Antique, Vintage, Retro, Rustic, Shabby Chic? 

What’s the difference?

Some of these terms are age-identifiers and some represent a specific style.  Here is a simple guide to help you more clearly understand the differences between these popular and often misused terms:

Antique – something very old.  Roughly around 100 years old or more.

Vintage – something classic.  Typically 30-80 years old.   Old enough to be in fashion again but too old to be considered “used”.

Retro – something outdated, out of style, or displaying characteristics of the past.  Usually 10-30 years old.

Rustic – refers to style rather than age.  Described as simple, country, rural, unfinished/roughly finished, artless, and unsophisticated.

Shabby Chic – style characterized by new items distressed to give appearance of the age, wear, and tear of an antique.


It is common for certain items to exhibit the characteristics of more than one of these labels.  For example, an antique dresser may have a simple, rural appearance and would fit the rustic definition as well.

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