If you’re getting new graphics anyway see if you can upgrade to a backlit panel that really pops.
  4. Upgrade your tech. While this may not be the least expensive way to change your look, it definitely makes a big impression. Let’s face it – if your booth lacks or has outdated technology, your company will appear backwards as well. But by adding digital signage or a tablet kiosk, you look fresh and “with it.”
  5. Improve what’s under your feet. This is a great option to refresh in more ways than one! By upgrading your flooring (including the padding underneath it), you not only improve your look but also the way you and your booth staff will feel after a long day on the show floor.
  6. Not ready to commit? Rent a new look! If you know you need a major makeover beyond these quick fixes but just don’t have the budget, take a look at renting a whole new booth for a show or two. Don’t worry – rentals are not the ugly stepchildren of the exhibit world any longer. In fact, you’ve probably seen a lot of rentals on the show floor and not even recognized them as being one.

So there’s no excuse for continuing to use that cobbled-together, tired-looking, has-been display. Once you recognize that you need a fresh look (and here’s a whole post on how to tell when it’s time), start taking these steps to makeover your exhibit.

© 2016 Marlys K. Arnold  (from the January 2016 TradeShowTips Online. To receive tips like this in your inbox every month, please take a moment to fill out this request.)

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Marlys Arnold

With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community. To request an “Extra Shot of Exhibit Success” go to www.ExhibitMarketersCafe.com.


  1. By Marlys Arnold