What Is the Difference Between Vintage and Antique Furniture

For most people, far from the professional world of design, vintage and antique furniture are synonymous words. It is something bright and clean from our childhood, the time of our parents and grandparents. Things that evoke nostalgia. At the same time, there is a significant difference between the antique furniture and vintage style.

What is the fundamental difference between antique furniture and vintage

If in a nutshell, it’s in the time frame. Although in both styles we surround ourselves with elements of the past in order to immerse ourselves in the atmosphere of a bygone era, but in the case of antique furniture it is the stylistic features, form and color scheme typical of the 50s-80s of the 20th century.

Vintage can cover the whole of the last century. Including such significant for the development of fashion and design epochs as the twenties of the 20th century and the pre-war period. But we can also call things from the 50s and 60s vintage. Items that are more than a century old are called antiques.

However, for each area of fashion, design and decor there are nuances. For example, clothing older than 50 years is already considered antique, and younger than 15 years – modern. Those made from 1915 to 50-60s are considered vintage. And in different countries the time range can be different.

Age is not the main thing!

Can we call antique furniture and vintage the style of the 90s? From that time many people for sure have such archaic things as cassette players and tape recorders, radios, CRTs, VCRs, push-button phones, tableware, souvenirs.

If we approach formally, vintage is defined as objects and style over 30 and under 100 years old. However, depending on the application, the upper limit may be 20 or 40 years. Antique furniture style formally has no clear time limit. In this case, they should have a bright distinguishing features of the historical period, which they represent.

That is, age is not the main criterion. Things can be vintage up to the end of the twentieth century, if they are recognizable and stand out against the background of contemporary fashion. And at the same time “gray” impersonal items have no historical and artistic value, no matter how old they are.

Materials used

The term “vintage” is borrowed from the world of winemaking, where so called aged noble wines. As a rule, these are objects made of wood, stone, natural textiles, cane, rattan, with brass or bronze as accessories. When recreating antique furniture style in interior design, natural materials are also used.

On the other hand, the antique furniture style has its roots in the era of popularized space travel and the boom of the chemical industry. In the ’50s and ’70s, plastic, textiles made of synthetic fibers and synthetic leather were widely used. That is, synthetics in a certain combination is not only allowed, but also welcomed.

In contrast to the charm full of vintage items with a clear imprint of antiquity and traces of the impact of time, antique furniture-style likes bold, catchy, bright, lacquered, smooth surfaces.

A world of color

The difference between the two styles is clearly visible in the color scheme. Vintage tends toward old-fashioned elegance, romantic charm, restraint, creating peace of mind and harmony. The most suitable colors are white, beige, sandy, gray-blue, pale pink, cream and other pastel tones.

Antique furniture-style is much more straightforward. He “likes” provocative, bold and vivid colors. Since the early 50s previously unpopular brown, green, orange, ochre-yellow tones were actively used. In the 60s the color scheme became quite screaming. Bubble-gum style came into vogue.

Developing at that time aesthetics of hippie movement and dissemination of Andy Warhol’s art direction, sharp contrasts and strong colors preferred by pop art played their role in this.


Shape and Style

Vintage is associated with carved frames, wooden ceiling beams, antique mirrors, glass or porcelain vases, lace tablecloths, small decorative statuettes.

Priority is given to functionality, not fashion. Minimalism is not in vogue. Chic big curtains, a bed with a canopy, a fur rug in front of the fireplace are typical and appropriate.

For antique furniture, style is important. As the historical period coincided with the technological revolution, industrialism, minimalism, futuristic and space themes are in fashion.


Patterns of home textiles and wallpaper are strictly separated in these two directions, reminiscent of past trends. Antique furniture “prefers” geometric shapes, and vintage is associated with plant and floral motifs.