What's More Important: Beauty or Practicality?

What's More Important: Beauty or Practicality?

Dana Velden
Jan 5, 2012

I'm in love with this ring of 'cheap and cheerful' measuring spoons which is a little surprising since I'm not a big fan of plastic. But there's something so basic and practical about them. Nothing fancy here — they were probably were thrown in free with a Tupperware order circa 1962. At some point their looks became outdated and I'm sure most of their siblings have ended up in the landfill. But that is perhaps some of their charm: that they endured and in doing so have become more lovable.

Appreciating these spoons has lead me to be more thoughtful when purchasing things for my kitchen and equally when throwing (or giving) stuff away. The old saying about never letting something that isn't useful or beautiful into your house is a good guideline but the best situation is when something is both practical and beautiful. Beauty, though, can be a moving target, especially in these fickle, hyper-trendy times.

Kitchen items have an interesting tension because the aesthetic and the practical hold equal sway and sometimes they get in a competition. A Swiffer is a practical choice but that old handmade broom is certainly more beautiful. How do you choose? Will the Swiffer become the cheerful collectable in fifty years or will it still be ugly, especially when it looses it's usefulness?

Which usually wins for you? The pretty or the practical? How do you decide what comes in and what leaves your kitchen?

Related: Kitchen Envy: Vintage Chopping Blocks

(Images: Dana Velden)

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