I am often asked if good taste is something we can acquire. My answer to this is a resounding Yes! Some people do have innate taste, but for most of us, good taste emerges once we have learned to trust our own eyes. If you are drawn to certain colors and objects, chances are that a compatibility of spirit will bind them together. Even if the things you cherish aren’t of the same vintage and design, you can combine them successfully. Repetition of material, form, or scale provides harmony.
Taste–for food or drink, as well as things visual–is the key to self-awareness and expression. You absorb taste and refine it over your lifetime. Taste has to do with selection–and how you combine it with your personal style.
Your eye will guide you in your quest. Use daily life as your tutor. Look at the details, the shapes, the forms, proportions, textures, and colors of everything around you. Look at patterns and the way things are arranged. Go to museums and feast your eye on the best: The more quality your eye sees, the more discerning it becomes.
There is much around us that is pretentious and ugly. A professor in design school taught his students that they would have to edit out roughly 90% of everything that is available in furniture, textiles, and colors and then choose carefully and judiciously from the remaining 10%. You, too, can gather what is meaningful from approximately 10% of everything you are exposed to and then use that selection as well to draw from.
You be the judge. Be true to yourself and your taste will be genuine and speak to you viscerally. You will outgrow some of your current tastes in years to come. Trust your instincts. Taste is acquired by trial and error, like an artist who builds a canvas with color to create form and light. Keep an open mind. Record your impressions honestly and you will grow in your level of appreciation and nuances. When you weed out the negative 90 percent of what you see around you, the personally pleasurable 10 percent that remains will give you a clearer, more confident picture of who you are.