As a fair superintendent, one of my jobs is determining how youth exhibit entries are best displayed. In our department, we use wooden “risers” (also known as stair step display shelves) combined with a cornucopia of other shelving material including empty fruit crates, hay bales, and platforms.
Stair step wooden display shelves are far the most popular ways of displaying fair exhibits. This style of display shelf is cheap to build, easy to care for, and allows for maximum display space without using up tons for floor space. They are also easy to ruin with a poor choice of paint color.
How to select the right color for wooden display shelves
One of the challenges of painting a stair step display shelf is selecting a color that complements your exhibits without having them disappear. Too pale of a color won’t bring the crowds into your department; on the other hand, bold colors will overpower the exhibits on display. Finding a good balance of color between the exhibits and the display shelves is key to bringing the public into your department.
When it coming to selecting paint colors for wooden display risers, a good rule of thumb is to use warm yet neutral paint colors as much as possible. Bold color choices should be limited to display shelves that will be feature pale colored exhibits, such as baked goods, paper goods, and handwritten poetry.
Color choices that don’t work work well for fair display risers include:
1) Black and other dark colors (midnight blues, deep brown, forest green, etc) which show dust and make the department look small and uninviting;
2) Whites, light beige, and light grays which tend to disappear into the background along with the displays themselves;
3) Metallic which are too distracting;
and 4) funky off-colors which tend to clash with colorful fair exhibits.
Better paint color choices for display shelves include:
1) Pastels in any shade but pink or lilac which is too effeminate;
2) Natural although subtle earth tones such as sage, mustard, light browns, tans, orange, and pale blue;
and 3) Ultra bright primary and secondary colors when used to display predominantly light colored exhibits, such as baked goods, cookware, or canned goods.
It important to remember that the display shelves should never be the focus of attention in an department, but merely a means for showing off fair exhibits in their best light. Selecting a color that is inviting without overpowering is always the best solution when it comes to choosing paint colors for display shelves.