How Not To Arrange Your Booth

Selling in an Antique Mall: Display 101

Do you see anything wrong with this photo? See that floor lamp in the back right corner? The one with the milk glass shade that has a pretty scalloped edge? Yeah. I wanted to take a closer look at it, but I wasn’t about to climb over the blockade to get to it or move everything out of the way, either.

This dealer has beautiful things in her booth … and it is all going to stay in her booth, too. Who knows how many other potential customers walked away just like I did. This space looks like I just threw open the door on a storage unit. Albeit a gorgeous storage unit, but a storage unit nonetheless.

If this were my space, I would’ve placed that cream whatnot shelf and one of those dining chairs on top of the big dining table, using both as risers to display other merchandise. If that didn’t clear enough walking space, I’d simply remove some of the stuff.

OK, then. We’re agreed that there’s too much crap in this space. Do you see anything else wrong with this picture? Look carefully. Think it over. Anything? I’ll give you a hint: it has to do with that pretty lamp I was interested in. That’s right, it should have been plugged and lit up – as should the table lamp in the foreground. My camera flash and photo software brightened this picture quite a bit.  Being at the back of the shop, this space was pretty darn dark despite the creams and bling of silver and crystal.

Antique mall dealers take note. Stocking your booth isn’t about how much you can cram into the space. It’s about using that space to display your gorgeous merchandise so that shoppers can get close to it, touch it, fall in love with it and buy it. Make room for your customers and light the way for them all the way to the cash register.

Want more tips like this? Consider buying our ebook Selling in an Antique Mall: A Beginner’s Guide.

  1. Betty03-28-2012

    I do love all these old items being sold – some good tips here also. I have had good luck selling and buying old stuff on vintage classified ads like and many other Free collectible and antique classified ads. You just need to see what works best for you when selling older items. It is a great way to make money and clear out some things in your home you are not using anyway. You get to clean out your closets, basement, attic and storage units. Why not it’s free and you can make money!

  2. Jamie Iomo12-08-2010


    Definitely gonna recommend this post to a few friends

  3. Kay08-06-2010

    Absolutely! If I have to dig, I’m going on to the next booth. And put price tags where we can see them and written large enough that if I have to lean over 4 chairs and a table and stuff on that table, that I can still read the tag on that mirror hanging on the wall at the back of the booth. Do NOT hide the tag on the back of the item, so I have to worry about taking it off the hook and possibly dropping it.
    The only exception… do NOT put sticky tags or tape on the fronts of books or magazines. Slip a card inside or a write it in pencil on the side flyleaf (if you must.)

  4. Sue07-07-2010

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make this a continuing series!!!! I’ll gladly contribute! You should’ve seen this one booth in PA a few weeks ago. I grok that people want to “dig” but not through furniture. Seriously; I’ll contribute to this series!

    • Lovely07-08-2010

      Have at it, Sue! I think your log on should still work.

  5. Mallory - Miss Malaprop07-05-2010

    That’s one of the reasons I don’t shop at antique malls more often. Whenever I go it’s just too overwhelming, hoping you don’t knock something over and break it while you’re trying to peek over all the piles and piles of stuff.

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