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furniture
Alice Armchair
Attendees will think they've fallen down the rabbit hole when they sit on this fantastical armchair. As blue as Alice's azure-hued dress, this 4-foot-tall and 3-foot-wide chair is made with a steel-frame structure for durability. The chair is ideally suited for exhibitors looking to make a major zig while others casually zag.
Provider: FWR Rental Haus Inc., Las Vegas, 877-637-3744, www.fwrental.com




Crescent Cocktail Table
In a muted-gold alligator print, this 4-foot-long cocktail table gives a toothy grin to all who congregate around its sassy patterned surface and chrome base. Whether you're looking for a coffee table or simply a low-top table with some chops, this piece will do the trick. It's also available in a silver python print and a red alligator print.
Provider: Cort Event Furnishings, Fairfax, VA, 888-710-2525, www.cortevents.com




Studio Chair
Resembling a pop-art relic from Andy Warhol's era, this curvaceous chair is a fun addition to any exhibit. Featuring sloping lines, the chic plastic chair stands just under 3 feet tall. The Studio Chair's lightweight frame makes it as versatile and easy to ship as it is interesting to look at.
Provider: Angles on Design Inc., Elk Grove Village, IL, 847-671-5494, www.anglesondesign.com




Trusuede Tangerine Bench Ottoman
Pantone LLC, a world-renowned authority on color, has named "tangerine" the official color for 2012. So if you plan to ride the cusp of what's current on the color wheel, this 5-foot-long microfiber-suede ottoman that rents for under $200 ought to pique your interest.
Provider: AFR Furniture Rental, Pennsauken, NJ, 888-237-7368, www.afrevents.com




Vega Tables
Like the tiny paper umbrella perched on the rim of a piņa colada, this pint-sized table packs a playful punch of color. The Vega Tables rent for under $100 apiece, are available in blue, red, and yellow, and can be adjusted from 1.5 to 2.5 feet in height.
Provider: Angles on Design Inc., Elk Grove Village, IL, 847-671-5494, www.anglesondesign.com




Blofield Loveseat
From afar, the piece resembles a stately Chesterfield armchair. But upon closer inspection, attendees will notice this inflatable loveseat is full of hot air. Made of vinyl and available in black or cream, this 5-foot-wide loveseat is lightweight and easy to transport. Plus, it adds an unconventional touch to any indoor exhibit or outdoor event.
Provider: Cort Event Furnishings, Fairfax, VA, 888-710-2525, www.cortevents.com




Novel Bench
These tough-as-nails metal benches are a little bit urban, a little bit modern, and a whole lot versatile. Available in single (1.25 feet across) or double (3.8 feet across) options, this piece can be used as a bench or a table. The single bench rents for $225, but exhibitors can double down for only $25 more and get the 3.8-foot-long version for $250.
Provider: AFR Furniture Rental, Pennsauken, NJ, 888-237-7368, www.afrevents.com




High-Back Sectional

Winding like a black-and-white serpent across the floor, this sectional sets a dramatic tone for any space. The six seats that comprise the 20-foot-long slithering sofa can be detached to stand alone, or they can remain linked to the undulating whole. Either way, the vinyl cushions offer a tempting place to rest your tush.
Provider: Cort Event Furnishings, Fairfax, VA, 888-710-2525, www.cortevents.com




Grand Banquet
Voila, the exaggerated lines of Hollywood glam. This luxe settee stretches the definition of "high-back," pulling the 6-foot-tall padded backing to the height of sophistication. The fabric is silver-platinum-simulated leather with brass-nail-head accents that line the trim.
Provider: FormDecor Inc., La Mirada, CA, 310-558-2582, www.formdecor.com




Origami Chair
Like a square of rice paper folding into a crane, this chair appears trapped in transition - yet its open back and sturdy design are quite inviting. Made from plastic and available in a variety of colors, this 3-foot-tall chair unfolds with a uniqueness that never fails to turn heads. Best of all, it collapses flat for easy transportation and rents for less than $100 per chair.
Provider: FWR Rental Haus Inc., Las Vegas, 877-637-3744, www.fwrental.com




Industrial Steel Backlit Bar
Bellying up to this bar is unavoidable - its 3.5-by-8-foot illuminated graphic attracts attendees like moths to a flame. While this particular model features verdant blades of grass, it's possible to replace the image with your own customized graphic panel. The streamlined bar includes fluorescent fixtures and built-in shelves, and comes in at less than $300 per rental.
Provider: FormDecor Inc., La Mirada, CA, 310-558-2582, www.formdecor.com




Odyssey Barstool
Oozing cool, contemporary vibes thanks to a thin, illuminated band of light near the suede seat, this collection of cuboid stools is available in three different patterns (Essex black and white, pewter alligator, and grey python) and two solid colors (orange and purple). These chic barstools are sure to add panache if you've got a bar to bedeck.
Provider: Cort Event Furnishings, Fairfax, VA, 888-710-2525, www.cortevents.com




Home-Grown Table
Looking to show that your company cares about eco-friendly exhibiting? If so, then this table made from reclaimed Acacia wood might be just what you want to use at your next trade show or event. It's atypical in its outdoorsy, repurposed design, announcing an eco-conscious identity for anyone who opts to rent it.
Provider: FWR Rental Haus Inc., Las Vegas, 877-637-3744, www.fwrental.com




Petrin Sofa
Folding in on itself like the appendages of a soft pretzel, this 7-foot-long split-back sofa begs to be lounged upon. Renting for $324, the sofa and its organic green, velvet-upholstered cushions and unusual design boast lighthearted-yet-classy sophistication.
Provider: FormDecor Inc., La Mirada, CA, 310-558-2582, www.formdecor.com




Totally Mod Sectional
This circular sectional is a cinch to set up. The cushions on each of the individual seats pop off the frame, which in turn folds into a flat, transportable piece. What's more, each of those cushions are wrapped with customizable leather "skins" that can be embroidered with a logo or imprinted with a heat-fused image. The base of the sectional, too, can be pimped out with prominent LED lights.
Provider: Ice Magic Holdings LLC, Orlando, FL, 407-816-1905, www.totallymod.com




Imperial Armless Chair
Royal purple and fit for a king, this armless chair is ideal for an exhibitor looking to make a statement. For others whose company colors or promotional template happen to include plum or amethyst hues, a stately furnishing such as this 3-foot-tall armchair is sure to add a brand-appropriate pop to your booth.
Provider: AFR Furniture Rental, Pennsauken, NJ, 888-237-7368, www.afrevents.com
hen preparing for a trade show or event, there are some wily four-legged fixtures you've got to deal with: your furnishings. Now some would say a chair is simply a place to momentarily rest your rump, and a table is little more than a flat surface upon which to set your literature. But those who deal in furniture know better.

A unique sectional can set a specific mood, a logo-branded bar can emblazon a company's name in attendees' brains, and a colorful ottoman can send a welcoming vibe that beckons passersby to take a load off. But why dole out the dough to buy, store, and ship just one set of furnishings that you'll reuse like a tired pair of tennis shoes? Furniture trends and company objectives can change as swiftly as the color of Nikki Manaj's hair extensions, which is why smart exhibitors and event planners frequently turn to rental furniture.

Tricia Schmitt can attest to that. As director of marketing at AFR Furniture Rental, Schmitt makes it her business to surf the hottest design trends for AFR's inventory because she knows the demand for fresh rentable furnishings is on the rise. "Furniture isn't just about a place to sit anymore," Schmitt says. "It's morphed into a major design element for trade shows and events." She's seeing exhibitors and event planners who want everything in their exhibits or event spaces to mirror their company's image. Rental furniture - with its slew of options - can accomplish that objective in a snap.

According to Kevin Dana, director of marketing and product development at Cort Event Furnishings, "There's efficiency to renting, as well as flexibility. Exhibitors can rent one item this year, and then do something completely different the next."

Along with that flexibility, let's not forget that renting instead of buying furniture can cut costs. If you do the math, the price to buy and own furniture for trade shows and events is often sky high because it includes: the initial investment of purchasing the furniture; the cost to store it in a warehouse between shows and events, and the expense of shipping everything from point A to multiple point Bs.

There's another often-unforeseen expenditure associated with buying and shipping owned furniture to shows. Mike Scallion, a manager at rental-furniture company Angles on Design Inc., points out that, "When purchasing furniture you plan to use over and over at trade shows, you typically need to have custom crates constructed for the furniture or have boxes made to transport the furniture in."

Then there are the additional fees associated with maintaining, refurbishing, and cleaning the items. All the wear and tear from shows and events adds up to a not-so-small sum that might otherwise be put toward renting fresh furnishings that look like new. Sometimes, too, when you rent furniture, the provider handles the cost of drayage - another chunk of change you can save.

There are also hidden pitfalls for exhibitors who stubbornly stick to the same furniture arrangements. For example, Scallion says that he receives calls all the time from exhibitors whose companies have grown, whose exhibit dimensions have enlarged, and who require more pieces of furniture from a collection they'd purchased years ago. "I'm forced to tell them that the furniture they're looking for has been discontinued," he says. "When you rent, you don't have that problem, and you have the chance to change the look of your exhibit at any time." Considering these behind-the-scenes details, renting becomes a rather attractive option.

To bring you up to speed on the realm of rental furniture, EXHIBITOR tapped six rental-furniture providers to cherry- pick some of their most alluring offerings. Enjoy the eye candy and get a taste of what's available to rent. E

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