Five Ways to Un-Suck Your Pipe and Drape

Secret’s out. I have a love-hate relationship with pipe and drape.

My favorite event venues have unique architectural details that add to the ambiance for the event. Exposed brick. Glass. Even peeling plaster. Add the right lighting and you’re all set.

But sometimes you have no choice. Your venue is generic. Especially in hotels and convention centers, you get what you get. And pipe and drape is an affordable option to dress up your space.

Fork out $10 per linear foot in rental fees, and you’ve created just the space you need for your event, right? This is where pipe and drape gets a bad wrap. Without any extra touches, pipe and drape is plain boring. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With a few inexpensive extras, you can make it look extraordinary.

So let’s dig in! Here are five ideas to make your pipe and drape look a little less boring at your next event.


One: Lighting

Consider adding uplights to your pipe and drape. This one may seem fairly standard as many A/V companies will do this without even asking. However, I encourage you not to skip on this important detail. You might be tempted to spend a little less money and opting for unlit drape. Don’t. Done well, uplights will give ordinary pipe and drape that extra bit of color that makes it pop. You can use this opportunity to incorporate your brand colors or hues related to your speaker’s presentation or brand into the event.

Two: Avoid Black Drape

Second consider using a different color of pipe and drape. If you want colors from your lighting to really pop, white or gray drape works really well. If you have a particular theme that lends itself to certain colors, try out bright colors and use lighting for accents. You’ll pay a few dollars extra per linear foot, but the added touch can be well worth it.

Three: Layers

Consider adding an additional backdrop of your pipe and drape. This allows you to have a neutral color as a blank canvas. Then you can add another backdrop like a step-and-repeat or other banner. This approach gives you the coverage of floor-to-ceiling pipe and drape, focusing attention on the smaller backdrop area.

Four: Add Texture

Add additional texture to the front of your pipe and drape. Some companies like to add panels that reflect light in interesting ways. Others may add exposed trusses with uplights or even LCD screens to change the look of your stage area dynamically. Both of these approaches allow you to quickly change the look and feel of the room for each session. This also provides you another opportunity to work in your brand color logo or other brand assets for your event.

Perhaps you’re operating on a budget? Simple touches like IKEA lights and furniture can do wonders for a stage.

Five: Alternatives

Consider alternatives to pipe and drape. While pipe and drape is a standard choice, there are other options. Check out these stretched fabric, Fast Around panels. Or consider solid walls from your local exhibit shop. If you’re willing to spend a little extra, dropping the drape isn’t an issue at all.

These are just a few ideas to make pipe and drape stand out at your next event. At Attended, we use all of these tactics to make our pipe and drape look just a bit better than what’s expected. Do you need help with designing or planning your event? Feel free to drop us a line. We’re always happy to chat.

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