Tabletop Trade Show Display Tips & Examples

Table Top Displays
February 12, 2024

Admittedly, trade show terminology can be confusing to exhibit newbies. Like drayage, inline displays, or GSC for example. But the term “trade show tabletop display” is pretty straightforward. It’s a display that sits on a 6 ft. or 8 ft. banquet table at a trade show, event, or sales meeting. Easy enough. 

However, don’t equate straightforward with limited. Trade show tabletop displays come in a wide range of designs and prices, including pop-ups, folding, sustainable, and even backlit. The only limitation (other than size) is your creativity and your budget. 

As trade show experts, we’ll explain the benefits of tabletop displays and feature 12 innovative tabletop designs. 

Crafting an Eye-Catching Tabletop Trade Show Display 

There’s no perfect tabletop display. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a perfect tabletop display for you. Identifying your marketing goals is the first step. Be flexible, however. Your tabletop marketing goals may differ from your larger inline or island goals… The size of the display and the booth space, along with the trade show attendees, will dictate your objectives. Consider the following when crafting an eye-catching tabletop display. 

  • Branding:  Every exhibitor wants their logo and tagline loud and proud. But that’s tough on a tabletop display. Consider buying a printed table throw to complement your display. Table throws add an upscale look to any booth space and the large printable area is ideal for logos and taglines. 
  • Messaging:  Unless you’re a pharmaceutical or a scientific research company, it’s best to keep your message short and focused on the problem you’re solving. Although the following comparison may seem surprising, a tabletop display is closer to a billboard along the highway than a website or a printed magazine ad. 
  • Graphic Design: Work with a professional graphic designer. They know the difference between a PowerPoint graphic and a display graphic. Your tabletop is not a physical PowerPoint presentation. 
  • Engagement: Try to visualize your display as an outsider would see it. Does it catch your eye, cause you to think for a moment, and compel you to ask a question or request more information? That’s a lot to expect from a tabletop display, but it’s not impossible. 
  • Lighting: Many tabletop exhibitors skip lighting. That’s a mistake. Spotlighting or backlit graphics will draw attendees like a moth to….

Remember, the best tabletop trade show display is one that is tailored to your specific goals and target audience. Consider your budget, resources, and brand identity when choosing your design and elements.  

Innovative Trade Show Tabletop Display Ideas

1. VKN-1851 | SEG Tabletop 

trade show tabletop display ideas

2. VKN-1291 | Portable Tabletop

tabletop display

3. VKN-0003 | Backlit Tabletop

table display ideas for trade shows

4. VKN-0005 | Backlit Tabletop

tabletop display example

5. TFN-413 | Lightweight Tabletop

lightweight tabletop display

6. TFN-407 | Lightweight Tabletop

tabletop display for trade shows

7. ECON-101T | Sustainable Tabletop

sustainable tabletop display

8. Classic Presentation 18 | Briefcase Tabletop

tabletop presentation examples

9. Classic Presentation 32 Plus | Briefcase Tabletop

tabletop trade show displays

10. SalesMate 2×2 Kit A | Pop-Up Tabletop

trade show tabletop kit

11. SalesMate 4×3 Kit C | Pop-Up Tabletop

pop up tabletop trade show display

Table Display Ideas for Trade Shows to Maximum Visitor Engagement 

Unlike a traditional inline or island exhibit, the tabletop display isn’t always the star attraction in the booth. You are. Consider this.  A well-designed tabletop display communicates your brand and message, but attendees require more than that to become qualified prospects. 

Your booth staff is the key to attracting, engaging, and qualifying prospects. The single most valuable asset in any booth space is friendly and knowledgeable staff who understand the company’s trade show objectives. To deepen that engagement and create memorable experiences for attendees, consider the following:

  • Professionalism:  If you have ever worked in retail or food service, then apply those basic rules. For example:   ask open-ended questions, greet people in a timely manner, be gracious and welcoming, and don’t prejudge or make assumptions. In other words, treat an attendee as your guest who deserves your time and respect.  
  • Games:  There’s a reason for the expression “Fun and Games.” Games will attract attendees to your booth and increase your engagement time. The key is to choose a fun and memorable game that relates to your company’s products and/or services
  • Promotional Products:  Well-chosen promotional products can have a very long shelf-life with attendees, reminding them of your company, products, and experience. But choose wisely. Too many giveaways become toys for children rather than useful business gifts.  
  • Demonstrations:  Many products and services can only be fully appreciated via a demo. Software is a good example. Trade shows are ideal for these demos since attendees are eager to learn about products that will benefit their company. 

Utilizing Space Effectively in Tabletop Displays 

Space at a trade show is valuable real estate. Utilizing that space wisely will maximize engagements with attendees and future sales. Think of it as your trade show Feng Shui, because getting it right can be a mix of planning, instinct, and artistry.  

  • Table Location:  Front, Back, or Side. It’s not an easy choice, nor a logical one. Sometimes it depends on the show and the layout. Other times, it’s dictated by the exhibitor’s products and/or how they plan to engage with clients. One rule of thumb, however. If the booth space is deep, then consider placing the table toward the back of the booth. This arrangement invites attendees into your booth and moves them away from the noise and traffic along the aisle. 
  • Table Surface: Tabletops typically go on either a 6 ft. or 8 ft. banquet table, preferably with a table skirt. Tabletop displays use much of that space, but not all of it. An orderly arrangement of giveaways and literature can add a visual appeal to the display. The secret is moderation and organization. 
  • Chairs (or no chairs): This one is tough. Trade shows can be long, and most of us don’t stand for hours and hours each day. It’s tiring. However, chairs take up valuable space. Plus, many attendees shy away from a booth where the staff is seated, especially if they’re seated behind a table. 
  • Banner Stands: Banner stands are an effective and inexpensive way to increase your visual branding without taking up much floor space. But not all banner stands are equal. Inexpensive stands with curling graphics or pixelated images will send the wrong message to attendees. A banner stand should compliment your overall presentation, not detract from it. 

Create a Custom Tabletop Trade Show Display with Exhibits NW! 

Tabletop displays are rarely big-ticket purchases but that doesn’t make them any less important to your marketing strategy. The right tabletop display can elevate your brand (and increase sales opportunities) at local shows, sales meetings, or client presentations. Plus, your Human Resources Department will love to use them in break rooms, training sessions, or benefit reviews when they’re not at an event. 

The Exhibits Northwest professionals have the experience to guide you to the right tabletop to match your marketing goals and budget. We invite you to contact us for an initial intake meeting and design consultation, and then visit our 125,000 sq. ft. fabrication and printing facility in Portland, OR. Furthermore, we encourage you to browse through our tabletop design gallery for over 40 design ideas.

FAQs about Tabletop Trade Show Displays

Q1. What are tabletop displays?

Tabletop displays are lightweight, portable exhibits designed to fit on standard 6 ft. or 8ft. tables at trade shows. They offer a smaller and more affordable alternative to traditional booths, but can still be effective for generating leads and promoting your brand.


Q2. What are the benefits of using a tabletop display?
  • Cost-effective: Compared to larger booths, tabletop displays are significantly cheaper to purchase, rent, and transport.
  • Portable and easy to use: They can be set up and taken down quickly and easily, often without tools.
  • Customizable: Graphics and branding can be personalized to reflect your company and message.
  • Space-efficient: Ideal for small businesses or startups with limited budgets or booth space.
  • Good lead generation: Can effectively capture leads through brochures, business cards, and digital interactions.
Q3. What are the different types of tabletop displays?
  • Banner stands: Retractable, pop-up, or tension fabric banners displayed behind your table.
  • Table throws: Branded fabric covers draped over your table to hide storage and create a professional look.
  • Literature racks: Displays for brochures, pamphlets, and other marketing materials.
  • Pop-up displays: Lightweight, collapsible structures with fabric graphics for a more prominent presence.
  • Modular systems: Interchangeable components offer flexibility and create unique display configurations.
  • Briefcase displays: Lightweight foldable panels with velcro-receptive fabric and a durable plastic exterior. Excellent for sales presentations and chamber of commerce events. 
Q4. What are some other important things to consider?
  • Display size and weight: Ensure it fits your table and complies with show weight restrictions.
  • Ease of assembly and setup: Choose a display you can set up quickly and efficiently.
  • Eye-catching visuals: Use high-quality graphics and clear messaging to attract attention.
  • Lighting: Consider adding LED lights to enhance your display visibility.
  • Storage and transportation: Opt for a collapsible or easily transportable display.
  • Show regulations: Review the organizer’s guidelines for display size, materials, and electrical usage.
  • Table Throw: Branded and/or printed table throws are an inexpensive and dramatic upgrade to any tabletop package. Throws are easy to install and worry-free.
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If you’re ready to take your trade show exhibits to new heights, fill out this form, and we’ll contact you shortly.

Schedule a Call
If you’re ready to take your trade show exhibits to new heights, fill out this form and we’ll contact you shortly.