Small Business Brief


Small Business Small Budget No Problem! Top 5 Trade Show Booth Ideas for a Small Budgets

Did you know that trade show generated more than $12.8 billion in revenue in 2016?

It’s no wonder that even small businesses want to set up a booth at a trade show.

Do you want to make your small business stand out at your next trade show? Then check out these trade show booth ideas for small budgets.

Top 5 Trade Show Booth Ideas for Small Budgets

If you have begun your search for popular trade shows online you have probably already noticed that getting the space can be expensive. Thankfully there are ways to help keep costs down with different trade show booth ideas for small budgets. 

If you’re not participating at trade shows you’re missing out on putting your business in front of many potential new customers. Those attending trade shows are there because they’re interested in visiting the booths and learning about new vendors.

1. Clutter Free

An easy way to have a visually appealing setup is to have a clutter-free area. Don’t put everything on your table to promote your business and what you have and make your space look like a mini garage sale or flea market booth. The last thing you want is to push potential clients away because your area looks messy instead of attractive.

The goal is for you to have a booth that looks like the go-to place where people want to be. When there are too many items on your table it makes it look like you have bargain deals that people can buy for less than $5 a piece vs having products or services that are exclusive and worth more money.

When people see too many options on your table they might instantly feel overwhelmed and find it too hard to make a decision so they end up not buying anything. Keep only the most important things in sight there’s no need to overwhelm your potential customers before having the opportunity to meet you.

A trade show is a perfect way to make a connection and build relationship overtime but with a cluttered area, you might not have the opportunity to even meet your next client. No one is going to take time out to study what’s on your booth it’s your job to make it crystal clear right when they get there.

2. Use Color

If you’re pulling off a trade show event on a budget this is an easy way to make everything look unified and make it visually appealing. Pick one or two colors that go with your brand and revolve your setup around what you choose. The following key pieces can make a huge difference in your booth and still keep you under budget.


Sometimes they will give you a tablecloth when you arrive at the event but it might not be your company’s color. You can swap what they give you for a tablecloth that fits your brand and your theme. You can also choose to use a table runner with a bold color that stands out.

To save some money invest in a tablecloth that can be converted from one size to another with fasteners or velcro so that you’re covered no matter the table size during an event that you do. If you buy a custom tablecloth with your logo it will cost more upfront but it’s something you can use over and over. After each event store it in a case or a storage bag to keep it clean and protect it.

Matching Shirts

Whether it’s you or a few people representing your booth everyone can have matching shirts to go with the booth colors. You can choose plain colored shirts or have them imprinted with your company logo. If you go with unbranded shirts have everyone wear a company lanyard or a company badge. 

Floral Accents

You can add to the color theme with floral accents or greenery. There are inexpensive fake plants that can add to the table along with a modern plant or flower holder. These can be reused for future events making them a great investment if floral accents would go with your brand and not make your booth look cluttered.

Remember you don’t have to have everything on your table if this will make it look cluttered scratch this idea off your list.


Balloons are an inexpensive way to add to your booth and catch peoples attention. You can pick colors to match your theme and have an instant pop of colors in your area. Make sure you double check with the trade show before buying balloons because some events don’t allow them.

3. Games

There are so many games you can come up with to bring attention and have people want to come over to your table. If people love the game you have they will tell others in the show about it making you an instant hit if you choose wisely. Make sure you choose a game that’s appropriate for the event and your audience. 

You can set up a bean bag toss where people throw bean bags in for prizes. You can also make a prize wheel that people spin and they get a prize depending on which section of the wheel it lands on. The prizes are all up to you but you can do a certain percent off a specific product or service or off of any product or service or even have an opportunity to get a free service or product.

You can also set up a fishbowl where people drop in their business card and you do a drawing at the end of the event for a prize.

4. Connect

Before the tradeshow do your homework and find out what other vendors will be there. You can reach out to a vendor that would complement what you have to offer and see if they want to split the cost of the booth.

This can be a win-win situation for both parties. You will both attract different potential customers and they will get the opportunity to easily view what you each have. If you both have games set up you will have double the fun at your booth.

You can also connect with fellow vendors before the show and introduce yourself. Build a relationship because you never know when one of their customers will need your service. They will send their customer to you over someone else because they know you. 

The more you build on those relationships with fellow vendors the more referrals you will get from them. Friends refer friends and those referrals are very solid.

5. Go Big

Whatever you choose to have for the trade show you want to go big to draw attention. If you get a banner or a sign make it big so that it can be seen from a distance. This will catch peoples attention before coming anywhere near your booth. 

It will naturally draw people into your table because they want to see exactly what on the oversized item you have displayed. The primary item on your banner or sign should be a large eye-catchy photo not a ton of text.

You only have a few seconds to catch someones attention. This can be done with an oversized picture and a short direct message in the form of text. Any display item that you go with make it as large as possible to make visitors want to come to see what you have because they can’t resist the large sign or banner they keep seeing from across the room.

Whatever oversized item you choose make sure it’s portable, foldable, or collapsible. This will make it easy to set up and break down and also make it easy to store and use again for future events. Anything you use at an event you want to be able to use it again so that you get multiple uses out of it. 

If you have nothing else at your booth because of a tight budget this option will be inexpensive and easy as long as it’s easy to read.

Now Go Have Fun!

After reading all the trade show booth ideas for small budgets above it’s time to choose what will work best for your budget and your brand and have fun. You should be excited that you’re going to have the opportunity to meet so many potential clients all under one roof for multiple days. 

If you take the time to do your homework and make a plan of action your booth will be a success. Are you looking for more small business tips? Check out our section where you will find everything small business related.