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Choose the right room layout for An event

Seating arrangements and their strengths and weaknesses

Selecting the right room layout for an event can make all the difference between an event that engages attendees and one that leaves them struggling to focus.

To help make sure that your next event uses the right layout we’ve laid out the most popular seating arrangements and their strengths and weaknesses.

Theatre

The Theatre layout is a very common way to set up a room and is particularly beneficial for any event that is presenting guests with information but where they are not likely to need to take large amounts of notes. It features tightly packed seats which makes it perfect for comfortably fitting in large numbers of guests whose attention is on a single focal area. Seats can be arranged in slightly different layouts depending on the type of space with straight rows, diagonal rows and semi-circular rows all common choices. The latter can help guests on the outer ends of the rows feel like they have a better view of what is going on.

Classroom

A room layout that is familiar with most of us from childhood. As with the Theatre layout a classroom style layout requires rows of seats, but in a deviation that is intended to help facilitate events where more note taking and study is required each row also has its own table.

This sort of layout is useful for any event where a large amount of information is being imparted on attendees, for instance training sessions or informative lectures.

The drawback to a classroom style layout comes from the amount of space it requires, with the addition of desks and rows meaning less people can be comfortably seated.

Banquet (also known as rounds)

A banqueting room layout involves a number of circular tables around which guests are seated at even intervals. It’s the perfect choice for events like weddings, galas or any event where are large number of guests are seated for dinner.

Its primary weaknesses are the amount of space required as each table inevitably requires quite a large clear path around it for guests to get in and out and staff to walk around. It’s also a room layout that can struggle with any even where guests are required to focus on a speaker or presentation as half the guests will have their back to the stage.

Cabaret (also known as crescent or half round)

The cabaret room layout is fairly similar to the banquet, however chairs are removed from roughly half of the side so that guests are all facing in the same direction. This layout still facilitates lots of conversation and a communal atmosphere at each table however guests are now able to easily focus on one single focal point. This makes it a good choice for events with any aspect of dining as well as a stage presentation E.G. an awards ceremony.

U Shape

If you’re looking for a room layout that allows you to easily engage with your audience then the U Shape layout may be the one for you. It’s best used with a smaller audience but the spacing of guests along rectangular tables arranged around one key focal area gives a presenter plenty of chances to move around and interact with the entire audience rather than a select few.

Boardroom

The classic business room layout, the boardroom has a long history of being used successfully for meetings. Attendees are typically situated along both sides and occasionally at the heads of the table. The head of the table can also be left free for a presenter if one is required. This room layout is suited to smaller more focused events where everyone needs to be able to see each other and where everyone is likely to have a stake in events.

Hollow Square

The hollow square offers many of the strengths of the boardroom and the u shaped room layouts with the ability to have a small focused event while also allowing for the presence of a central presenter. This type of room layout can be good for conducting discussions or running events like focus groups.

Imperial

A less common style that elects to create a large communal experience with rectangular tables placed end to end.

This style layout helps to create a clean, sleek and communal look for your event. It’s a format that can really help to save space at larger events however guests can feel a little more cramped than in other formats and visibility is reduced when compared to rounds.

Reception (also known as Coctkail)

The classic networking format with a less structured layout and minimal chairs on offer. Guests are encouraged to mingle and interact with each and a number of standing tables are distributed throughout the room to offer focal points around which guests are inclined to gather thus sparking fresh conversations and networking opportunities.

This layout is naturally not suitable for any event that requires large amounts of time spent sitting or focused on a central point ie a presentation (though speeches will often be delivered).

Wrap up

Our expert team here at ILEC has years of experience running very successful events. If you’d like to know more about holding an event here and how we can help yours be a success then please get in touch today.