Pipe and Drape Conference Room Transformation: Easy & Affordable Makeover

Stuck in a stale conference room rut? Pipe and drape is a versatile and budget-friendly solution that can transform your meeting space from bland to brilliant in a snap. This easy-to-use system of adjustable metal pipes and fabric panels offers a wealth of creative possibilities. Whether you’re aiming to create a stunning backdrop for presentations, section off a room for breakout sessions, or simply hide an unsightly element, pipe and drape can elevate the aesthetics and functionality of your conference room.

Beyond the visual refresh, pipe and drape offers a range of practical benefits. It’s portable, allowing you to easily reconfigure your space as needed. It’s also significantly more affordable than permanent installations, making it a budget-conscious choice for businesses and organizations of all sizes. Canvas Etc, a premier supplier of high-quality fabrics (including those ideal for pipe and drape applications), highlights that this adaptability and affordability are key reasons why pipe and drape has become a popular selection for event planners and businesses alike.

What is Pipe and Drape?

Pipe and drape is a modular system comprised of vertical metal pipes, horizontal crossbars, bases for stability, and fabric drapes. These components work together to create a variety of functional and decorative elements within a space. Unlike permanent structures, pipe and drape offers the advantage of being temporary and fully customizable. This allows for easy setup, breakdown, and reconfiguration depending on your needs.

Imagine this: you have an upcoming presentation in your conference room, but the focal wall is bare and visually uninspiring. Pipe and drape can be used to construct a stunning backdrop that sets the stage for your presentation. The fabric options are vast, allowing you to choose a color, pattern, or texture that complements your brand or presentation theme. This simple addition instantly elevates the professionalism and visual impact of your conference room.

Let’s discuss the specific components of a pipe and drape system:

  • Uprights: These are the vertical metal poles that form the frame of the structure. They come in various heights to accommodate your desired display size.
  • Crossbars: These horizontal bars connect the uprights and provide support for the fabric drape. They can be telescoping or fixed-length, depending on the system.
  • Bases: These weighted plates secure the uprights at the bottom, ensuring stability for your entire pipe and drape installation.
  • Fabric Drape: This is the large piece of fabric that is suspended across the crossbars. It comes in a wide variety of materials, colors, and textures, offering endless design possibilities.

Compared to similar room divider options, such as portable screens or folding partitions, pipe and drape offers greater flexibility and visual appeal. Screens and partitions are typically limited in size, color, and design. Pipe and drape, on the other hand, can be configured to fit nearly any space and can be customized with a variety of fabrics to achieve a desired aesthetic. This makes it a more versatile and design-oriented solution for transforming your conference space.

Close-up of black velvet drape hanging on pipe and drape system

How Do I Set Up Pipe and Drape?

Pipe and drape is a surprisingly user-friendly system, even for those without prior experience. With a little planning and these step-by-step instructions, you’ll be a pipe and drape pro in no time!


  • Pipe and drape system (including uprights, crossbars, bases, and fabric drape)
  • Measuring tape
  • Level (optional)
  • Hammer (for certain base types)
  • Mallet (for rubber mallet connections)


  1. Plan Your Layout: Before diving into assembly, sketch out a simple diagram of your desired pipe and drape configuration. Consider the size of the space, the location of the drape, and any potential obstacles. This will help you determine the number of upright pipes, crossbars, and bases you’ll need.
  2. Measure and Mark: Once you have a plan, use your measuring tape to mark the placement of the uprights on the floor. Ensure even spacing for a polished look. If you’re using a backdrop, measure the desired height and mark this on the uprights as well. A level can be helpful here to ensure straight uprights.
  3. Assemble the Uprights and Bases: Most pipe and drape systems utilize a simple slip-and-lock mechanism for the uprights. Connect the upright sections and secure them to the bases according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some bases may require filling with water or sand for added stability.
  4. Attach the Crossbars: With the uprights standing, lift the crossbars and secure them to the uprights at the pre-determined height. Double-check that all connections are secure before proceeding.
  5. Hang the Fabric Drape: Carefully unfold your fabric drape and drape it over the top crossbar. Many drapes have pockets sewn along the top for easy hanging. You can also use clips or ties to secure the drape to the crossbar for added stability.


  • If you’re working with a large or heavy drape, enlist a helper to assist you with holding and positioning the fabric during installation.
  • For a wrinkle-free look, iron your fabric drape before hanging (if the material allows).
  • Consider using decorative weights or clips at the bottom of the drape to ensure it hangs evenly and avoids flapping in drafts.


  • Uneven Heights: If your uprights appear uneven after assembly, use a level to check and make slight adjustments to the baseplates.
  • Wrinkles: For minor wrinkles, try gently steaming the fabric while it hangs. Stubborn wrinkles may require ironing (check the fabric care label first).
  • Drape Instability: Double-check that all connections are secure and that the base weights are filled adequately. If using on carpet, rubber feet on the base plates can add stability.

Creative Ways to Use Pipe and Drape in a Conference Room

Pipe and drape goes beyond simple backdrops! This versatile system offers a surprising range of functionalities to enhance the style and functionality of your conference room. Let’s explore some creative applications to spark your imagination:

  • Stage Backdrops: Pipe and drape is a mainstay for creating professional-looking backdrops for presentations, conferences, or speaker panels. The ability to customize the size and fabric allows you to incorporate your brand colors, logos, or other design elements to elevate the presentation space.
  • Room Dividers: Need to create separate breakout areas for brainstorming sessions or small group discussions? Pipe and drape can be used to section off a larger room, providing temporary walls that offer both visual separation and sound dampening. This is a space-saving solution compared to permanent walls and allows for quick reconfiguration based on your needs.
  • Masking Distractions: Let’s face it, not all conference rooms boast pristine aesthetics. Exposed pipes, electrical panels, or cluttered storage areas can be eyesores during important meetings. Pipe and drape can effectively mask these imperfections, creating a clean and polished environment that keeps the focus on the agenda.
  • Entryway Décor: Make a grand first impression! Pipe and drape can be used to create a stylish entryway for your conference room. Drape fabric in a bold color or pattern to add a touch of drama, or use it to showcase signage or a company logo. This sets the tone for a professional and memorable event.

For visual inspiration, explore online galleries or project portfolios from event design companies. These resources showcase a wide range of creative pipe and drape applications that can be adapted to your specific conference room and event needs.

Beyond the ideas listed above, pipe and drape can also be used to create unique features like photo booths, product displays, or directional signage. The possibilities are truly limited only by your imagination!

Choosing the Right Fabric for Your Conference Room Transformation

The fabric you select for your pipe and drape installation plays a significant role in both aesthetics and functionality. Fabric suppliers, like Canvas Etc, offer a wide variety of materials specifically suited for pipe and drape applications. Here’s a breakdown of some popular options to consider.


This luxurious fabric is a popular choice for creating a formal and sophisticated ambiance. Velvet drapes beautifully, drapes well, and has excellent light-absorbing qualities, minimizing distractions from background lighting. However, velvet can be more expensive than other options and may require special care to avoid crushing or snagging. Consider using velvet for high-profile presentations, important client meetings, or events where a touch of grandeur is desired.


For a more airy and light-filled feel, sheer fabric is a great option. It allows natural light to filter through, creating a spacious and inviting atmosphere. Sheer fabrics come in a variety of colors and textures, offering the ability to add a touch of color or subtle pattern to your conference room. While aesthetically pleasing, sheers offer minimal light blocking and may not be suitable for presentations requiring a darkened space. They excel in situations where you want to create a separate area within the room while still maintaining a sense of openness.

Poly Premier

A budget-friendly and versatile option, poly premier fabric is a popular choice for everyday use. It’s wrinkle-resistant, making it ideal for situations where frequent setup and breakdown is required. Poly premier comes in a wide range of colors, allowing you to easily match your brand palette or choose a color that complements your existing décor. While not as luxurious as velvet or as light and airy as sheer, poly premier offers a good balance of functionality and affordability, making it a practical choice for many conference rooms.

Additional Factors to Consider

  • Desired Aesthetic: Are you aiming for a formal, modern, or something else entirely? The fabric you choose should complement the overall aesthetic you’re trying to achieve in your conference room.
  • Lighting: Consider the natural and artificial lighting in your space. Opaque fabrics will block out more light, while sheer fabrics will allow light to pass through. Choose a fabric that suits your lighting needs and the desired ambiance.
  • Budget: Fabric prices can vary depending on the material, weight, and fire retardant properties. Determine your budget upfront and choose a fabric that offers the features you need within your price range.

Here at Canvas Etc, we offer a vast selection of high-quality fabrics suitable for pipe and drape projects. Our knowledgeable staff can assist you in selecting the perfect fabric to meet your specific requirements and budget. We can also provide custom fabric cutting and sewing services to ensure your drape fits your pipe and drape system flawlessly.

pipe and drape background in a conference room podium

Renting vs. Buying Pipe and Drape

Pipe and drape offers a versatile solution for conference room makeovers, but deciding whether to rent or buy depends on your specific needs and budget. Let’s weigh the pros and cons of each approach:

Renting Pipe and Drape

  • Pros:
    • Cost-Effective for Short-Term Use: Renting is ideal for one-time events or situations where you only need pipe and drape occasionally. This avoids the upfront cost of purchasing a system that may not be used frequently.
    • Variety of Options: Rental companies typically offer a wider selection of pipe and drape systems, fabrics, and sizes. This allows you to choose the perfect setup for your specific event needs.
    • No Storage Hassle: You won’t need to dedicate space for storing the pipe and drape system when not in use. This can be a significant advantage if you have limited storage space.
  • Cons:
    • Recurring Costs: If you plan on using pipe and drape frequently, rental costs can add up over time. In the long run, purchasing a system may be more cost-effective.
    • Limited Customization: Rental companies may have limitations on customization options for pipe and drape systems. You may not be able to find exactly the size, style, or fabric you desire.
    • Availability: During peak event seasons, popular pipe and drape systems may be booked up at rental companies. Planning ahead and securing your rental in advance is essential.

Buying Pipe and Drape

  • Pros:
    • Cost-Effective for Long-Term Use: If you plan on using pipe and drape frequently, purchasing a system can be more economical in the long run compared to recurring rental fees.
    • Customization Freedom: When you own your pipe and drape system, you have complete control over customization. You can choose the specific size, style, and fabric to perfectly match your needs and preferences.
    • Convenience and Availability: Having your own pipe and drape system allows for spontaneous use whenever needed. You won’t be restricted by rental company hours or availability.
  • Cons:
    • Upfront Investment: Purchasing a pipe and drape system requires an initial investment. This may not be feasible for everyone, especially for those with limited budgets.
    • Storage Requirements: You’ll need dedicated storage space for the pipe and drape system when not in use. This may not be ideal if you have limited space availability.
    • Maintenance: Owning a pipe and drape system means being responsible for its maintenance and upkeep. You’ll need to ensure the components are in good condition and properly stored to ensure their longevity.

Finding a Rental Company

If renting is the best option for you, look for reputable pipe and drape rental companies in your area. Many event equipment rental companies also offer pipe and drape systems in various sizes and configurations. Get quotes from multiple companies to compare pricing and available options.

Pipe and Drape: Your Conference Room Transformation Solution

Pipe and drape proves itself as a powerful tool for businesses and event organizers. This easy-to-use system delivers the perfect balance of affordability, functionality, and aesthetic enhancement for your conference room. Its modular nature and straightforward setup make it surprisingly accessible whether you’re a seasoned event planner or someone completely new to staging a space.

Key Takeaways

  • Versatility is Key: Pipe and drape goes far beyond simple backdrops. It can create room dividers, hide unsightly distractions, shape traffic flow, and elevate entryways.
  • Customization Matters: Fabric choice is crucial. Consider the desired formality, light diffusion, and budget.
  • Rent vs. Buy: Analyze your frequency of use and storage capabilities to make an informed decision.
  • Ease of Use: With basic planning and simple instructions, even first-timers can masterfully set up pipe and drape.

Ready to unlock the transformative power of pipe and drape and take your conference room to the next level?

Browse our extensive selection of fabrics at Canvas Etc or contact your local rental company today to discuss your event needs and vision!