Al Fresco Décor: Tips to Create Picnic-Inspired Interior Design

Why would you want to design your room around a picnic? Because there’s something about a picnic that slows down the pace of life and distills a single moment into a capsule of pure connection and bliss. Whether you picnic with friends, family, or by yourself, when you enjoy hearty food and the beauty of nature together, dining becomes an event.


Wouldn’t you love to capture some of this wonder in a way that lets you enjoy it whenever you want, without even leaving your home? Creating picnic-inspired dining room home décor will help you do that.


It isn’t difficult to put together the kind of space that will make every meal feel like a picnic. Here are 10 interior design ideas to help you do it.


1. Pick a Picnic Table

Some of the best picnics happen on the ground. Even so, you’re designing a dining room, not a play area. So you won’t want to throw a blanket on the floor and call it good. You can, however, choose a picnic table for your dining room.


When I was a small child, we had an old cedar picnic table for a dining table. This wasn’t a design choice. It was because we were too poor to buy a dining table. When we did finally get a “real” table, though, I was sorry to see the picnic table go. Something about it made my usually serious dad a little more relaxed during our meals.


To get this carefree atmosphere in your dining room, you don’t have to use an old outdoor picnic table. Picnic-table-style dining tables are relatively easy to find these days. You can get them in more rustic wood finishes if you want to be a picnic purist.



Or you can get something a little more formal and traditional.



You can also merge a modern design scheme with a picnic table. Sleek contemporary styling works well with the picnic table structure.



2. Add Some Woods

Whether you choose a picnic table or not, you can still get that picnic feel with some organic wood touches in your dining room.


You can do this with rustic wood accents or with a feature wall made of wood.



Or you could add a couple wood beams on the ceiling to create a sort of “faux forest” over your head.



3. Keep it Simple

One of the reasons picnics are so enjoyable is because they’re simple. Yes, of course, you can fancy up a picnic with crystal wine glasses and caviar, but the best picnics have a get-your-feet-dirty quality to them.


Because of this, the best picnic dining room is simple and plain.



As you can see in the photo above, plain doesn’t have to mean dull. You can still add color and texture to your space, but the lines of your furniture, fixtures, and accents must be uncomplicated.


In a picnic-inspired space, it’s also important to keep dishes casual.



A mix of wood and pottery in solid colors work well for serving and display pieces in picnic dining rooms.



4. Make it Fun

Picnics, of course, are for fun. So you need to bring a feel of frolic into your dining room. You can do this by adding bright colors via lively accent pieces, flowers, or fruit bowls.



The tablecloth above also adds to the picnic jolliness by suggesting a sunny blue sky and a field of daisies.


You can also make merry with whimsical bits of décor.



The pig and small chalkboard above insert a playful mood into the space.


5. Let There be Light

Picnics, of course, are outdoors. So to get the picnic sensation, you need to bring the light. The more natural light you can allow into your dining room the better. For nighttime picnics, however, be sure you also have ample lighting overhead and even nearby.



6. Get a View

The best picnics have great views. If your dining room looks out onto some element of nature, leave the windows uncovered or barely covered so you can convey that sense of outdoors to the room.



If you’re not lucky enough to have a beautiful view, create one with a painting or with photographs.



7. Bring in Nature

Sure, you can picnic on a rock or in the desert, but when you think “picnic,” it generally conjures images of a leafy green setting of some kind. Adding foliage to your dining room, therefore, will do wonders to make you feel like you’re in the perfect picnic setting.



If you don’t have room for large plants or trees, you can accomplish the same ambiance with a touch of deep green color and a floral arrangement with some greenery.



8. Grab a Pic-a-nic Basket

Did you notice the basket on the table in the last photo? Yogi Bear would approve. He’s always on the lookout for a nice pic-a-nic basket.



Because picnic baskets are so, well, picnic-y, including one in your picnic dining room is a must. You don’t have to have the classic picnic basket look, however. Any wicker basket will add the right flavor to your room.



9. Check It Out

Because it’s so symbolic of picnics, a red checkered tablecloth will sprinkle some picnic flair into your dining room.



Don’t worry if a red checkerboard pattern isn’t your style. You don’t need a whole tablecloth. You could just drape a single red checkerboard-patterned napkin on the table.



Or you can be even more subtle and just bring in the red and white in separate elements that will create an impression of a red checkerboard pattern.


10. Cute as a Bug?

Okay, so maybe you don’t want to be so literal with your picnic dining room that you leave food out to attract ants.



But if you have a sense of humor, a photo of an insect or a small insect figurine could be a kick. For, example, a few amusing ladybugs might be okay.



If your interior design style is casual and comfortable, a picnic-inspired dining room could be the superb fit for you. As you can see from the above ideas, composing such a space isn’t complicated or expensive.


Imagine how laid back you’ll feel when you get to have a picnic every time you eat.


You can play with picnic motifs in House Tipster’s Virtual Room Planner.


Images used with permission, courtesy of

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