Borrow a piece of summer by re-creating its best communal meal indoors.

By Real Simple
Updated October 20, 2017
friends around table

Just because it’s no longer shorts and T-shirt weather doesn’t mean you have to file away the feel-good vibes of summer until next year. When you’re suffering from the winter blues, bring the outdoors in by faking your way to an indoor picnic. For the perfect way to bring friends and family together for a weekend brunch or lunch, follow our guide to re-creating a playful ground-level dining experience at home, no matter the season.

1. Pick a spot. One benefit of picnicking indoors: eating on a solid surface. Instead of dealing with uneven grass plots or bumpy knolls, set up your picnic around a coffee table or another low-level table in the largest room of your home. Have a fireplace? Pull the table close to it. Ground Rule No.1: Lay out cushions so guests will be comfortable sitting on the floor.

2. Set the table. Not all the dishes have to match, but keeping a common theme—say, gold-rimmed or floral-printed china—will make your table feel special. Scatter candles of different shapes and sizes around the place settings to set a festive mood.

3. Turn on the tunes. One thing you can’t often do when you picnic in a public setting: play your own music. Take advantage of the fact that you’re in your own space by putting together a playlist that pairs well with the season.

4. Throw on a movie. Streaming your group’s favorite movie is definitely a luxury you don’t get when you picnic outdoors. Cue up that classic everyone’s always quoting, and you’ll have a fun backdrop for a memorable meal.

5. Bring the outdoors in. Fall foliage is the perfect accent for an autumn indoor picnic, while pinecones make great decorations for a winter meal. You can also grab in-season greenery from a local home-and-garden store to make your gathering feel of-the-moment and one with nature.

6. Make munching easy. You wouldn’t bring coq au vin to a picnic in the park, right? Keep the same philosophy with an indoor gathering and opt for finger foods that can be shared easily. Sliced crudités, meats, and cheeses on decorative wooden boards are always a treat, and preassembled tea sandwiches allow guests to sample different flavors without getting too full on one thing.

7. Brew up festive beverages. Since you have the tools of your kitchen at your disposal, why not pour something more fun than basic black coffee? A caramel macchiato gives a nod to chillier fall temperatures, and a mug of creamy peppermint coffee is a delicious way to end a holiday-season indoor picnic. Just keep the base strong with a bold roast like Folgers® Coffeehouse Blend that’ll cut through additives, milk and sugar.

Brew in bold new territory with Folgers® Coffeehouse Blend, distinctly delicious no matter the brewing method.

This is a paid post written by The Foundry on behalf of The Folger Coffee Company.