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How to turn a warehouse into an epic event space

Presenting almost endless possibilities and an Instagram-worthy aesthetic, warehouses are the blank canvas of every event organisers’ dreams.

A warehouse space offers character, history and atmosphere – and that’s before adding anything else. Here’s how to turn a warehouse into an epic event space.

1. Lock in the basics

Michelle Anderson, who runs Complete the Look, a Sunshine Coast-based boutique wedding and event directing business, says the first step to creating a mind-blowing event in a warehouse is to zone in on the basics.

Look at what will have to “brought in”, the food, beverage and licensing arrangements, the venue’s capacity, your budget and other basic considerations before turning your mind to decking the space out.

Warehouse exterior

Warehouses can be great places to throw an event but it pays to have your bases covered before you start planning. Picture: Unsplash

“When using a warehouse space, every aspect has to be organised, managed and executed by you, from catering, music and equipment to staffing and much more,” Anderson says.

That means there are lots of things to think about.

Does the venue have public liability and indemnity insurance? What facilities are already at the venue and what would you need to bring in? What are the noise curfews and time limits? Who is responsible for cleaning before and after? Is there a rubbish disposal available? When can you access the property to set up and when do you have to pack down? Do you need to have event insurance as the leaser?

Once these details are known, it’s time to think about the actual space.

2. Think about lighting

The theme, style and desired mood will dictate how a space is fitted out, but Anderson believes the three elements of lighting, greenery and comfort are the most vital to creating a memorable space event.

“Creating a holistic ‘floor-to-ceiling’ event is extremely popular at the moment and a wide range of stunning, low-hanging chandeliers and statement lighting are incorporated in most of today’s big events,” she says. Lightning can make a break an event, so plan it carefully.

warehouse lit with fairy lights

Think about lighting the space once you’ve found ‘the one’. Picture: Unsplash / Shelley Pence

3. Add greenery

Greenery brings nature from outside to inside and adds a special atmosphere to any event, Anderson says. Fake or real trees, shrubs, “green” ceiling installations, potted plants and nature-inspired table runners are all great ideas to add a lush, luxe feel.

4. Comfort is key

Comfortable seating and “conversation zones” featuring plush sofas, chairs at different heights, stools and ottomans can all be used to ensure guests are comfortable.

warehouse event with greenery and seating

Greenery and conversation spaces will make the event feel more comfortable. Picture: Unsplash

5. Think about temperature control

A warehouse space may not have in-built heating or cooling, so it’s a vital area to address, Anderson says.

“You need to consider how natural airflow moves through the space, where windows and doors are located, what time of year the event is being held and how many people will be utilising the space during the event.”

There are now lots of options on the market for both heating and cooling, Anderson says.

“By creating amazing flow through the event, you can creatively use a positive airflow model within the event to maximise the devices if needed.  So floor planning is a key element to creating the right environment to control the temperature.”

warehouse ceiling with pendant lights

These former industrial spaces will need to have different acoustics and temperatures to normal buildings. Picture: Unsplash

6. Get the acoustics right

By its very nature, a warehouse-style space can be echoey and loud, meaning acoustics is a key consideration too.

Noise can bounce around a warehouse, giving the illusion that the event is too loud, which is why Anderson recommends incorporating soft furnishings, wall dressings and rugs to help absorb the sound.

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