How to maximise your exhibition space at a conference or trade show

Size isn’t everything when it comes to exhibiting at an expo, conference or trade show. In fact, sometimes less is more.

So, if you’re exhibiting at an event but only have limited stand space, it shouldn’t prevent you from making a memorable impact. When utilised in the right way, you can maximise the space on smaller exhibition stands or shell scheme to make them appear bigger than they are.

It’s all about being creative, choosing the right event partner and thinking outside the box – literally, in this sense.

So, if you’re looking to make a splash at your next event but only have a small stand space booked, here are a few things you can do to maximise your presence.

Remember, small can be beautiful

We’ve written before about the drawbacks of shell scheme, and we stand by our opinion that there’s a better way of doing things than this old, traditional method that many organisers still favour.

However, shell scheme remains necessary evil in the events industry, so making the best use of it is essential. And with margins under pressure and costs on the increase, booking smaller events spaces can be expensive, so making an impact is more important than ever.

However, a small stand space shouldn’t be a barrier to showcasing your brand and business in the best light. With a bit of careful planning and some clever design, even the smallest event spaces can look amazing.

Some of the things to bear in mind when it comes to maximising your exhibition stand space include:


When it comes to planning a smaller exhibition space, location will have a significant bearing on many different elements. You’ll need to let your stand designer know its exact dimensions, where it’s located in the venue and which direction foot traffic will be flowing. Also, is it a side, corner, peninsular or island space, as these allow for different designs and options.

Side stands, especially in shell scheme, have only one side open, which can leave your space feeling boxed in and claustrophobic, especially if you have desks, chairs, racks, screens or other equipment on the floor or lots of people milling around inside your stand.  

Corner spaces are located at the end of aisles and are usually open on two sides, opening the floorspace up a bit more and making it feel less cramped.

Having two sides open gives you two sides to cover, which means you’ll still have plenty of wall space to get creative with your design and branding

A peninsula space has three open sides, which again opens up your floorspace, but gives you less wall space for your visuals. And with an island space, it will be open on all four sides, meaning you may need to get clever and creative with what you have on the floor to draw the visitors in.


Where space is limited, lighting can really enhance your exhibition stand in several ways.

It can make dark and confined spaces appear light and airy. It can help attract visitors to your stand by creating different moods or atmospheres. It can help highlight certain features or displays on your stand and create a ‘journey’ through it. It can also create a sense of depth, movement and interactivity and make your stand feel more friendly and approachable.

Most of all, though, lighting is an excellent way of making smaller things appear bigger. So, if space is at a premium, getting the lighting on your stand right can have a huge visual impact and enhance your presence.


Minimalism is bang on trend in the events world. Keeping things sleek and simple is a great way of making the right first impression. On small exhibition stands, this becomes even more imperative.

So, cut out the unnecessary clutter.

Don’t include too much equipment on your stand if you can help it. Try to integrate things like screens, marketing material racks and displays into the stand itself, so you can keep more floorspace free.

Place desks or counters close to the walls, near the back of your stand, so they don’t create a physical barrier between you and your audience. And if you can find alternative storage space away from your stand for excess materials or marketing literature, it will help keep things clean and clutter-free.


Having too many people on your stand is a sure-fire way to make it look cramped and cluttered. If you’ve only got a small space to play with, overcrowding your stand with staff can seem intimidating and off-putting to visitors passing by.

You want your stand to appear as inviting as possible, so keep staff numbers to a bare minimum and utilise the space effectively so that when people come onto your stand, they can relax in informal surroundings while you have a conversation with them.

If space allows, having a dedicated networking or break-out area away from the main area of your stand will help keep things simple.


If floorspace is limited in your exhibition stand, it’s crucial to make the most of it. Just sticking a desk, chair or podium there might not be the best use of space.

Instead, think about what interactive elements or activities you can incorporate to bring your space to life and entice people in. Integrated LED screens built into your stand walls can create a sense of depth and movement within your stand and make it appear bigger than it is.

And interactive touchscreens, displays, games, activities and product demonstrations can add to the visual appeal, boost engagement and help you deliver a memorable visitor experience.

Again, it’s all about being creative. If the people who visit your stand have a good time when they’re there, do you really think they’ll be bothered about how big – or small – your stand is?

How can Exhibit Interactive help?

Beautiful things come in small packages and can still pack a big punch. So, just because you only have a small amount of space to play with, it doesn’t mean your exhibition stand can be any less impactful.

We can help you stand out from the crowd and make a real impact on your visitors. We offer a wide range of creative small space events solutions which incorporate your brand and visual identity and enable you to showcase your business in the best way.

Why do average when you can have extraordinary? To find out how we can bring your next small exhibition stand to life, give us a call today.

Need to geneate more leads from your exhibition stand?

Get 10 ESSENTIAL THINGS you should be doing to turn visitors in to leads.

Need to generate more leads from your exhibition stand?

Get 10 ESSENTIAL THINGS you should be doing to turn visitors in to leads.