What Makes Something Vintage?

The vintage trend is in full-swing as we see rooms decorated with full vintage flair, but what actually makes an item vintage? And how does that differ from antique? These two words, at times used as synonyms, have two different meanings that are often changed and debated. So what makes an item vintage? And when should you call it an antique?


Plain and Simple Definition
For those who want a quick answer, many define vintage as something older than 50 years but less than 100, and antique as older than 100 years. This is a general guideline that has been changing, as we see “vintage cell phones” dating back only 20-30 years. For us, we say vintage is 20-30 years old and antique roughly 100.

The Complicated Definition
Vintage historically referred to the age of a bottle of wine, “vintage” being the date the grapes were grown; this is why we see the word vintage used often with dates. But even that clear definition has morphed as we see “vintage” food products, that were clearly manufactured recently, being sold today.

Vintage can also refer to an item that was popular in a different era. It may have not been produced in that era, but it was wildly popular in that time and mimics the style. So when we have “vintage 1950s” furniture, it’s likely it was very sought after during that time, possibly made during that decade or maybe even after.


Vintage is not old enough to be antique, which makes it still very usable and functional pieces of furniture. While antiques can go either way, vintage items are usually able to be used. But, whether you want to call it vintage, antique, or even retro, we won’t mind as long as you stop by Gracious.



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