The “Third Piece” is a term used in the fashion world to refer to that last accessory or article of clothing that finishes the outfit and gives it a “complete” feeling. It is often a vest, jacket, or scarf. I have a cropped denim vest that I use year-round to add that last dimension.
When I am putting together a room, this concept of the “third piece” (or fourth!) is essential. After all, there is a different between minimalist and incomplete. Case in point, this year as I was setting the dining table, I thought I was done but knew something was missing. I didn’t want a cluttered table, but what I had felt empty, kind of half-done, if you will.
Don’t believe me? See for yourself. Doesn’t the below scene leave you wanting more?
Here’s the dining room after I added the “third piece” (in this case, some greenery down the middle and on the mantle and soup bowls at the place settings). It no longer feels empty. It feels welcoming and inviting.
During the winter months, the ability for the setting to transition from day to evening is crucial – more so than the summer months when the days seem to go on forever.
Whenever I am working on a setting (table, mantelpiece, or room as a whole), I put it together completely during the day and photograph it. Then, that night, I go back and take it all in again – photographing from the same (or close to the same) angles. This helps me see what is missing. Here I noticed that while the candles added a nice glow, there were too many dark pockets that hid the beautiful green foliage and flowers.
Here is the dining room again, with the twinkly lights. In the fashion world, the lights would be the equivalent of red pumps and lips, a statement necklace, or dainty earrings – those subtle last touches that you might not notice immediately, but would notice if they were forgotten.
In our home, the front door opens into the dining room, which can be awkward if sitting down to formal meals – good thing we’re not very formal people! – but is a beautiful and festive way to welcome friends and family into your home.
No matter the time of year, the first impression people get of our humble abode is clean and calm. The rest of the house might be littered with toys, books, magazines, and knick knacks produced and procured by my little man, but this room will always provide a sense a calm.
I like to sit in here with a book and a cup of tea after the boy is in bed and take a few minutes to myself before tackling dishes – or, more accurately – collapsing into bed.
Do you decorate for the holidays or the seasons? Do you pick one room to focus on or do you tackle the entire home?