Retro V Vintage

interior designer melbourne

Some friends of mine were recently moving and wanted to sell their cane lounge setting circa 1980s and asked me if they should describe this setting as ‘retro’ or ‘vintage’ in their Gumtree ad.  These two words can be used interchangeably for most people but for designers there is a distinct difference, here are my top tips on how to recognise or label furniture;

  1. Retro furniture looks dated or unfashionable and isn’t very desirable in the current mainstream and dates back to about the 1980s. BUT if you Google ‘retro furniture’ you will find Mid Century Modern furniture which is fashionable and desirable, it just comes down to key words and how retailers and other sellers use the word ‘retro’ online.
  2. Mid Century Modern furniture roughly dates from the 50s-70s, think Mad Men and is very desirable, timeless and on trend.
  3. Modern furniture or Modernism roughly dates from the 20-40s and includes styles such as Art Deco and Hollywood Regency as well as minimalism and the idea of less is more.
  4. Vintage is not as old as antique but not as young as retro and mostly has a distressed look or appeal either real or fake, think Shabby Chic or Industrial Style.
  5. Antique is generally anything over 100 years old.

This is a broad and simplified overview and other designers may define these words/styles differently but from my experience working with clients and suppliers these terms are generally true and understood in the industry and now mainstream.

To learn your style try our eStyling KIT which teaches you how to apply your style in your own home and where to shop for it.