Whether displaying antiques by color, era or similarity, it is important to create a tidy and inviting atmosphere that brings customers into your spot and makes them comfortable enough to spend time looking around, says antiques dealer Shirley Mastney, owner of Medina Depot Antique Mall in Ohio. In addition, she adds, items are best displayed when they are easily seen and accessible. The key is to create different levels of height and depth within your booth.
Create height with shelving units, positioning taller ones against walls or back-to-back as dividers within a booth. Place smaller shelves on tables for a fuller-looking display.
Establish a walkway in the booth with the placement of tables and other furniture. A long table across the front allows people to browse smaller items easily, yet can inhibit them from entering the booth. Tables scattered within the spot or different sized tables grouped together invites customers in to view larger items and leads them through the booth.
Focus lighting on key areas of the booth to accent items, or illuminate dark areas customers normally have trouble seeing. Also use lighting to create a mood or as an attention-getter, via flashing or colored lights. Incorporating antique lighting sources that are also for sale is ideal.
Hang framed artwork and other items that can be displayed on any available wall space. Hanging groups of like items, such as kitchen utensils, is a smart use of such space. Use room dividers or backs of tall shelves as wall space in a pinch.
Place wooden boxes and crates or small stepladders in the booth to create dimension. Display items inside boxes/crates turned on their sides, or place items on top of upside down boxes/crates. Arrange them on tables, stack them on the floor or elevate items in the back by piling small boxes on shelves.
Accent displays with linens, doilies and greenery -- such as artificial flowers or ivy -- for a finishing touch.
Antique booths are prone to clutter. Avoid overfilling your spot.
Keep fragile items securely displayed.
If possible, hang jewelry, linens and clothing to make it easier for customers to look through.
Do not lean framed pictures or racks in corners or against furniture -- it looks cluttered and is a potential hazard.
Think of unusual but practical ways to display items, such as displaying linens on the slatted side of a baby crib or hanging old photos from a clothesline, like in a darkroom.
Make sure shelving units are stable and secure.
Leave enough space in your booth for customers to walk through comfortably. Walkways that are too narrow or cluttered are potential hazards.
- Shirley Mastney, Owner/Antiques Dealer; Medina Depot Antique Mall; Medina, Ohio
Based in Northeast Ohio, Heather Koorey has been writing professionally for more than 15 years. She headed a weekly business column and spent time as the education beat writer and feature writer for "The Medina Gazette." Koorey holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in writing and public relations from Heidelberg University.