Are you looking for ways to save money at trade shows? Then, you should check out these 16 thrifty but effective Trade Show Booth Ideas for Small Budgets.

Trade shows are a great way to promote your company or brand. They provide a unique opportunity to connect with your potential customers. However, they come with a price tag.

Exhibiting at an event can be expensive, but several exhibition booth ideas and strategies can help keep expenses down, even for small businesses.

If you don’t want to spend a fortune on tradeshow booths, you might consider some of the following options. Here are 14 ideas for putting together a successful trade show booth.

Related: 10 Trade Show Set up Winning Tips & Tricks

16 Trade Show Booth Ideas for Small Budgets

Trade Show Booth Ideas for Small Budgets

16 Thrifty & Effective Trade Show Booth Ideas for Small Budgets


Ever been to a garage sale or flea market? What’s there? Probably a bunch of old stuff nobody wants anymore. It’s difficult for your eyes to settle on any one thing.

While this might be heaven for antique collectors and rabid bargain hunters, busy buyers at trade show exhibit often pass by booths like these. They would skip booths that look too busy to determine what products or services they offer among the many items on display and seem too complicated to navigate.

These cluttered messes were classified as The Kitchen sink (everything goes in it) and can quickly drain a trade show’s budget.

Why would exhibitors stack their booths this way? A lack of focus! They might not know what market they’re targeting, so they bring everything, hoping to avoid missing out on an opportunity.

They may even be attending the wrong trade show to meet the needs of the customers they want (an even more tragic waste of money).

Showing off your work can be an expensive proposition. Shipping costs (by air, rail, truck, or personal vehicle) and setting up and dragging everything into the exhibition hall can be costly.

Focus only on the most relevant products and services—and trade shows! —for the market segments targeted.

If the trade show marketing budget is tight, one easy way to help create a unified appearance is to do it with colors.

1. Personalize a branded customized tablecloth.

Branded Customized Tablecloth Trade Show Set Up Ideas

A customized tablecloth promotes your brand and makes your table more attractive and eye-catching. There are several custom table cloth styles available.

For example, some companies print the entire fabric in a design that covers it, while others include their logos against a simple color background or even against a patterned background.

There are also various tablecloth styles, such as a form-fitting stretch cover, a more classic style with a standard drape, or even a tiered tablecloth.

2. Use Retractable Banners

Retractable Banner Trade Show Set Up Ideas

Another common type of display used at trade shows is retractable banners. They’re often made of heavy-duty material and can hold much weight.

Some of these banners can be rolled up and stored away after they’ve served their purpose. At the same time, others are attached to a wall or ceiling permanently.

Either way, retractable banners make great trade show displays because they’re easy to transport, easy to set up, and easy to take down.

These roll-up banners come in a wide range of styles and sizes to suit tabletop, floor, and backdrop displays.

3. Have a Photo Booth

Photo Booth | Trade Show Booth Ideas for Small Budgets

One of the cheapest ways to get customers’ interest and bring them to your stand is to provide them with a place to take pictures for social media.

Use photo booths, backdrops, or cardboard cutouts that attendees can use in their photographs. Think of something fun related to your brand that customers can take photos with, such as a mascot cutout. Then, have a professional photographer take the pictures of attendees or have them take selfies.

Learn How To Promote an Event on Social Media here.

4. Pop Up Booths & Pop Up Displays

Pop Up Booths & Pop Up Displays | Trade Show Booth Ideas for Small Budgets

Lightweight, portable booths are easy to carry anywhere. Portable booths come in many sizes to fit any space. Pop-up booths are collapsible frames that connect to a printed backdrop.

Pop-up booths can be set up without the need for tools, making assembly and tear down simple. Most companies also offer backlit pop-up displays, making your graphics stand out from competitors.

A pop-up display is a display system that allows you to display high-quality, eye-catching graphics, often in a much larger format than other tabletop displays.

You can also choose straight or curved booths to advertise from multiple angles.

5. Yard Letters

Yard Letters | Trade Show Booth Ideas for Small Budgets

Instead of getting custom-made banners and signs, another method to promote your business is through large letters that spell out your company’s name or slogan.

Use tape or tack to place these letters on a wall, nail some wood letters to a board, or apply decals to a surface.

Yard letters are lightweight for easy transport, tall enough to stand apart, and simple to take off after using them.

You can also stake them into the ground if outdoor space is available.

6. Trade Show Lighting

Trade Show Lighting | Trade Show Booth Ideas for Small Budgets

Pop-up stands and other custom banner stands typically come equipped with an option for backlighting, allowing you to highlight certain areas of your display.

Investing in custom trade show lighting is an inexpensive way to catch the attention of passersby.

You can also integrate your custom poster into your trade show lighting system, illuminating your message in a way no one else can.

LED lights are great because they’re bright, easy to install, and last a long time.

7. Large Custom Backdrops

Custom Backdrop | Trade Show Booth Ideas for Small Budgets

Large custom backdrops are an excellent way to tie your entire booth together. They’re also great for creating eye-catching graphics that are visible from afar.

Custom backdrop banners are connected to a larger, portable banner stand customized with whatever graphics you want.

You can display your brand name, showcase a new product or promote your company’s motto on huge banners that will catch everyone’s eye.

These big backdrops don’t just have to be in spacious halls. Small 10×10 booths can also accommodate them.

8. Miniature or Tabletop Displays

Miniature displays are a go-to for booths with a lot of table space or don’t have a lot of space.

Tabletop displays dress up a table and increase brand awareness to those who stop by and visit your booth. In addition, miniature displays are inexpensive if you want something extra to decorate your booth.

Tabletop displays can also be portable pop-up tents in smaller sizes, compact backdrops, small cardboard cutouts, miniature flags and banners, and short retractable banners.

9. Advertise Your Business by Branding your Booth Table & Chairs

If you have a stand or booth area where your employees or clients sit, use that space for advertising your business by printing custom graphics on tables or chairs.

Tables and chairs come in many styles that match your booth theme while still being affordable.

Customize the seats of your chairs with your business logo.

You can achieve a smart, promotional look by matching your table and chair colors. Find a table that accommodates your brand color scheme and graphics.

10. Custom Tent

A custom tent is one of the main features of trade show booths indoors and outdoors.

They’re often assumed to be expensive, but they don’t have to be. There are more affordable options, such as getting a canopy with area printing rather than printing the entire canopy.

Area printing lets you put your logo on specified canopy sections for a costless custom look.

If you don’t need branding, you can get stock color canopies at a discount compared to custom canopies.

11. Promotional Items

Give something to those visiting your booth without paying too much. These items let you stay on the customer’s mind, even after they leave your booth.

There are lots of custom products you can give visitors that are small and inexpensive, such as pens, mugs, key chains, magnets, and so forth.

For example, customize business cards and flyers with more information about your organization, and give away printed postcards, customized pens, and notepads.

You can also find business apparel, mugs, and bags at small, bulk prices.

12. Use Lighting Effects

Other than using backlit displays, you can also have lighting in your booth.

Lighting is an interesting way to get attention from a crowd, but it is not very expensive.

Many booths may contain different colored lights on the wall and ceiling. But think outside the norm with your lighting to stand out from the rest.

Find light-up chairs, tables, and other unusual displays inside your booth.

Using different colors allows you also to match your brand colors.

13. Recycle Display Ideas From Past Shows.

If your budget is limited, recycling previous displays can be an inexpensive way to decorate your booth.

However, if you reuse old banner stands, logos, or graphics, make sure they aren’t dated with years, references to particular trade shows, or any other information that would make them obsolete.

Recycling old posters is one of the easiest ways to decorate your exhibition stand, but make sure your trade show booth design is not outdated with years, references to particular exhibitions, etc.

14. Always look at what display companies offer.

They currently have a sale if you’re shopping for custom displays on your website. Therefore, you should always check out any coupons they may have and review any emails they send you.

It’s possible to find a coupon code on your first purchase or a liquidation sale on the inventory they’re selling.

15. Floor Decals

Floor Decals | Trade Show Booth Ideas for Small Budgets

Finally, there is another tradeshow secret many people don’t talk about (because they don’t want you to steal their business!).

Floor graphics can be an effective way to promote your business and get noticed. They’re also a great way to make your booth unique and memorable.

Research shows that people rarely look up but look down when they spot your Floor Decal! A little-used strategy, floor decals are an excellent way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. You can use them inside or outside, and you can use them to alert trade show attendees to sales or special offers, products, and services.

Floor decals are an underused approach, but they can help draw attention to your booth. They’re also easy to apply and remove, so if you’ve a lot of space to cover, you might consider them.

Of course, everyone will have a sign, but you can be one of the few with stellar floor decals to draw people over.

16. Backlit Film Signage

Scrolling graphics speaks of a high-quality product and a lot of work. They are part of pop signage, which wants you to see that sign more than any other one around as a focused image so that people can easily identify it.

When customers or companies read a well-thought-out Backlit Print, they get more relaxed and confident that the company knows what it’s doing because of the professionalism and expense of these images.