What Qualifies Furniture to be Vintage? June 13 2017

What is old, is new again!   

Vintage furniture, especially what is considered Mid Century Modern, is a hot trend in home decor and interior design. But what qualifies a piece to be vintage?  It is a term that is loosely used to describe a previously owned piece of furniture; however for a piece to be considered “VINTAGE”  it must be between 30 to 100 years old.  Furniture that is at least 100 years old is classified as “ANTIQUE”.   Any piece that is circa 1990's to present is just simply used furniture. 

We love this Mid Century Vintage Vignette by Emily Henderson. 

What is Vintage Mid-Century? 

Furniture from the Mid Century era is enjoying a comeback in home decor.  True vintage pieces from the Mid Century Modern Movement are highly sought after.  Here at Urban Americana we have a number of dealers who specialize in MCM (Mid Century Modern). One of our dealers, Arroyo Artifacts expertise is high quality, unique vintage pieces. He considers Vintage Mid Century furniture to be from the 1940 to late 1970's.  

To earn the title "vintage" a piece should also be an example of what defined the style of that period. For example, an Eames Chair is a good example of vintage furniture of the mid-century modern era. However, a piece does not have to belong to a well-known line or designer; it simply has to exhibit the best characteristics of that era.

Eames LKR-1 with Alexander Girard Cover

Mid Century Teak Vanity with Drawers

We suggest when shopping for vintage furniture for your home, look for pieces that have a unique quality to them with strong design lines and details for the era.  Some of our favorite designers from the Mid Century Modern Ear are Florence Knoll and Adrian Pearsall. They are icons of the 20th century and their designs have remained timeless.

Rare pair of armchairs designed by Abel Sorenson for Knoll. Model 703wac, produced for one year, between 1945 and 1946. 


The term "RETRO" is also used to describe newer vintage pieces from the 1950s to 1980s. This timeline does mark the Mid Century, but is generally thought of as “Retro” within the vintage category.