A Detailed Guide to Buying or Renting Trade Show Furniture

Note: All dates are subject to change in light of COVID-19

Trade Shows are a huge logistic undertaking. From planning the traveling, the accommodation, the shipping of the products, many first-timers usually get overwhelmed with everything to the point they end up forgetting one of the most vital additions of the whole setup, furniture.

Furniture is very important for a trade show setup, and we are going to see the merits and demerits of either buying or renting trade show furniture, as well as the factors one has to keep in mind when making the choices. If this is your first time preparing for a trade show, then stick around to the end.

Renting Trade Show Furniture

Lounging Area
Source: Pinterest

Trade show furniture is important for a number of reasons. For starters, it is where your staff will sit while resting after standing for long. You also need the furniture for having short chats with visitors who come to check out your booth. If you do decide to go with the renting option, the following are the advantages and disadvantages you should be aware of.


  • By renting, you are relieved of all the responsibilities of insurance, storage, shipping and maintenance. All that’s needed from you is to pay the agreed-upon fee, and everything is made available to you when you need them. Most rental companies even help with setting up the furniture in the booth for you in advance before you arrive.
  • Exhibition furniture hire is much cheaper as you can pay only for the time you are using the furniture, and at times this can be by the hour if you don’t plan to spend the entire day at the show. This financial flexibility is especially good if your funds are limited. It allows you to focus on other important things that may require some funds.
  • With exhibition furniture rental, you have the flexibility of choosing any type of furniture you want, one that matches with your booth. Renting companies always have different kinds of furniture that you can choose from, and this makes renting a very convenient option if you love making modifications to your trade show booth.
  • The trade show furniture rental option allows you to access the booth space you have in advance so that you can choose the right size. This cannot be possible if you carry your own furniture, and you may stand a risk of even being barred from using them if they are not in line with the regulations.


  • You are liable to any damage that the furniture will sustain while in your care, and avoiding this is very hard when you consider the number of visitors that an average booth can have in a single day. Something will have to be given eventually, and a fee will be paid at the end.
  • The furniture usually comes worn out due to constant use over the years by different people. This can be seen by the presence of discoloration, chipping and creaking when people sit on them. It may not be very evident at first, but when dealing with keen visitors, there’s a chance they will notice that, and it may not be a good thing for your reputation.
  • Sometimes getting the furniture you want is never possible either due to overbooking or the renting company simply doesn’t have what you want. In a situation like that, you may be forced to use whatever is available, and this may impact the success of your trade show in a huge way.

Buying Trade Show Furniture

Simple Trade Show Furniture
Source: Pinterest

At times it is necessary to get your own furniture for your trade show. It is a hard undertaking but it does come with its advantages, as illustrated below.


  • You have full control to choose the design you want, the colors you prefer as well as deciding the size. This gives you the flexibility of creating furniture that is well suited for your booth, something that the visitors who come trudging into the booth will truly appreciate.
  • You get the advantage of using well-maintained furniture that not only looks good but transforms the entire booth into a classy-looking exhibition. Since image is everything, you will most likely get more visitors based on that alone. 
  • You can use the same furniture in all the trade shows you attend for many years if you maintain them well enough. This cuts down the cost of having to spend money on furniture every time you attend a new trade show. It is especially very convenient for companies that move around with whole teams.
  • You are free to make any sudden modifications as you deem fit in order to enhance the success of the trade show. You can choose to brand the furniture with your logo, even change the entire color and design without having to answer to anyone.


  • The shipping logistics involved with moving your furniture to the venue is a pure nightmare. This is especially worse when you are traveling to another country far from your headquarters. You will be forced to cater for the cost of airlifting the furniture to and from the venue, and that doesn’t come cheaply.
  • You will also have to take care of the insurance cost, storage costs as well as maintenance. You will also need help moving the furniture to and from the venue; all these are added costs that could easily be avoided by renting the furniture instead.
  • You may flout some trade show rules regarding the sizes of accessories you are allowed to carry to the trade show. Each booth is usually given a cap on the size of items they can squeeze in, and carrying furniture that may be too big will only lead to you being barred from taking part. Having to find an alternative at such a short notice will be very expensive.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Between Renting and Buying Trade Show Furniture

Source: Pinterest

Choosing to go with renting or buying depends on a lot of factors, some personal and some beyond your control. To help you navigate this tricky part easily, keep the following factors in mind when deciding between the two.

  • Size of the Furniture: Sometimes, the size of the furniture involved may be too big for shipping around at will, and renting may be the only recourse left open. In most cases, buying furniture makes sense if the trade show in question is being held within the same locality as your business.
  • Budget: Renting is cheaper and more ideal for people who may be short on money after handling all the other necessary purchases. You can even negotiate the rental deal to have it charged by the hour instead of the entire day. Buying is the best option for big companies that have the funds and the means to transport any type of item across time zones.
  • Personal Preference; Sometimes, the need to make things as perfect as possible will overcome the need to be financially prudent. Having the right furniture will bring your exhibition more benefits and if going with your own furniture helps you achieve that, then the cost should not be the problem.


Furniture is very essential for any trade furniture; a must-have item if you want to experience any form of success. It doesn’t have to be big, just enough to accommodate 3-5 people at the same time for those short breaks and personal chats. If you need to understand more about trade shows and how to nail them the right way, check out our website, and our team of the best event furniture rental in Las Vegas experts will be there to answer all your questions.

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