What is the Difference Between Antique, Retro & Vintage?

We get calls from potential clients saying we have a house or apartment full of stuff, when we ask what they have they will often say “oh a bunch of antiques”.  When we ask more questions or do a home visit – it is often rare that they actually have a large quantity of antiques.  So how can you tell what you have or have inherited?


Antiques are items which must be a least 100 years old.  So that means as of the date of this posting February 2023 the item was made on or before February 1923. 

Furniture, art, jewellery, carpets and everyday objects – like housewares and accessories can all be antiques.  Antiques can be made of any material (glass, ceramic, wood, metal, textile etc) and an item does not need to be of a high value in order to be classed as an antique.


Vintage items are between 20 and 99 years old.  They often bring nostalgia and fond memories to individuals as they think about past years

Many vintage items are nostalgic and are sought after for many reasons besides their age.  This includes decorating and collecting.  And because many of these items are still useable, they are often practical pieces with a unique flair.  More common vintage goods include trading cards, concert t-shirts, toys, china sets, mid century modern furniture.


Retro items are newer designed to mimic styles from the past.  They are usually 20 years or older but not yet 40.   Retro and vintage are commonly confused.  Retro are typically less expensive and easier to find.  Some of examples would be mood rings, CDS, vintage inspired new appliances, such as refrigerators, stoves, and radios.