There are various things that will inevitably make us feel old. When your child asks you who this “Queen band thingy” is, for instance. When you buy something for your home, furniture in particular, it can be placed on a timeline and becomes antique, contemporary, retro or vintage for instance. The age of an item is one of the things that really determines its value, as well as in terms of the trends in fashion and socioeconomic situations.
However, it can be very difficult to know for sure what the age of a certain piece of furniture is, having to rely on the opinion of the seller, which is often made up. Take a look at various bidding sites to see that the terms “vintage” and “antique” are used willy-nilly around the site. In fact, it seems they use a classification system that goes something like this:
Antique is anything old, mouldy, dusty and musty. It is usually made out of wood and is generally very ugly.
Vintage is old, but not tool old yet. When you buy vintage according to these definitions, people generally mean anything from the 60s to the 80s, or another pop culture that emerged and disappeared again.
Retro is something that people think is funky in its ugliness and totally out of style. By calling it retro, they think people will become sentimental to something that should have been thrown away ages ago.
Lastly, contemporary usually means something that was purchased from Ikea and is pretty new.
The real definitions of antique, vintage and retro, however, are very different. It is important to know the real deal, so that if you want to buy antique, vintage, retro or contemporary, you actually do that, rather than get ripped off.
Anything that is antique has to be officially dated as being at least 100 years old. It can be decorative objects, arts or furniture.
Vintage is a little bit more difficult to define. Officially, you should always say vintage and the decade it comes from. So, vintage 1960s would be fine, and this would describe that the item was made in that era. Besides that, it should be clear that the item was made in that period through its particular style. Vintage should only be used on items that are at least 20 years old.
Retro is about bringing a nostalgia for old fashion back. Retro doesn’t actually have to be old, but it should at least mimic the past. As such, when you buy a retro piece, you won’t automatically know how old it is.
Lastly, there is contemporary. This represents anything that was made in the last 20 years.
This article was written on behalf of UK Contemporary Furniture who specialise in furniture, be sure to check their website out for more information.