Home & Leisure

Art of Design: Antique or Vintage?

Joseph Pubillones on

Is that an antique or is it vintage? Most people refer to items that are old as antiques, because they feel a certain "cache" goes with it. Some believe antiques are items that are 25 years and older or 50 years and older. Technically, antiques are goods approaching the 100-year mark. Most other items fall under the term vintage. Whether antique or vintage, these looks are a wonderful way to create a unique look in the home. Vintage or antique furniture does not have to make your house look like a gentleman's club or your grandmother Salvatrice's house; in many cases, it can be quite subtle. However, vintage can be a bit trickier to incorporate. Designing a home around vintage furnishings must be carefully thought through. Mixing and matching pieces of furniture from totally different periods can create a hodge-podge look so it is best to have a plan of what you want to achieve, before you start buying vintage pieces for your home.

However, sometimes the most extreme types of furnishings can complement each other, so don't be afraid to mix it up. A bit of moxie is needed to create an interesting mix and incorporate vintage pieces into the decor.

Vintage furniture does not need be more expensive than modern mass-produced furniture. One could end up with a wonderful, unique home that cost less to furnish than many homes with newly bought furniture with no style and heritage. The trick is to be an individual...choose a style of interior decoration that you like and create a style around that. Give the decor extra thought to ensure that it is workable and then slowly piece it all together. Creating an individual style does not happen overnight and cannot be achieved in a few shopping trips. You may find yourself looking through yard sales, furniture sales and antiques shops for a while before you find a piece that you think would add a special touch to a room. Patience is needed!

The key to incorporating vintage pieces is not to do an entire room in one style or a 50/50 mix. Instead, aim for a 2/3 to 1/3 mixture of styles or just utilizing a few pieces as accents. For example, one or two pieces of Art Deco-style furniture and a Scandinavian sofa from the 1960s can create a dramatic point of interest in an otherwise modern or contemporary room.


Incorporating vintage pieces is also a great way to display family heirlooms in your interior design. Vintage pieces don't always have to be on permanent display -- they can emerge from time to time and be shown off like a fine collectable, or even incorporated as table-scapes. Finally, incorporating vintage is very eco-friendly! Every time we can keep one piece of furniture or item from going to a landfill, our earth smiles, and we preserve a part of our culture and history. These vintage treasures become our old friends.


Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. His website is To find out more about Joseph Pubillones, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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