Is ‘Vintage’ Really Better Than Store-Bought Style?



vintage decor,vintage furniture,vintage light bulbs

A truly vintage piece of furniture, décor or lighting is usually a pretty wonderful thing that stands apart from the average store-bought design, but there’s a lot packed into the oh-so-trendy v-word that deserves examination.

What makes something vintage, anyway?

The term “vintage” is about as easy to define as an emotion, or a color. How do you define the color blue in words? The word has the weight of something old, and a vintage piece usually is, but age is not a defining factor in the way that it is for antiques.

Something vintage has an attractive character to it obtained through its style, allure and period of creation – although said period doesn’t have to be that long ago.

Who decides what’s vintage?

You do! That’s both the beauty and the challenge.

Anyone can say anything is vintage, and there are no professional standards or benchmarks. The cool thing, though, is that it’s the Zeitgeist that decides whether something is really vintage. Society's collective acknowledgment of vintage quality is the only thing that makes it so.

In other words, a salesperson can say something is vintage, perhaps in the hope that the claim will add value, but the salesperson doesn’t get to make the last call – society and your peers do.

So, are vintage items expensive because they’re vintage?

Not exactly. A savvy bargain shopper will maintain that vintage doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, but an uptown boutique owner will counter that demand always elevates vintage value.

Put another way, from a financial perspective the value of vintage quality is a lot like art: It’s worth whatever a buyer is willing to pay for it.

What is vintage style?

This is where things get interesting. If society decides what’s vintage, and if vintage isn’t necessarily old or expensive, can “vintage” be manufactured?

Yes, and it’s called vintage style. That is, an item with vintage style is one that is crafted to look like what society currently accepts as vintage.

So, which is better: vintage style, or something genuinely vintage?

Again, as with art: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The line between what looks vintage and what is vintage is very easily blurred, and is only really at issue when it’s time to talk price.

So, unless you’re a true collector, something truly vintage may not be worth the extra cost, in which case you may want to consider pursuing something with vintage style that you can often find for a bargain.

If you need more info on how vintage style can work with your decor, you can always find great local interior designers at Porch.com.

This top-rated pendant made of hand-cut glass by Quoizel is inspired by Tiffany, a popular vintage design. 

East West Furniture uses a spool design in these chair legs to capture a traditional look in its Vintage Collection dining furniture.

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