Creative outdoor event ideas

7 Winning Trade Show Booth Design Ideas

It can be a challenge to come up with high ROI trade show booth design ideas that work. And 10×10 booths in particular present even more complexity because of their size. But they are a popular and cost-effective option you can use to make your property stand out

This is why we’ve compiled some creative ideas for you to use to win over planners and their group business with activities sure to build better relationships at any trade show. Discover examples of effective booths from award-winning brands, and see how to customize each booth design for your unique trade show goals.

Discover 7 trade show booth design ideas that work:

Explore creative concepts that are easy to incorporate in smaller booth displays. Learn practical tips for setting up each booth idea and find out why it’s a design worth trying. Plus, see how other leading brands executed it, and how you can personalize the idea for your hotel.  

1. Indoor jungle.

Trade show halls use a seemingly endless amount of booths, which can sometimes feel plain. That’s why bringing in natural elements will make your hotel’s trade show booth design stand out. 

This is a particularly great idea if one of the unique features of your hotel is a beautiful garden, or even if you’re starting to offer new environmentally-friendly features. One such example is the Opryland Hotel in Nashville.

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To create an indoor jungle booth, just add a bunch of leafy green plants or fresh flowers to your back and side booth walls using hanging baskets, trellises, or regular planters. It will create the feeling of a mini oasis.

Benefits: 

  • It’s a cost-effective way to make your booth look different. Potted house plants typically start at $5 each, or you might be able to bring some in from the office, so it’s relatively affordable. 
  • It’s visually appealing. People instinctively find beauty in plants and greenery (which they then instinctively share with the world via social media). This trade show booth design idea has a good chance of being the most photographed and digitally shared display at the entire event. 

Real-world example: Orgatec created an award-winning trade show booth using this method. They combined lush tropical palm trees with brightly colored chairs. The resulting effect felt more like an upscale lounge than a trade show booth, which is exactly why attendees wanted to sit and spend time there. 

Customize it: Even though Orgatec used a lot more than a 10×10 space for their version, you can easily incorporate fun colors (think yellows, pinks, etc.) like they did. Also, be sure to display a large hashtag on or directly behind your booth since it will probably be the most Instagrammable part of the whole trade show.

2. Black and white.

Create your entire trade show booth design using only black and white as a color scheme. White walls with black shelves or a black counter will grab visual attention. Then, you have full control over where you direct planners’ eyes.

To create a black and white booth, use paint (if the booth rental company allows) or neatly pin-up swatches of ironed fabrics to create the same impact. Most trade show booth designs rely on black, so use more white to create more contrast with the world outside of your booth. Then, add your hotel’s full-color logo somewhere in the middle. You can even add black and white diagrams of your meeting space onto the wall using diagramming tools, showing planners all your unique space has to offer, down to the wall outlets. 

Benefits: 

  • Depending on your rental options, this one should be easy to pull off since all you need are black and white booth dividers, walls, and furniture. Even if you have a limited selection, you can still create a monochrome look based on what you’ve got to work with. 
  • This trade show booth design idea is great for hotels that want to introduce a single feature of their group business offering, such as a newly-renovated room, a new location, or a new wellness offering, to trade show audiences because of how simple (yet interesting) the rest of the booth will look. 

Real-world example: Oligo combined black and white booth elements with a handful of colorful murals and plenty of white lights throughout their display to create a minimalist look. The only text in their entire booth was the phrase, “feel the light”, which is appropriate given the fact their main product — lighting solutions — stood out against the black and white scenery.

Customize it: Small booths can make a big impact as long as you know how to direct focus. And if you’re on a limited budget, you can easily use color to maximize your investment with minimal extra effort. If your rental options don’t go with your design, consider buying cheap furniture and spray painting it all one uniform color. Or try the opposite and make the focal point of your display a solid white or black, but go crazy with the rest of its surroundings. 

3. Shadow puppet.

People love the mystery and symbolism behind shadows, which is why they heavily feature literally and metaphorically in great works of art. Hopefully, your 10×10 trade show booth design will become one of them. Your booth shadows can depict whimsical outlines that match your hotel’s floor tile, a group talking in your hotel lobby, heads of people watching a keynote speaker, or even your hotel’s logo in a repeating tiled pattern. 

Because bright overhead lighting is a given in trade show venues, hotels need to create their shadow effect without light. Paint a wood or paper shape in black and display it just inside of your hotel’s booth. Or use a projector to cast shadows against the back wall of your 10×10 trade show booth. 

Benefits: 

  • It provides a new opportunity for engagement beyond the usual hotel email newsletter sign-up or trade show giveaway.
  • It’s imaginative and thought-provoking, making it more memorable than surrounding booths that will likely just feature standard display techniques. 

Real-world example: Kohlhaas Messebau chose to design a magic garden party completely in the form of cut-out shadows. Their layered set pieces included a fence, a wheelbarrow, bushes, a watering can, and even a mischievous gnome or two. 

Customize it: The key is to consider what is magical about your hotel, service, or brand and use that to create symbolism in your own shadow set. For the brand in the above example, their goal was to capture the theme “where ideas grow”, hence the garden with all its fun creatures. If arts and crafts aren’t your forte, consider using a blank wall and a projector with digital shadow images instead. 

4. Building blocks.

Combine a beloved childhood game with teamwork and symbolism and you’ve got yourself a winning trade show booth design idea. For this concept, all you need is a Jenga set (regular-sized or Jumbo both work), a table for attendees to play on, and some words or phrases to write on the blocks themselves. The words you choose should be a metaphor or message. As you’ll see in the example below, the simple act of creating — or breaking — something with strangers can be heartwarming and poignant.

Choose a conceptual theme (such as teamwork, creating events, hosting meetings) and write words or phrases associated with that theme on your Jenga blocks. 

Benefits: 

  • It’s a nostalgic game that’s fun, easy to understand, and transcends language to connect individuals who might not normally interact.  
  • It can get attendees thinking about big-picture concepts, personal development, and your company’s role in all of it. 

Real-world example: D’art Design Gruppe made a building blocks display with a theme they called, “Undo.” Their aim was to communicate the beauty behind trial and error which is why their pieces are stamped with words like “change,” “rethink,” and “simplify.” These three powerful words symbolize their personal artistic processes and relationship with failure. 

Customize it: Get vulnerable about the challenges your attendees face that you also know about from firsthand experience. Then skip the corporate jargon and get to the root of that relationship to create your own building blocks theme. From there, invite open discussion around things such as how to make event communication seamless, how to personalize the attendee experience, and what loyalty can look like for group business. 

5. Curiosity.

Curiosity is a broad idea with simple execution. This will be a simple booth activity that has an air of mystery around it. With little to no explanation, invite attendees to participate in your game and see what happens. It can be anything from sticking their head in a hole to flipping an unmarked switch.

Benefits: 

  • Most brands are in-your-face at trade shows, so a little playful mystery will be sure to generate some buzz as people compare expectations and experiences. 
  • Because this activity will be the main design element in your booth, you can add simple decor around it and still pull off an amazing display. 

Real-world example: Kplus Konzept took this idea to the extreme with their mysterious booth ladders that led to boxes with holes cut out for attendees to put their heads in. Once inside, they were treated to a multi-sensory display created through projections and music. 

Customize it: Ladders and head boxes aren’t doable for every trade show booth design, especially in a 10×10 display. However, you can easily pique attendee curiosity through other mysterious booth elements. For example, take a page from Jimmy Kimmel Live’s book and have guests blindly reach their hand into a box then guess what object they feel inside. Bonus points if it’s related to what makes your property unique, such as soft bedding, the latest technology, or wellness offerings. If the planner guesses correctly, they can take home the item or win a prize! 

6. Home sweet home.

This trade show booth design idea is simple: Recreate a living room or lounge that makes attendees feel right at home. Add standing lamps, picture frames, and some folding chairs for planners to hang out in. Offer them a voice assistant tool, handheld steamer, or coffee maker like the ones they can expect to find inside your hotel room.

This idea is important because one of the top hotel guest expectations is to feel at home when they travel. In fact, 59% of guests anticipate using these familiar amenities over more traditional services such as late-night room service and in-suite massages. Which explains why properties now see an increase in demand for hotel room designs and tools, such as televisions with streaming video services and white noise machines, that directly reflect their personal living spaces. 

Benefits: 

  • Attendees do a lot of standing and walking at trade shows, so it can be a relief to find a place they can relax for a minute. 
  • It’s easier to build relationships when you have more time to talk to someone for longer than it takes them to grab a free pen. 

Real-world example: Arting A/S created an inviting booth atmosphere through fabric paneling, contemporary wallpaper, and Scandanavian style furnishings. They even went as far as to create the illusion of a second floor and windows that peeked outdoors. 

Customize it: Set up your design according to what your audience will love. If you’re targeting millennial or Generation Z planners, entice them with the fun of sitting on bean bag chairs. If established corporate planners are target persona, provide chairs with more height and support. And consider placing temporary wallpapers, picture frames, or even posters inside your booth. 

7. Mural.

Why design your entire booth when you can have attendees help do it for you? What we mean is: Leave one prominent wall of your 10×10 trade show booth open for a collaborative art project. Use brown craft paper, a whiteboard, or a wall of hanging sketch pads along with pencils, markers, or paint. Add a prompt (like goals for next quarter, positive affirmations, or even design ideas they’d like to see in your hotel’s meeting space) and let them have at it. 

Benefits: 

  • Communal activities built into your trade show booth design help attendees form a deeper connection with your brand and begin to associate positive experiences with it. 
  • It’s easy and affordable to do and can be quite fun in even the smallest of trade show booth displays. 

Real-world example: Plan-j decided to collaborate on their design projects with attendees by inviting them into their 10×10 trade show booth. Then they asked attendees to grab a pencil (hundreds were hung from red strings in an impressive display) and add to their conceptual drawing on the walls. 

Customize it: Consider what goals you have for the trade show and use that as a jumping-off point for your interactive mural wall. Want to give your audience a peek into your creative process like Plan-j did? Or maybe you just want to share your company’s value set by inviting people to write a short gratitude list. Whatever you want their takeaway to be, use it to determine the activity.

Learn even more about trade show booth design:

How do you come up with trade show booth design ideas?

First, identify your trade show goals when it comes to interacting with potential customers. Then, analyze what competitors have done at previous shows. Next, survey customers to ask about experiences and swag they’ve most enjoyed. Afterward, research the latest trends in trade shows and newly available technologies. Finally, pick three ideas to focus on and assign the next steps to your team to help bring them to life. 

How do you attract customers to your trade show booth?

To attract customers to your trade show booth, it must be either visually unusual and appealing or feature a completely unique interactive element. 

How do you set up a 10×10 trade show booth?

Start with your booth focal point, which varies based on your booth setting and the type of show you’re attending. Will it be a wall, a display, a table, or something else entirely? Set that up first then add in other furniture, electronics, and supplies in a way that serves your focal point. Also, keep in mind you want to make it easy for planners to have interactions with your hotel sales representatives, so ensure your furniture allows proper spacing. Finish your setup by adding decor touches such as light-up logo banners and table bunting. 

How do you decorate a trade show booth?

Booth decor should reflect both your hotel and your brand. That means using brand colors and logos in tasteful and interesting ways within your larger theme. At the very least, your booth should always have a table for merchandise, swag, or newsletter sign-ups and a couple of chairs for your hotel employees to rest in. After that, a large logo and brand slogan along with display shelves (which sometimes come with booth rentals) can round out the skeleton of the design. Then, add in any necessary signage, posters, or photos that make sense. 

Maximize ROI with these creative trade show booth design ideas!

Now that you have ideas for how to attract and engage planners at your next 10×10 trade show booth, learn how you can save time with trade show booth and chair spacing tools.