A Guide to Trade Show Exhibit Flooring

trade show flooring

As businesses plan their trade show exhibits, they often focus their attention on signage, lighting and other design elements that will attract the eye of someone walking by. However, once you have brought in a potential client or connection, you want to ensure every detail speaks to you and your company’s professionalism.

That’s why you need to pay close attention to trade show event flooring solutions.

Consider the statistics from the Consumer Technology Association (CES) Conference. In 2015, more than 170,000 industry professionals attended. That’s a lot of foot traffic. And you need to do everything you can to make sure you stand out, so why not draw your focus to where all that foot traffic will be stepping?

Trade Show Flooring CES Conference

That’s why we’ve put together this expert guide on the many different types of trade show booth flooring. Whether you opt for trade show event carpet or special anti-fatigue flooring, the solution you settle on will quickly become the unsung hero of your trade show exhibit — one of those features that will make a lasting impression, even if people can’t put their finger on why it was so effective.

Making an Impression While Going Unnoticed

Before we jump into our discussion, we should spend some time unpacking just why the stuff under our feet is so important for making connections and improving ROI for our trade show exhibits.

At the most basic level, good flooring might go completely unnoticed. But if you’re investing a lot in flashy graphics or digital displays, that’s for the best. You want possible customers to keep their eyes on you and your products.

However, bad flooring will always be noticed. If it’s an unusual color or noticeably worn and dirty, it will become the unwanted focal point for anyone who walks into your booth.

But you can also make a statement with your flooring. Flooring, whether made of real wood or with a faux wood grain, creates a luxurious ambiance that will make your business appear established. A bold color will give your booth an edgy feel.

trade show flooring is a statement

Finally, you also want to keep yourself and your employees in mind. This is where anti-fatigue flooring comes in. While you’ll surely be doing your potential clients a favor, as they’ll likely have been walking around all day, anti-fatigue flooring is also a great way to help keep those who are staffing your booth upbeat. Remember, making a connection is all about having the right kind of energy, and you never know when that extra-important connection might be walking into your exhibit. Make sure your staff is fully energized from start to finish.

There are both benefits and significant pitfalls to keep in mind when choosing trade show event flooring. If you are going to get noticed due to your flooring, make sure that it’s for the right reasons!

Replacement Flooring as a Quick and Easy Upgrade

Finally, before we get to various exhibit flooring options, we want to address those who already own an exhibit and matching flooring.

One of the most important things at a trade show is leaving guests with the impression that your business is on the cutting edge. A drab and worn trade show exhibit will do the total opposite. However, a new floor is a great way to give your exhibit an instant upgrade without replacing the entire booth.

trade show flooring upgrade

Keep in mind, of all the elements in a trade show exhibit, the floor is the portion that will likely receive the most abuse over the years. If you’ve invested the time, money and energy into getting the rest of your exhibit right, countless feet will be making an impact on your exhibit flooring day in and day out. It’s understandable that your flooring may be the first thing you need to replace.

But perhaps your business has grown faster than you had initially anticipated. When you first invested in your trade show exhibit, perhaps you were on a limited budget, but now you’re ready to take the exhibit up a notch.

You could invest in a completely new exhibit — and if you’ve outgrown the size of your booth, that may be your best option. However, if you just want to give your exhibit a facelift, ironically, the best place to start is down at your feet. A flooring upgrade can radically transform the feel of your exhibit, making it appear more established and luxurious, while elevating the other elements that are still in great shape.

So, just because you aren’t necessarily ready for a complete overhaul doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore new flooring options. It might be the perfect upgrade to kick your trade show game up a notch!

Raised Flooring

There are a couple of ways to create a floor. Most flooring tries to create a smooth transition from the exhibit hall aisle to the trade show booth flooring. However, installing a raised floor is one way to frame your exhibit space in a way that will help you stand out.

Raised flooring can be installed in a wide range of materials, whether it’s actual hardwood, faux wood or even carpeting.

The real benefit is found in the way it creates a bordered space for your exhibit. By having your guests take a small step up as they enter your exhibit, they will have a physical connection to your booth. This is another one of those subtle, subliminal effects, influencing guests in a way they may not initially realize.

There’s one thing to keep in mind, however. Raised flooring generally cannot be rolled up, and therefore requires space to transport. This makes it a challenging solution for smaller operations that are seeking to cut costs. Further, its effectiveness depends on its size. In other words, it doesn’t make much sense for smaller booths. This is especially true if you expect you may have some overflow at your exhibit. If more people want to engage with your booth than you have floor space available, the raised flooring will make people on the outside uncomfortable.


If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, carpet is a great choice. It can be rolled up, making it easy to transport. It is versatile, as it can come in a wide range of colors, facilitating branding. Plus, it is one of the most affordable options when it comes to initial costs.

However, don’t confuse affordable with cheap. If you employ your carpet well, you won’t look like the budget exhibit.

The key to using carpet as your trade show booth flooring solution is to make sure that it is laid properly and that it is in good condition. Carpet only starts to look cheap when it is dirty or worn.

trade show carpeting

Your first step when ordering carpet for a trade show exhibit is to make sure you get the right size! You want the carpet to lay smoothly on the floor, and you don’t want any structural part of your booth causing it to wrinkle. Not only does a wrinkly carpet look cheap, it can also become a tripping hazard for your guests.

You also need to keep your carpeting in good condition once you purchase it. That means investing in a good vacuum to clean your carpet before you roll it up and pack it away. You also want to have industrial stain remover on hand, as a careless guest may spill a can of soda. If you let that sticky solution set into your carpet, you won’t ever be able to keep it looking fresh, so you want to clean the carpet immediately!

Additionally, when choosing colors, be mindful of your goals. A bold color is a great way to draw attention to yourself, while a subtle color will minimize how much guests notice what’s below them, allowing your display to shine. However, a poorly thought-out color will draw attention in all the wrong ways. And if the rest of your exhibit is subtle, an equally subtle color may make your display come across as bland and uninteresting.

Finally, while carpeting is certainly an affordable option, this isn’t to say that you can’t invest in high-quality carpeting that will make your booth stand out! A luxurious carpet can transform your booth into a posh office space straight out of Mad Men.

Carpet is incredibly versatile, meaning it’s a great starting place for anyone designing their first trade show exhibit. If you think this is the option for you and your booth, dive right in and start looking at some of our available options!

Interlocking Rubber

There are a couple of key benefits to interlocking rubber flooring. First and foremost, because they break down in manageable-sized squares, they are easy to store and transport when you’re traveling between trade shows. Rather than managing a large roll of carpet, you can place your interlocking squares in totes, making their storage easier and more modular.

They are also the best way to install anti-fatigue flooring in your exhibit. As we mentioned above, anti-fatigue flooring is a great way to keep your staff at the top of their game. You may even find guests staying in your booth a little longer to reap the benefits of your soft floor!

show interlocking flooring

Interlocking flooring is also incredibly versatile, with even more options being rolled out every day! You can find interlocking flooring in colored rubber options. There are carpeted varieties. You can even get flooring with a faux wood-grain finish. Regardless of your desired look, you’ll likely find an interlocking flooring option that fits your needs.

Additionally, this flooring option is incredibly versatile in the way it’s installed. For example, you can use alternating colors to create visual paths that direct guests into your booths. You also don’t have to worry about guests tripping on creased or wrinkled surfaces. Plus, it is easy to size to the dimensions of your booth.

Just keep in mind that some interlocking flooring solutions are susceptible to damage from rapid temperature changes. If you’re bringing them out of either a very warm truck or a cold shed, it’s best to let them reach room temperature before interlocking them to ensure that the fit isn’t damaged.

Here are some interlocking carpet tiles that have proven to be very effective on the trade show circuit!

Artificial Turf

An artificial turf surface is a specialty option. Not every business is going to be a good fit with trade show AstroTurf. However, if your business meshes well with turf, this can be a real show-stopper!

Sports and agriculture are two business sectors that reap real benefits from an AstroTurf flooring solution. Perhaps you’re rolling out a brand-new sporting-goods item. An artificial turf surface will immediately put guests in a sporting mood. Or, perhaps you deal in large-scale farming equipment. Artificial turf helps your guests imagine your equipment at use outside, not in an enormous exhibition hall.

Plus, artificial turf is easy to install and manage. You don’t need to worry about vacuuming it, it doesn’t require a difficult installation process and it can be rolled up and easily stored. Plus, it’s very durable. Finally, much of today’s artificial turf is made from recycled materials, making it a green option in more way than one!

If it fits with your business and brand, artificial turf makes a lot of sense.

Rollable Vinyl

This is a hard surface that has all the benefits of carpet without being carpet! Just like carpet, it can be rolled up for easy storage, and it is easily and quickly installed when you arrive at the exhibit hall.

Plus, rollable vinyl has several advantages over carpeting. It is easier to clean. You don’t need to vacuum, just give it a quick mop before you roll it up. And if something spills on it, it doesn’t matter, since it won’t stain. It can also come in a wide range of patterns, meaning you can get a wood-grain look without the investment.

Rollable vinyl also comes in a range of thicknesses, meaning you can get some of the same benefits found in interlocking rubber floors. Of course, the thicker the flooring, the more expensive. But if you’re spending a lot of time on the trade show circuit, that investment will be worth it!


Investing in your rollable vinyl will also ensure a finish that looks luxurious without the headache of storage. You can even find rollable vinyl in bold faux-stone finishes, making your exhibit booth appear solid anvinyl show flooringd established, despite being a temporary installation.

You just want to keep in mind that although rollable vinyl is easier to maintain than carpet, it isn’t maintenance-free. And neglecting to take care of rollable vinyl could do a lot to make it look cheap and worn out. Tears or damaged edges not only make your booth look drab, but they can also be tripping hazards for guests. Make sure to follow all the manufacturer’s care instructions and store your rolled vinyl properly!

With so many rollable vinyl options to choose from, start exploring our selection now!

Eco-Friendly Surfaces

Advertising yourself as eco-friendly or green has become an increasingly effective branding option. You can extend such initiatives to your flooring solutions.

Whether made from sustainable bamboo, softwoods or recycled composite materials, eco-friendly solutions are both eye-catching and good for the earth. The designers of these flooring solutions have worked hard to bring eco-mindedness into their aesthetics.

eco friendly floors

Take a flooring made from recycled tires, for example. Not only does this keep countless discarded tires out of landfills, this flooring option also makes a bold statement about your company and its priorities. Plus, they are soft, doubling as anti-fatigue flooring.

Similarly, bamboo flooring isn’t just a more sustainable wood option, it also has a design aesthetic all its own, giving your booth a light, clean appearance.

Don’t assume that recycled flooring options are going to be a step backward from hardwoods in the appearance department. They can be unique and powerful options for a wide range of businesses!

Branded Flooring

While the most common branded flooring — in which your logo or motto is emblazoned on the surface — is carpet, we felt this feature required its own section.

This is in part because a branded carpet does require a different level of investment and care. While rollable carpet is easy to install and store, a branded carpet needs special treatment, mostly because you don’t want anything to diminish the power of your brand.

When installing branded carpet, you want to make sure your brand is always strategically placed. You don’t want an architectural feature placed on the corner of your logo. If you’re installing lighting in your booth, you always want that to highlight your logo, drawing your guests’ attention to your most powerful statement.

branded flooring

You also aren’t limited to branded carpeting. Much like the center of a basketball court, your logo can also be painted on a wood or faux-wood surface. However, if you are going to go with this option, know that at least the logo portion of your surface will likely need to be stored flat, as rolling a logo-emblazoned vinyl floor may cause your logo to crack.

And that’s the greatest concern with this type of flooring option. While a fresh, perfectly printed logo is a real statement piece, a poorly executed or worn and damaged logo hurts your cause. You don’t want to give your guests any reason to think that your business is aging or not on the cutting edge. If you don’t have the means to keep and store your branded flooring in like-new condition, it’s best to go with a simpler option.

If you’re ready to see how branded flooring can pay off for you, check out our options!

Teaming With Experienced Design Professionals

Now that we’ve spent some time outlining the attributes and benefits of various trade show exhibit flooring solutions, it’s important to outline why working with an experienced design professional is so important.

There are a lot of subtle ways flooring choices can go astray. Remember, you’re trying to make a statement without standing out for the wrong reasons. A bold color for one brand may appear garish for another. Wood grain may be a great look for one company, but just seems out of place for another.

Design professionals have spent their careers understanding these subtle distinctions. And considering how important your brand is to you and your company, don’t you think it deserves special attention?

Luckily, here at APG Exhibits, we employ industry-leading designers whose sole goal is making your brand stand out. Our design services packages are created to make sure you have the kind of control you need over your own image, while also enabling our designers to give you expert advice to help you stand out in a crowded trade show exhibit hall.

trade show design services

Plus, because we are a complete trade show exhibit company, we have the knowledge to help your complete display investment work well together. We can help you match the right flooring solution with the best display and architectural elements.

If you are ready to upgrade your flooring and design an entire trade show exhibit from the ground up, contact us at APG Exhibits and get started right away!




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