Vintage Furniture Vs Antique Furniture

How do you distinguish the differences between vintage furniture and a true antique? The easiest way is to consult a dealer or serious collector. But there are a few things you can look for that will help you identify some of the differences.



The term "vintage" is often used loosely just to mean "old". There's more to vintage furniture than that. One way to define vintage is "representing the highest quality of a past time".

Vintage Furniture Vs Antique Furniture

Vintage furniture is usually very well made with a great attention to detail. It's characterized by maturity and a sense of appeal that withstands the test of time. A wide range of furniture styles can be considered vintage. Some furniture sellers use this term to refer to all sorts of furniture, including modern. It is used to describe originals and reproductions that can't be identified as antique. Some modern pieces are acknowledged as classics of the twentieth century and are labeled "vintage classics".


A piece of furniture is considered antique if it was created at least one hundred years before the date of purchase. It is a unique piece of furniture that has been left in its original state. Some people may like to buy old pieces of furniture with the purpose of refinishing them, but it is a good idea to find out their true value before making any changes.


Authentic antique items are usually not made with a single type of wood. Upholstery may be stuffed with horsehair or hay.

One way to distinguish the difference between vintage and antique furniture is by examining drawers. Furniture parts were not machine-cut until 1860, so a drawer that was constructed using hand-made dovetails was produced prior to that. Nicks and marks may have been left in the wood from using hand tools such as planes and draw-knives.

True antiques have been created solely by hand and are imperfect. Small details and imperfections may be spotted, such as rungs and spindles that may not be uniform. Once furniture began being created by machine, pieces were reproduced identically. Also, wood shrinks with age so a true antique piece will not have uniform dimensions.

The finish on an old piece of furniture offers another clue as to whether it's a true antique. Oil and wax were used on the oldest pieces of furniture and later replaced by shellac. Lacquer and varnish became popular in the mid-1800s.

An antique is an investment, and it will continue to gain value with time. Both vintage and antique furniture pieces are well made and usually of excellent quality. Before you make any modifications, make sure you find out whether a piece of furniture is truly an antique. Many people purchase valuable pieces at yard sales without even realizing their value. If you suspect a piece may be a true antique, consult an antique expert. You may want to have the furniture appraised to find out its actual value, particularly before altering it in any way.

Vintage Furniture Vs Antique Furniture

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