I once heard an interview with a man who, having survived the Nazi death camps, decided to dedicate the rest of his life to the study of beauty.
He didn't make his pursuit strictly an academic one. He also made a conscious effort to achieve beauty in his appearance, living environment, language, and manners. His personal campaign was a reminder of how easily we accept the sloppy and the inadvertent and underestimate the power of beauty.
Visit John Soane's Museum in London and you'll find a home that, although cluttered, is an illustration of the combined effect of beautiful things.
We go through life trying to be efficient, kind, decent, and productive. At times, beauty may seem an affectation. In reality, it is more of an inspiration, even when it is small.