Interior design is a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide, which is why it isn't surprising that beautiful kitchen design and manufacturing is a growing segment of the total remodelling industry. In America alone, the total remodelling spending – including installation and renovations of kitchens – was nearly $300 billion in just one year during 2013, according to research by Harvard University's Joint Centre for Housing Studies.

IBIS World reports show that this is only set to swell towards 2020, as employment and disposable income per capita are on the rise, leading people to invest in more luxurious home renovations or commercial kitchen-grade equipment. 

As you can imagine, a result of these trends is that there is a booming global market for kitchen expos and trade fairs, granting a variety of leading designers and manufacturers an opportunity to show off their products in quality trade show booths

Food is a central part of the human experience, and at its best is an art form where flavours dance on the palette and cuisine is presented to a top standard. It makes sense that the kitchen in which these culinary masterpieces are created is equally stylish, sophisticated and chic, which is why a custom-designed trade show display can be a feast for the eyes.

These two international kitchen trade shows are the creme de la creme of their sector, and much can be gleamed from their layout, foot traffic and innovative exhibit design


This international kitchen show in Cologne, Germany, brings together the top companies of the sector under one roof at Koelnmesse. The venue website notes it is the number one trade fair location for over 25 commercial sectors, and the LivingKitchen event takes full advantage of this by distributing booths over 42,000 square metres spread across three halls.

A total of 146,000 visitors attended the expo in 2015, with 44,000 of these end consumers. Equally impressive, nearly half (45 per cent) of the 102,000 trade visitors were from overseas, helping the brands activate their presence in international markets. 

In terms of the range of products displayed in the high-end booths, they run the gamut from kitchen furniture and appliances, to taps and fittings, finished worktops, lighting and accessories. 

These are exhibited custom trade show booths, many of which had space for top-of-the-line replica kitchens, with celebrity chefs cooking up culinary delights to tempt the taste buds of end consumers. Some of the booths were sleek and minimalist, portraying contemporary kitchen cookware, while others had a rustic country cooking vibe – catering to both modern and vintage types of home designs.

– Key Takeaway: Embrace creative, bespoke booth design

Creative, bespoke design can really benefit a trade show booth so it can stand out from the others. In the LivingKitchen expo, many of the booths were custom built with back-lit glossy lights, casting the booth in a crisp white glow.

Actual pendant lights were hung from the top of some booths to illuminate the kitchen worktops, and end consumers could walk up to the ovens, dishwashers and microwaves and peek inside. The manufacturers' company names were displayed in large letters above the booths, creating a visual point of difference against their competitors nearby. The decor and design of the booths reflected the brands, either by adding black chalkboard walls and wooden bar stools in rustic kitchen booths, or by having polished stainless steel surfaces in more modern variants. 

It's this creativity and customisability that set the booths apart from each other, making the brands more memorable in the end consumers' minds. 

"Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it's produced the most extraordinary results in human culture," said Sir Ken Robinson, world-leader in creativity, innovation and human resources. 

For example, an out-of-the-box idea to stand out from the indoor booths would be for a kitchen manufacturer to take the show outside with mobile container cafe-style exhibits for their cooking appliances. 

The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS)

This annual event occurs in January, hosted at the Las Vegas Convention Centre and Visitors Centre. This year marked their 51st anniversary, and the event had a 6 per cent growth in attendance of industry professionals from 2014, amounting to over 33,119 people from the industry.

"Everything about this year's show lived up to the promise of bigger, better and bolder," said Bill Darcy, CEO of the US National Kitchen & Bath Association. "We were thrilled, not only by the turnout, but by how many innovations were introduced by exhibitors this year."

More than 500 exhibitors set up trade show booths in 2015, launching products and boosting their brand's visibility over the three days that the KBIS ran. This year the event also added the South Hall to the floor plan, comprising an extra 500,000 square feet of space.

Rather than use this area for more trade show booths, the event devoted the space to a KBISNeXTTM scheme that focused on discovering the next ideas, innovations and trends of the sector. There was a large stage set up beside a futuristic kitchen and 'Tech Bar' to maximise the networking potential. The event organisers even developed a mobile app for visitors to vote for their favourite booth displays, and share on social media for maximum exposure. 

– Key Takeaway: Treat your trade show booth as a social space 

Don't overwhelm your end consumer with a 'hard sell' of your product offerings. Instead, make browsing the trade booth a socially enriching experience. Invite consumers to share in conversations with your sales team by including an 'Ask Me' station within the booth design.

In a similar vein, use social media to its full potential by developing a hashtag for your booth that entices users to take a 'selfie' at the booth and post it using the hashtag. You can stream these pictures onto your brand's website through social embeds of Instagram or Twitter, or for maximum impact, set up a television screen synched to a laptop inside a custom-built wall of the trade show booth to live stream the photo uploads. 

While these tips are relevant to all trade show booths, kitchen-specific spaces could have tasting stations and food-related hashtags so end consumers can post mouthwatering pictures of food served at the booth. The more inclusive, fun and hip you make your trade show booth, the better.