Building a Home Show Display

Pros share design and construction tips for a trade-show booth presentation. July 2, 2005

I'm preparing for two home shows, and my thought process has hit the wall. I've designed a small 8' kitchen display, but I'm unsure on how to build a structure that can hang the uppers, be presentable, and be easily set up and torn down. The structure needs to be free standing and fairly rigid so it doesn't wobble when prospects are opening and closing the doors. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor T:
Use 4'x8' ply sheets and attach them in series with quick joint fasteners, and attach the lowers and uppers to the wall, and it will free stand and be rigid. Use the space in-between the uppers and lowers as you would a traditional backsplash.

From contributor M:
I just built a standard 2x4 wall, covered with luan, and I screwed the base units at the top and bottom. The wall is laid down flat to allow screw access to a hanging strip we placed under the bottom shelf, rear of the base units. Make sure you stand the wall up and set your wall units. The base units prevent the setup from falling forward when the doors are opened on the wall units. I used this setup for years without any problems. You should do a test setup to make sure there aren’t any issues when multiple doors are opened.

From contributor B:
We made our show booth wall from 2x4's, in 4' x 8' sections, and covered them with bead board paneling, which hides the joints. We bolted the sections together from the back side, and when the back side of either wall was exposed, we covered it with 1/4" melamine, and used fast caps to cover the screw heads.

We typically tie the base cabinets to the walls with a couple screws to secure the walls. Our wall cabinets have suspension blocks, and the hanging rail stays on the walls all the time. If you build face frame cabinets, you could work a French cleat into your wall cabinet design to achieve the same result.

From contributor L:
For easy transport, you could use metal studs, with 2x wood blocks at the cabinet fastener points. The attached paneling would keep the wall from racking.

From contributor J:
I have done a lot of shows in times past. Our first booth was 10x10, and we got all the way up to 10x30. Our solution was to build 2x4 walls around the perimeter of the booth and then sheet them with single sided melamine (we used 3/4 for ease of mounting cabinets). We also had a couple of short walls in the middle to stiffen everything up.