How to Do an Indoor Picnic

Tips For Pulling Off an Elegant Fall Picnic Indoors

A Summer to Fall transition is the perfect time to experiment with alternatives to outdoor entertaining, like an elegant indoor picnic. Matthew David Hopkins, Creative Director of 360 Design Events, insists it's the best way to meld the laid-back feel of outdoor entertaining with the glamour of indoor dining. Impressed by his stunning Indian-inspired picnic spread, we grilled him on the details for getting the look.

CS: Is it possible for most home entertainers to pull together an indoor picnic from their own closets and cabinets?

MH: Start with the place settings. Likely, you can find most of the elements in your own kitchen cabinets. Wine glasses, silverware, napkins, trays, and votive candles (for romance) all add to the look. Choose a mix of special and everyday items.

Add metallic flair with these Antiqued Tapered Votive Holders ($18 for a set of 6).

CS: What's one unexpected item someone should use for an indoor picnic?

MH: In picking out the blanket, you might think — it's going on the floor (or ground) so it shouldn't be too nice. Switch up that thinking and go for the opposite. I have this great tapestry I found in India years ago. My Mom always said, "Why have things if you don't use them?" And that stuck with me. The blanket is the biggest opportunity to make an impression here — so go for it!

Keep reading for more of Matthew's tips on pulling off the perfect indoor picnic!

CS: How does using trays make an indoor picnic more manageable?

MH: Using trays are a great way to contain all of the moving parts and pieces. Think about setting the trays in the kitchen and even use a larger tray to put the food on.

Steal the look with these acrylic Format Trays ($40).

CS: Say you forgot to pick up flowers — what's something else you can use as a bouquet?

MH: If you happen to forget the flowers — or would prefer to invest elsewhere . . . Look on your bookcases or windowsills. Just moving some gorgeous pieces to the center of the floor will give you and yours a new perspective that will be refreshing and fun.

CS: What if your rainy day/evening picnic is cancelled in case of good weather?

MH: Lucky you! Pick the whole thing up and do it outside. Just remember to layer your blanket. Start with a sheet of plastic or a shower curtain to keep moisture contained. Then use a thick blanket so you won’t feel branches or rocks — and then use your gorgeous blanket and rock on.

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