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Trade show supplies include everything from your booth to its furnishings, from decorative plants to pens and literature. Here are some tips regarding supplies and other elements of expos:

Display Equipment

There’s nothing worse than getting set up and realizing you don’t have everything you need. Here’s a reminder of trade show display equipment you may need when setting up your booth design and budget.

Trade show display equipment is an area where a little planning can save you money and prevent theft.
You can rent nearly any of the equipment you’ll need for your booth, or supply your own. Compare the cost and logistics of shipping your own versus the cost of renting, to find out which is solution is more practical for you.

Trade show display equipment may include:

  • lights
  • light poles and other lighting accessories
  • chairs
  • tables
  • table coverings
  • table skirt
  • plants / flowers
  • other booth decorations
  • carpeting
  • computer components
  • audiovisual elements
  • imprinter
  • pipe and drape for booth backdrop
  • wastebaskets
  • easels

For exhibits that include any expensive electronics that will be left overnight, it’s a good idea to hire a security guard. The cost of an overnight guard will probably be far less than the cost of replacing the electronics.

And don’t forget to insure your expensive equipment – if the venue doesn’t provide insurance, then work with your business insurance company to secure adequate coverage ahead of time.

If your booth requires a lot of equipment, plan your exhibit layout around that fact. How do you want to use and display each piece of equipment, and how much access is needed for each? How should each piece be placed in relation to the others to create a logical flow of presentation and usability?

If you plan to rent your equipment and arrange for it to be delivered to you during booth setup, be sure to arrange for the rental as far in advance of the event as possible and keep all paperwork confirming your rental agreement. Call to confirm your rental equipment and its scheduled delivery time before leaving for the trade show.

Table Cover

Your trade show table cover options are widely varied – different sizes, styles, and colors, plain or imprinted. Also, flame retardant table covers are a must at expos; here is what you need to know.

Trade Show Supply Checklist

Think of your booth as a mini-office, and try to stock it accordingly with basic supplies. Keep a small, sturdy box of trade show supply items filled and ready to go; store it with your displays and replenish it after each exhibit.

This trade show supply checklist should help you remember the essentials you need at your booth. Use your checklist before and after each show for the least stress and most success!

  • All trade show paperwork and receipts
  • Your literature
  • First aid kit, including pain reliever and antacids
  • Breath mints
  • Velcro
  • Packing tape
  • Duct tape
  • Masking tape
  • Two-sided tape
  • Tool kit, including screwdrivers, pliers, and hammer
  • Display repair kit, including touchup paint
  • Extension cords
  • Power outlet strips
  • Spare lightbulbs
  • Glass cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Box cutters
  • String
  • Rope
  • Contact cement
  • Order forms
  • Calculators
  • Lead forms
  • Pens
  • Business cards
  • Letterhead and notepaper
  • Envelopes
  • Stamps
  • Folders, including hanging and manila
  • Manila envelopes
  • Stapler and staples
  • Paperclips
  • Scotch tape
  • Clipboards
  • Pre-moistened towelettes
  • Antibacterial hand cleaner
  • Appointment books
  • Digital camera and batteries or adapter
  • Scissors
  • Laptop computers, including adapters

Add your own specific items to this trade show supply list as you think of them. Print it out and use it before leaving for each show, and again during teardown. Forgetting something can make an expo a stressful event instead of business success, so be sure to use a checklist.


See these trade show lighting tips for setting the mood and style of your booth, directing your visitors’ gaze, and creating a comfortable ambiance as well as lighting up your display.

Trade show lighting is crucial to create the mood you want your audience to feel. Your booth lights can affect every aspect of the selling process, beginning with attracting customers to your display, to closing deals. Here are important tips:

Your Booth Lighting Should Attract Attention

Using lights of a different cast, color, or intensity than the exhibit hall lighting can help draw attention to your display. Other attention-grabbing lighting includes flashing, moving, twinkling, and other similar effects. However, don’t get too carried away with special effects or visitors will avoid the overwhelming visual overload of your booth.

Lighting Should be Functional

Use your trade show lighting to illuminate your exhibits and products adequately. Try to avoid glare and reflections that reduce visibility, and be sure to have enough candlepower to illuminate your entire booth with an appealing but not harsh brightness.

Also, be sure that none of your lights shine directly into visitors’ eyes when they approach or enter your booth.

Dramatic Lighting Can Emphasize Graphics

If your graphics warrant it, consider creating drama illuminating them with highlights. Be careful to keep it in theme and tone with your booth’s ambiance and message.

Lighting Can Identify Product Locations

Different colors of trade show lighting can be used to visually mark separate products. Be subtle with this effect, however, because overly-colored light is tiring to the eyes and is difficult for reading.

Whatever booth lighting you design for your exhibit, be sure to bring adequate extension cords, power strip outlets, and spare lightbulbs.

If your trade show booth needs to incorporate a lot of equipment, plan the design around that fact. How do you want to use and display each piece of equipment, and how much access is needed for each? How should each piece be placed in relation to the others to create a logical flow of presentation?

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