It’s 2022 and trade shows and exhibitions in North America have returned much stronger than many predicted. As a result, exhibitors, display builders, labor providers, and show organizers are busy, sometimes crazy busy. One segment that’s seen a surge in growth is exhibit rentals, both exhibits and furniture. Exhibit Furniture Rentals in particular have transitioned from a “maybe” to a “must have” for both inline and island booths.
Why Should You Care About Exhibit Furniture Rentals?
Gone are the days of battered and basic furniture rental designs. Today’s designs are attractive, contemporary, and comfortable, and they are available in a variety of styles and colors. Rental furniture providers are committed to delivering quality products that are fashionable and pristine. Plus, their selection has improved, along with deeper inventories at most major convention and trade show venues.
Exhibit designers and exhibitors have also gotten more comfortable with adding furniture to booths. The right furniture can make a huge difference in the overall design, transforming a “nice and functional” island into an upscale destination for show attendees. Just 5-10 years ago, exhibit designers were reluctant to add conference tables, upholstered sofas, even ottomans and accessories to a booth. However, there’s been a push to offer attendees a place to relax, chat, and conduct business within the booth and designers have responded.
And it’s not just furniture. Trade show rental options include charging hubs, pillows, lamps, rugs, sanitizer stands, and even safety dividers.
Trade Show Furniture Rental Trends
The next time you attend a trade show or event, you’ll undoubtedly notice three trends: large fabric graphics, lightboxes, and furniture. These are trends not exclusive to island displays. Inline displays, both 10 ft. and 20 ft., are embracing these trends with rental furniture being the most surprising. Not long ago, a café or bar table with chairs in an inline space was uncommon. Not anymore. Inline exhibitors have embraced seating in their booth with many including comfortable chairs and sofas to create a casual meeting area.
Assuming rental furniture makes sense for your exhibit design, then what are the next steps? When possible, work with your exhibit designer. They have access to the designs from multiple furniture rental companies. They are also familiar with your booth design, graphics, and trade show marketing strategy. They can also assist you with ordering and scheduling the furniture to arrive in your space.
Trade Show Furniture Rental Sources
Some exhibitors may consider ordering their rental furniture from the General Show Contractor via the show book or the GSC’s website. And that’s a good option. However, GSC’s typically have a more limited selection than would be available from your exhibit house. Then there’s the cost. There’s a common misconception that ordering from the GSC will be less expensive. It’s not. In fact, it’s often more expensive. Furniture Rentals are a convenient and cozy profit center for them. Expert Tip: Start with your exhibit house and compare prices and service.
Of course, you can always buy furniture and ship it with your crates or cases. Can you save money by buying the furniture? Perhaps if you spread the cost over 3-4 shows. However, you’ll need to include the cost of shipping, materials handling, and labor (if it needs to be assembled) and damage. For most exhibitors, it’s not worth the hassle or the meager savings.
Popular & Affordable Rental Show Furniture
Easy is good. Easy and affordable is even better. Classic Exhibits has two comprehensive galleries of trade show rental furniture (Rental Furniture #1 and #2). The galleries are organized by the categories shown below and include prices. No guesswork. No navigating through a complicated and confusing website.
Review your options in each gallery. Then click to add them to a “My Gallery.” The My Gallery has a tool where you can email your selections to your exhibit house representative or send them to colleagues to review.
Rental Furniture Gallery #1
- Accent Chairs: Comfortable, casual chairs perfect when paired together and with and end or seating table. See the Malibu or Lena designs as examples.
- Soft Seating: Larger upholstered chairs, sofas, and sectionals with matching pieces. See the Emerald Velvet line as an example. Some include charging options.
- Seating Tables: Cocktail, end, and side tables like the Geo Cocktail Table with a wood top and black metal base.
- Ottomans: Colors galore in these fashionable round, rectangle, and curved ottomans.
- Accessories: A nice selection of safety dividers, rugs. pillows, lamps, stanchions, and lecterns.
Rental Furniture Gallery #2
- Cafe Tables: round cafe tables come in both fixed (typically 30” high) and adjustable heights in a variety of colors and finishes. See model CECA-022 with countertop colors in gunmetal, green, orange, yellow, and black.
- Bar Tables: Similar to Cafe Tables but with a height of 40-42”. CEBT-036 is one of 18 designs
- Group Seating: Mostly plastic cafe table seating in a range of colors and styles. The Malba (20″ L x 20″ D x 32″ H) is a green or gray stacking chair.
- Conference Tables: Primarily oversized rectangle tables with round options as well. Some come with power ports like the CECT-033.
- Conference Chairs: Mostly height-adjustable rolling executive or mid-back chairs with arms like the Cupertino Mid-Back.
- Office Furniture: Desks, shelving, bookcases, and whiteboards.
- Bars: Curved bars with or without accent lights. See the CEBR-002 Midtown Bar
- Barstools: Stools for Bar Tables. 13 designs including the CEBS-019 in red, black, and white vinyl tops
Important Considerations About Event Furnishings
Design obviously matters but so does function and budget. Your event furnishings have a role to play in your overall strategy. Given the cost of booth space, you want every sq. foot to contribute to your goals and ROI.
Conference Room or Meeting Space. Most meetings in a booth don’t happen by accident. They are scheduled before or during the show. There’s no reason for a conference room unless you already have a plan for a full schedule of meetings with clients.
Casual Seating Areas. Guests in your booth will love these… so will the booth staff. If your product/service doesn’t require lengthy interactions with attendees and you anticipate a busy show, a casual seating area can be a distraction and create congestion. No one can resist a soft comfy chair, including your team. If they appear too relaxed, attendees will walk by and not engage your staff.
Say Something.. If you are unhappy with your rental furniture choice or the furniture arrived dirty or damaged, contact the rental furniture provider immediately. They want you to rent again at future shows and will generally do whatever they can to make you happy. Sometimes that means replacing a damaged piece the second day of the show or even removing furniture you thought would be necessary (but actually added clutter to the booth).
Cleanliness. While you don’t own the furniture or furnishings, you are still being judged by it. It arrived clean but it won’t stay that way. Wipe down the countertops each day and brush off the crumbs. Attendees don’t want to sit down at your bistro table only to discover wet coffee stains and sticky raspberry filling.
Exhibit Furniture Rentals with Classic Exhibits
Classic Exhibits has been designing and building solutions since 1993. We’ve been honored as an Exhibitor Magazine Find-It Top 40 Exhibit Producers and an Event Marketer Fab 50 Exhibit Builders multiple times. Along with numerous Portable Modular Awards.
With over 200 Distributor Partners throughout North America, there’s a Classic representative close by. Contact us today whether you need a durable hand sanitizer stand built to last, a rental display guaranteed to attract trade show attendees, or a custom 30 x 40 exhibit with all the bells and whistles. We’re not just different. We’re better.