OLD-FASHIONED: The concept of taste goes back to the times when upper classes ruled.
OLD-FASHIONED: The concept of taste goes back to the times when upper classes ruled. Steve Debenport

It's all a matter of taste

WHAT exactly is good taste? While most of us would agree it's a subjective value, most would also agree that some people inherently have good taste, while others don't.

This belief hints at the possibility that there must be some, however subtle, agreed standard of what is good taste.

So who gets to define good taste?

According to Pierre Bourdieu in his book Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, good taste has historical links to class.

You guessed it - the upper class used taste as a way of distinguishing themselves as superior. In essence, the toffs dictated what was considered desirable, with the lower classes essentially playing catch up.

But as the defined classes have blurred somewhat, a new breed of style dictator has emerged.

Unsurprisingly, those that work in related industries, such as architects, interior designers and stylists, can be viewed as experts, along with related media figures adding their voices to establishing the standards and trends of taste.

But there is one factor that is agreed upon by most and that one component is balance. A space that has a balance of colour and interest, not too much, not too little, with some symmetry thrown into the mix, will almost always be pleasing to the eye.


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