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Six Simple Hacks for a Tired Booth
At some point, everyone (and everything) starts to show its age – and unfortunately, trade show exhibits are not immune. So what do you do when your exhibit looks past its prime and you've still got oodles of payments left? Based on the advice of several industry experts, here are six of the most common ways to breathe new life into an old exhibit. By Linda Armstrong
1. Add or Replace Lighting
One way to make a drab exhibit shine is to add a little illumination. This could mean updating to LED fixtures or exchanging tired or traditional fixtures for colorful contemporary versions. Or, incorporate lighting where no previous fixtures exist. For example, ringing a 4-by-8-foot graphics panel with LEDs will cost approximately $650 to $850 minimum.

2. Relaminate and Resurface
If your exhibit surfaces, such as those found on reception counters, kiosks, and even walls, become chipped, faded, or dated, consider relaminating or resurfacing them. Removing old laminate and adding a new material will run you approximately $8 per square foot; meanwhile, merely covering existing laminate will cost roughly $6 per square foot.

3. Cover Blemishes
Instead of stripping off worn exhibit materials, cover them. Covering a 4-by-8-foot graphics panel with a pillowcase-fabric solution will run roughly $1,600 for double-sided printing and $1,300 for a single side. Various vinyl films and wraps are approximately $8 to $25 per square foot depending on the finish.

4. Anodize and Powder Coat
When aluminum elements are chipped and dinged, or their colors become outdated, refinish them via powder coating. The process usually involves dismantling the property, and sometimes stripping the existing coating to apply a new one. Retail costs average $5 to $10 per linear foot of extrusion.

5. Update Carpet
New, modern carpet can breathe life into any exhibit. But rather than just trading existing carpet for a new version, select unique colors and styles to help set your booth apart from the masses. For example, what if you switched from traditional carpet to a more updated wood-laminate look? Twenty-five interlocking 2-by-2-foot tiles with a wood-floor pattern cost a mere $180.

6. Replace Furniture
Switch out staid furnishings with those that match your theme or that simply offer a contemporary vibe. Also consider purchasing less-common elements from Ikea or Wal-Mart, where leather sofas and chairs can run as little as $399 and $149, respectively.


Sources: Kevin Carty, vice president, Classic Exhibits Inc., Portland, OR; Steve Deckel, design director, Deckel & Moneypenny Inc., Louisville, KY; Ken Dickison, director of national accounts, Moss Inc., Elk Grove Village, IL; Dave Evensen, vice president of operations, Nomadic Display, Springfield, VA; Brad Hogan, president, Pinnacle Exhibits, Hillsboro, OR

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