Trade Show Booth Design Ideas for Your Next Home Furnishings Show

The biggest trade show in home furnishings has wrapped up, done for another year. The International Gift and Home Furnishings Market, held every year at Atlanta’s AmericasMart exhibition hall, is the CES of home furnishings – the best trade show for having new designs seen, and to see what’s going to be coming down the pike style-wise for the next business year.xpressions connex 10x10 popup display

However, the convention center itself – AmericasMart – is pretty much a 365-day-a-year Home Furnishings trade show. It’s constantly open for business, with a rotating array of trade show booths, shops, conventions, and other industry events set against the backdrop of one of America’s booming trade cities. If you’re ever in the Atlanta area, it’s worth stopping by just to see what’s on display.

You never know when you’ll spot the perfect new style for your office.

However, it’s the IGHFM that ties it all together, the biggest home furnishings show in the world. And by ‘big’ we mean “Imagine an IKEA practically the size of Disneyland.”

The Best In Trade Shows: International Gift and Home Furnishings Market 2013

The typical IGHFM show takes place spread across 5 or 6 buildings, with upwards of 6,000 different trade show booths and brands on display. In fact, your typical visitor to a show held in those spaces literally won’t visit every building, much less see each trade show booth and exhibit display.

This might seem like it would present an issue to modern trade show display planners looking to maximize their lead generation, knowing that large chunks of the attendees won’t even pass within a half-mile of your booth. However, it didn’t deter this year’s exhibitors, who filled the space with an unending sea of arts, crafts, and fashion.

Trade show booth design at IGHFM surprised me; it seems the exhibitors are trying to be simple and unobtrusive, pretending that they are exhibiting products in retail displays. Much like coathangers displaying clothes, few if any of the exhibit designs seemed to be trying to draw attention on their own; it was all about the designs, fashions and furnishings of the products themselves.

Business Colors in the Upcoming Year

You can’t talk about IGHFM without acknowledging its importance to business design trends. To keep things simple, here are a few of the most common themes we’ve seen, looking over the many pictures of the show online:

  • Bold primary colors are big in a lot of areas, well beyond children’s fashion. Bright reds, yellows, and blues gave an almost comic book feel to the show at points, and made a nice change after the years of brooding darks.shark-fin-banner stand
  • Pastels came in behind the primaries, but make a good choice if you’re wanting to retain a more mature look while still bringing color into your trade show booth designs.
  • If in doubt, earthtones are still safe. A brown\red theme with highlights in yellow, green, or blue may have been the single most common. And hey, at most everyday trade shows, you’re still ahead of the pack if you’re using the year’s colors.
  • More colors seemed to be a theme. Three major hues was the bare minimum everywhere, and many booths seemed to be looking for how many colors they could wedge in without simply becoming rainbow-flavored.
  • White remains the color of glamor, but if you’re going with an all-white design, you should be looking towards a full array of colors to offset it. White doesn’t seem to count as a color right now.
  • It would appear that the youthful mix-and-match thrift shop look is steadily making its way into corporate fashion and exhibit design, probably due to younger Xers and older Ys moving into business for themselves. That doesn’t mean cluttered or kitsch, but carefully planned eclectic with an eye towards broader themes and a disregard for traditional rules of style matching when inconvenient.

If you’d like to see more fashion specifically, here’s a great gallery with some of the highlights in both clothing and housewares accessories.

The Nonstop Trade Show

As I mentioned above, there just really wasn’t much to say about the trade show booth designs themselves, as they were there solely to literally “support” the products on display. I wonder, though, if just a few of the exhibitors had “dared to be different”, so to speak, and gone with the unconventional -or even gone ‘meta’- when crafting their trade show booth designs, if they wouldn’t have successfully stood out.

I might be going out on a limb here, but I suspect the words “fashion forward” are going to start being applied to businesses more often in coming years. With competition now on a global level even for small-town boutique business firms, it’s an obvious way to stand out.

The other obvious “must do”, important task, if you’re looking to attend the IGHFM or any of the nonstop shows going on at AmericasMart, is to do some serious thinking about which building to use. It seems literally impossible for one person to see all of this show, so exhibitors need to set their data-processing marketers to the job of figuring out which building will most likely see the largest percentage of the foot traffic that you want.

If one of you gets a chance to try this approach, let us know how it goes!

In the meantime, if you’re in this industry, we strongly recommend you find an excuse to visit AmericasMart when you’re in Atlanta, whether you’re there as a buyer or a seller. Practically any time of year is good to be showing there; the IGHFM show is simply the “best of times”.

And, if you’d like help stepping out a bit from the crowd, finding or creating a trade show booth design ideas that help you gather just a “teensy” little bit more notice, please give us a shout – that’s what we do!

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