Which Meeting Room Layout is Best for You?

A group of employees having a meeting.

The success of a meeting relies heavily on great planning. And that includes having a suitable meeting room layout.

Any events planner would tell you that room arrangement plays a key role in meetings and conferences. It sets the tone for the kind of discussion that would take place. Thus, it’s imperative that your room layout suits the kind of conference you have in mind.

This may sound easy but there are actually a lot of factors to consider. You need to think about:

  • how many people will attend
  • how wide is your space
  • your objectives for the meeting

To help you decide, we’ve prepared a list of the most common layouts for meeting and conference rooms. You can choose from among them which meeting room layout is best for you.

Boardroom

An example of a boardroom layout for meeting rooms.

If you’ve watched films that feature corporate meeting scenes, this layout will be familiar. It’s a classic layout where a rectangular or oval table is placed in the center and surrounded by chairs.

This layout is best suited for discussions that are aimed towards making a decision. It allows each participant an equal opportunity to voice out their opinions. This, in turn, facilitates both peer-to-peer and peer-to-moderator discussion.

It’s not conducive for presentations though. So if you’re planning to have one, the U-shaped layout will suit you best.

U-Shape

An example of a U-shaped meeting room layout.

The name of this layout alone will give you a clue about its arrangement. It’s perfect for small group discussions where a presentation is necessary.

Like the boardroom layout, you can use a rectangular or oval table and surround it with chairs. Leave one end empty. Or, if you have a wider space, put together three long tables and arranged it to form the letter “U”.

Classroom

An example of a classroom layout for meeting rooms.

If you’re planning training or seminar for a small group, the classroom layout is perfect.

The arrangement of tables and chairs allows participants to take notes while still being able to listen to the speaker. It’s also great if the are expected to do tasks or work on a project between lectures.

The delegates sit in rows of chairs facing the main speaker with tables in front of them. Rectangular tables are usually the most advisable for this type of setting.

Auditorium

An example of an auditorium layout for meeting rooms.

The auditorium layout works best for a large audience and large spaces. It’s geared for a one-way knowledge sharing sessions or audio-visual presentations. Think of TED Talks or stand up comedies.

In this set-up, the delegates are not expected to take notes or work on a project. They are just there as passive learners. There is also designed for limited interaction between the speaker and the audience.

Banquet

An example of a banquet layout for meeting rooms.

This layout is perfect for dinner meetings and luncheons, hence the name. The arrangement is like that of the boardroom layout except that it uses a round table and fewer chairs.

The set-up allows participants to do tasks while engaging in peer-to-peer or group discussions. This makes it great for round table discussions or brainstorming activities. It’s also used for team building activities.

However, if you’re expecting them to make or listen to a presentation, the cabaret style is recommended.

Cabaret

An example of a cabaret layout for meeting rooms.

The cabaret layout is best for conferences that involve group work and presentations.

The arrangement features round tables surrounded by chairs but with one part left empty. The empty part faces the area where the presentation is made. This lets all the delegates see what is being displayed while having discussions and taking notes.

If your event lasts the whole day with a few breaks in between, this set-up is also recommended. It provides your participants with plenty of space and comfort.

Depending on your expected headcount, this usually takes a larger space than the auditorium layout.

Hollow Square

An example of a hollow square layout for meeting rooms.

This layout uses four or more tables arranged in a square (or any shape) with a hollow space at the center.

Instead of presenting on the front, the speaker stays on the empty space in the middle. This allows him/her to easily navigate between tables and facilitate discussion. It also allows participants to easily consult with the speaker.

It’s advisable for break-out sessions that require the moderator to check the progress of each group and provide feedback.

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