THE VALUE FAC­TOR

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - News - Ed­i­tor-in-chief

My fa­ther used to say that the value of any­thing is what you’re pre­pared to pay for it. I think this is an in­ter­est­ing premise, par­tic­u­larly when we con­sider the preva­lence of af­ford­able home­ware on the high street, to which this is­sue de­votes a spe­cial sec­tion. If you ab­so­lutely love a vase, and it’s only £10, is it ‘worth’ less to you than some­thing from Bac­carat or Lalique? Of course, there will be vast dif­fer­ences in the pro­cesses of man­u­fac­ture and re­lated ‘qual­ity’, but that’s not nec­es­sar­ily a fac­tor in ‘value’. Then, of course, there is the ‘if some­thing’s too good to be true, it prob­a­bly is’ adage. To pur­sue my anal­ogy, can a £10 vase re­ally be any good? Again, all rel­a­tive, and noth­ing to do with value. If you love it, maybe it won’t mat­ter if it chips rather than ages el­e­gantly be­cause it was mass pro­duced rather than hand­made. Per­haps, be­cause it only cost a ten­ner, it won’t mat­ter as much if it gets bro­ken? I’m not sure. You see, the thing with valu­ing some­thing is that it’s an es­sen­tially in­tan­gi­ble qual­ity, you sim­ply ei­ther do, or don’t; it’s not a com­mod­ity that can be quan­ti­fied in black and white terms.

The Collins Dic­tionary def­i­ni­tion of value is ‘the de­sir­abil­ity of a thing, of­ten in re­spect of some prop­erty such as use­ful­ness or ex­change­abil­ity’. So, does this mean any­thing that you can’t bear to part with? Which prompts the next ques­tion: what would you let go from your life? Any­thing that no longer has any worth to you? Or, more per­son­ally, any­one that we feel no longer re­spects us? It’s in­ter­est­ing to me too that an­other def­i­ni­tion of value is ‘the mo­ral prin­ci­ples or ac­cepted stan­dards of a per­son or group’. As such, our val­ues, and what we value, de­fine us.

So back to that ten pound vase. I think, if you spot a vase that you love, and you can get it for a steal, then you’re a supremely smart shop­per. The high street is an in­cred­i­bly fer­tile shop­ping ground, so to dis­miss it would be folly. How­ever, it’s crowded, and there is a sur­feit of choice, so we’ve done the hard work for you in sin­gling out the best buys. In other words, the pieces we feel ad­here to the val­ues we at ELLE Dec­o­ra­tion have al­ways held dear: in­tegrity, el­e­gance and hon­esty. Not for­get­ting a lit­tle dash of fairy dust! An­other in­tan­gi­ble qual­ity… but that prob­a­bly de­serves a whole other let­ter.

The thing with valu­ing some­thing is that it’s an es­sen­tially in­tan­gi­ble qual­ity, you sim­ply ei­ther do or don’t; it can’t be quan­ti­fied in black and white terms

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