“Antique”, “Vintage” or “Retro”?? What’s the Difference??

So we have all heard the the labels of antique, vintage and retro.  But what exactly is the difference between each of them, as sometimes they all seem to be used interchangeably.   Well there actually is a pretty big difference between all three of them.

Antique.  Antique in general refers to furniture, decor, or any items that are able to be dated as at least 100 years old.  A common rule that is pretty standard across the board.  Being antique doesn’t always give items a higher monetary value.  There is a lot to take into account when pricing antiques, which is where dealers come in.  They know the era of the piece and about how many are out there.  The less there are the more valuable a piece will be.  Some true hard core antique dealers do not consider any piece of furniture that has been refinished or reupholstered to be an antique anymore, just making the 100 year mark doesn’t cut it for them.

"Eleanor" Rents for $125

One of our “antique”  couches from the early 1900s

Vintage.  Many people use the term vintage very loosely and often interchange it with antique and retro.  For an item to be labeled vintage, the commonly accepted age is over 20 years old, although some will say 25-30 years.   Basically vintage could be anything from the 1920s to 1980s, a very wide range indeed.   Most vintage is priced on its condition solely, the better the condition means a higher price tag.


One of our “vintage” chairs from the 1920s

Retro.  Retro seems to be misused just as much as vintage and antique.  Retro basically means something is outdated or out of style, and is less than 20 years old.  So those retro records and shag carpets from the 70s…are really not retro, they are vintage!


A couple of our “retro” chairs

So here is your basic rule of thumb to follow:

Antique = 100+ years old

 Vintage = 20+ years old

 Retro = less then 20 years old