Is my Furniture Vintage, Antique, or Just Old?
A lot of people use the terms “vintage” and “antique” to describe their furniture, without really knowing what they actually mean. Here’s what you should know – just because a chair or a sofa is old doesn’t make it either vintage or antique. It probably means that it’s just old and needs to be either restored or replaced.
Vintage and antique are two different ways of describing age AND quality. If it was just about age, we would simply call the furniture “old” – not vintage or antique. Let’s understand a bit more about these terms.
What’s Vintage Furniture?
The term “vintage” brings plenty of images to mind when used in the context of furniture. Vintage doesn’t just mean that something is old or belongs to a different era – vintage furniture is something that’s of the highest quality and demonstrates styles reminiscent of the past. Vintage furniture pieces are those that may or may not be “old,” but have been made using a style belonging to another era, with an incredible attention to detail.
In a furniture showroom, when you ask for vintage furniture, you will be presented with a number of styles from the 1960s and 70s, or even earlier, but not all of the furniture shown to you is actually “old.” They may be a stylish reproduction of a vintage furniture piece belonging to a certain era. They are called “vintage” just to add a bit of romance to them.
What’s Antique Furniture?
Antique furniture refers to a furniture piece that was made at least a hundred years before being purchased. Now, while this is the strict definition of the term, “antique” these days is used to mean furniture that is more than 50 to 60 years old. There’s a huge industry that has grown around antique furniture, and it’s hard to get antique pieces that meet the strict definition of the term.
Antique furniture pieces are popular because in an earlier era chairs, sofas, and tables were made with materials of the highest quality with the finest attention to detail. So, antique furniture is known to be long-lasting, much more so than modern day furniture pieces that are sold in the market today. The very fact that they have lasted so long shows their high quality.
Strictly speaking, antique furniture should not be altered in any way and should be available in its original condition. But this is obviously easier said than done, as it’s almost impossible to find furniture pieces that are 60 or 70 years old and in perfect shape that haven’t been through several alterations and restorations along the way.
So, the real difference between antique and vintage furniture is that antiques have to be really old, besides being of a great quality, while vintage furniture represents a style of an earlier era, and are of the highest quality – but they may or may not be old. Hope this clears up the confusion!
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