Aesthetic value is a judgment of value based on the appearance of an object and the emotional responses it evokes. While it is difficult to objectively assess aesthetic value, it often becomes an important determining factor in overall value; things people perceive as attractive tend to be in higher demand, and will cost more than comparable objects without the aesthetic component. For example, two homes with similar amenities, locations, and sizes can sell for radically different prices if one is a custom-designed Craftsman while the other is a generic manufactured home.
Judging artistic value is a complex process. Culturally, ongoing debates swirl around aesthetics in many regions of the world, and perceptions of beauty tend to be influenced by the culture a person grows up in. People in the West, for example, may value Classical design inspired by Ancient Greece and Rome, while people in the East may not find this style aesthetically pleasing. Works of art are judged on aesthetic value and can have radically difference price tags on the basis of appearance and creator, even if the materials are identical.
Art is not the only field where aesthetic value is a concern. Crafts like furniture and clothing design must also consider aesthetics, as must real estate, where the appearance of a home can have a profound impact on the sales price. Engineers also consider aesthetics when designing products, as an attractive design can make a product more valuable in the eyes of consumers; keyboards, for example, come in a variety of designs, and those with unusual or distinctive appearances tend to have a higher price point.
This can also be a concern with nature. In many cultures, the idea that nature has inherent aesthetic value is widely socially accepted, although some natural landscapes may be considered more attractive than others. The belief in the aesthetic value of nature was the driving force behind social developments like the national parks in the United States; the government specifically set aside natural spaces for their natural beauty, rather than allowing residents of the nation to use them for development.
Aesthetics is a highly subjective area of study, although numerous colleges and universities include coursework designed to help students assess aesthetics and make accurate judgments. Psychologists and social scientists also have an interest in this field, as they want to know how cultures develop ideas about beauty, and how those ideas play out in cultural phenomena.