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6 Alternatives to Pipe and Drape (with Photos and Examples)

6 Alternatives to Pipe and Drape (with Photos and Examples)

Ah, good ol’ pipe and drape. Tried and true. A trusted friend. The mac and cheese of event backdrops. 

As affordable and accessible as it is, pipe and drape has been around for decades, and meeting and event planners are increasingly looking for alternatives to spruce up their stages. In other international cities, almost all stages are hard sets of some kind, so some of our clients who come to us looking for different options are hoping to match the style of their events in other parts of the world. Others are just hoping to create a more polished, modern look.

Luckily, your AV provider can work with you to create reliable, scalable options beyond pipe and drape that fit your budget and vision. 

Based on our experience planning events of all kinds, we’ve pulled together some inspiration for alternate routes to chat with your AV provider about.


AV Drop

hard wall flats event stage and scenic

For this event, we used a product called AV Drop, modular columns as a scenic element, and lighting to create a dramatic hard set stage in a hotel ballroom.


FormSet Panels

formset panels staging backdrop design

FormSet panels are three dimensional tiles that we can install together to create a textured backdrop. For this association event, we used different tiles with different textures, colorful lighting, and projection to create a bold hard set.


Fabric Light Boxes

fabric light boxes staging design

Fabric light boxes are a simple but effective way to make your stage more dynamic. A light box on the floor shines through your custom graphics that are printed on stretchy fabric, illuminating your event branding. This event included two lightboxes flanking a backdrop made from FormSet panels.


Video Walls

video wall stage backdrop

Video walls are definitely higher on the budget spectrum. But they’re gaining in popularity and provide a really eye-catching way to display your content. 

At this recurring event, we set up a video wall that traveled to over 100 locations. Having the whole backdrop come to life as a video wall definitely created a “wow” factor, and the presentation space had an innovative, engaging energy.


Pipe and Drape Hybrids

pipe and drape hybrids for events

Sometimes, just adding a few strategic, scenic elements spaced out along pipe and drape can boost the feel of your stage. At this event, you can still see the white pipe and drape in the background. But the illuminated columns, the dramatic blue lighting, and the large screen make this stage feel engaging and polished.


stage design better than pipe and drape

The same goes for this event. We spaced ModDim Panels out along the black pipe and drape, and added projection screens. You can still see the pipe and drape, but the other elements, combined with the lighting, produced an elegant, modern room.


lattice panel stage design

Or, you can go a step further and add panels over pipe and drape to cover it completely. At this event, we hung lattice panels from black pipe and drape to create a unique hard set look. Golden uplights placed on the floor warmed up the whole space.


Want more helpful event AV tips? Download our free eBook, “AV 101 for Meeting Planners and Event Professionals.”