Trade Show Booth Design 101: Wooden Elements

February 22nd, 2018

Trends in trade show booth design tend to come and go. However, the ideas they engender can sometimes linger long after the trend itself has faded. Wooden elements are one such example of an older trend that can still be useful in today’s designs. A few years ago, wooden additions to a trade show display (including wood flooring, wood furniture, and even wooden panels for walls) were popular in many designs. Today, displays that embrace too much wood (especially wooden panels) are more likely to look dated and unappealing than to attract crowds of visitors. However, adding wooden elements to your trade show booth design, when done right, can still be a way to add texture (a 2018 trend), interest, beauty, and atmosphere to your exhibit. Here is a look at wooden elements: Reasons to use them, how they can be added into a display, and what you might want to consider before incorporating them into your custom exhibit

Why use wooden elements in your trade show booth design?

Wood was first incorporated into trade show booth designs because of its ability to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for visitors. Today, that goal remains the same for many businesses choosing to use wooden elements in their exhibits. However, wood tends to create a very specific type of atmosphere that only works for some, not all, exhibitors. Here are a few of the reasons you might choose to use wood (or forgo it) for your own trade show display.

  • Wooden elements can be used to create a rustic atmosphere.

Wood can often be used in a display to create a rustic feel. For example, tall wooden beams, a log cabin appearance, and even, yes, wood panels can be utilized to make visitors feel less like they are in a corporate center and more like they are in a cabin in the woods or some other rustic space. While clearly not appropriate for all brands, this type of atmosphere can work quite well for certain companies whose brand values and personality match this type of environment (i.e. outdoor clothing and supply companies, builders, carpenters, and more).

  • Wooden elements can reflect a company’s work or specialty.

Sometimes, a business specializes in woodwork of one kind or another. Whether this be a company that makes wooden beams, or a more general carpentry or home builder business, reflecting this focus on wood materials can be a sound reason to incorporate them into a trade show booth design. For example, a company that focuses on carpentry might benefit from incorporating wooden elements that reflect the type of work it does. A commercial millwork manufacturer might use some of its own millwork in its display. Even a company that specializes in hunting might want to use wood in their display to set the outdoor tone that visitors will be looking for.

  • Wooden elements are environmentally friendly.

A 2017 trade show display trend that is flourishing this year as well is that of green exhibiting, or exhibiting that is environmentally friendly. This type of exhibiting includes using materials and designs that minimize the display’s impact on the environment, without sacrificing its appearance and effectiveness on the trade show floor.

When it comes to green exhibiting, wood, and wood substitutes like bamboo, make excellent choices. To that end, wooden elements can reduce a trade show display’s overall impact on the environment while adding beauty, warmth,and personality to the exhibit. Using wood in signs, walls, furniture, and flooring, or using wood substitutes such as bamboo, tends to turn these elements into recyclable pieces that far outstrip plastic or aluminum as far as their environmental sustainability. Add the beautiful color and warmth that wood tones bring to a display, and it is no wonder that many companies select wood as an accompaniment to their trade show booth designs.

How can wooden elements be used in a trade show booth design?

Of course, there are many different ways to use wooden elements in a trade show booth design. The type of elements you add to your booth, as well as the look you create with them, will depend largely upon your goals for the booth. For example, an outdoorsy company may strive to create a rustic atmosphere with wooden beams and wood panels. A furniture company, on the other hand, may choose elegant wooden furniture from their stores to highlight their products, and add intricate commercial millwork to their trade show booth design to showcase the elegant finishes they can provide. Before you choose the wooden elements you need for your custom exhibit, you need to understand what your options are. What follows is a look at a few of the types of wood elements you can choose for your trade show booth

  • Wooden Furniture
  • Commercial or Custom Millwork
  • Wooden Panels
  • Wooden Flooring
  • Wooden Beams
  • Wooden Signs
  • Faux Wood (e.g. tiles with a wood grain pattern)

Your exhibit company’s design services can help you to explore your specific options when it comes to adding wood to your trade show booth design and help you to narrow your options down to those that work best for your business.

When it comes to using wood in your trade show booth design, the right elements, look, and feel for you will depend largely upon your business and goals. Even the decision about whether to use real wood or faux wood will depend very much upon your ability to absorb the added weight, shipping costs, etc. that come with using real wood.


However, the right exhibit company should be able to help you find and use the right wooden elements for your trade show booth design. And those elements, if used correctly, can help you to send a clear, welcoming, and effective message to your target audience.