4 vintage styles and how to tell the difference between them

Vintage, retro, antique, mid century…Don’t all these names mean the same thing? We get some quick fire answers about each one



Antiques are defined as items that are over 100 years old. Antique furniture is often identifiable by its more ornate, handcrafted look. There are many different eras to discover – visit an antique store or auction house to help you find a look you love.



If you like clean lines and organic shapes, you will probably appreciate mid-century modern, a design style that was popular from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s and is currently experiencing a renaissance. Keep an eye on Trade Me and higher-end vintage stores for these pieces.



Love colourful, kitsch pieces and fun shapes? In this case, try looking for retro items from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Materials such as Formica and melamine were popular during these decades. Op-shops, vintage stores and Trade Me are good sources for these items.



Vintage loosely refers to items between 20 and 100 years old. Scout online and in op-shops for pieces that appeal to you – if you like it, and it fits with your decor, it doesn’t matter what decade it’s from, how valuable it is or who designed it.

Words by: Fiona Ralph. Photography by: Simon Devitt, Jane Dove Juneau, Daniel Allen, Nicola Edmonds.

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