One of the event trends we see come and go all the time is venue decorating. There are many types of venues out there, which means you can’t easily count on a particular “look.” That leads to a lot of pressure on coordinators to dress up the place, decorating and covering up barer venues to look more conventional. In the past few years we’ve seen a pushback against this trend, which has left many event planners wondering, “So should I worry about decorating? Or ignore it?” Let’s talk about when your venue appearance matters!

Cover Up the Ugly Spots

If your venue appearance is truly distracting in some way, then absolutely plan on a little decoration (sometimes a sheet or well-placed table can work wonders). You want to avoid any distractions while also giving attendees the best impression of your location choices. If a venue is so ugly that it may reflect on your company, you need to do something about it. If the venue is not distracting in this way, you don’t need to worry about it as much.

Remove Confusion

Venue decoration isn’t all about style: There’s also substance. For example, the right decoration can help herd attendees in the right direction, give them information about where certain things (food, charging stations, sponsors, so on) are located, and keep them from losing focus. We don’t want to overuse the “herding cats” metaphor, but in this case, a little inventive decoration really can help keep people together.

Know Expectations

What are attendees expecting? The type of event, as well as the appearance of previous events, should influence your decoration decisions. A black tie event is obviously going to have a much different design expectation than a casual team celebration. The classier the event is supposed to be, the more focus you should put into making the venue look as good as it can.

Let the Location Be Itself – And Save Money

We’re seeing this trend a lot with industrial venues these days. Since the industrial look is popular and these venues do a good job of highlighting their spaces, companies are content with letting all that metal and framework just…be. Attendees are fine with it, and companies save a lot of money on unnecessary decorating.

Choose the Right Spaces Within the Venue

You don’t have to lay down carpet and temporary walls for the entire venue. Instead, consider focusing on only a couple areas. You may want a classier look for the dining area, for example, or for product demonstrations (and accompanying photos). Limited decoration is always an option!

Do More With Lighting Than Material

Lighting tends to be cheaper than decorating materials and can be just as useful when enhancing a venue. A skilled lighting decorator can use varying levels of brightness and shadow to hide unnecessary parts of the venue and bring attention to the most important scenes. If your venue has lots of room for innovative lighting, consider it.

If you still have more questions about when and how to decorate a venue, indoors or outdoors, check out McVeigh Global Meetings and Events for more advice and even planning options!