Recently, one of our grad students, En Iwamura, told me that during his undergrad, potters would spend as much or more time preparing their pedestals as completing their work. While I don't think I've come close to equating that level of pedestal dedication, I do believe presentation can make a significant difference in a show.
For my upcoming undergraduate show, I've been completing a set of handcrafted tables on which to display my place settings. The main things to consider when building pedestals or tables, is the dimensions and the materials. For my tables, I wanted the final result to be the feeling of a long skinny setting that was tall enough to be comfortable to view when standing. These goals brought me to shrink the width to 4'' less than the average 30'' and bring the height up to 32'' instead of the recommended dinner table 29''. These differences may not seem significant, but any alteration will change how an audience views your work, and as potters it's easy for our work to loose validity in poor presentation.
I also intentionally chose my material to be finished yellow pine, a smooth surface that I wouldn't need to sand. This makes the entire process simpler and saves me time. Also, pine is a cheaper material, so a little easier on my college student-budget. It's also a lighter wood, being that I'm not particularly beefy and my mother is the one helping me during my installation, I needed to make the entire process more practical. There is no reason your pedestals can't be both tasteful and practical.