Difference Between Antique & Old Furniture

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Just because furniture is old doesn't mean it is also antique. Learn the difference between antique and old furniture with help from an experienced interior design professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Antique Furniture Care
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Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Jane Brown, from Jane Brown Interiors and JaneBrownDesigns.com. And, I’m here at this treasure trove of an antique and vintage store in New York called Furnish Green. Today, I’m going to talk about the difference between antique furniture and old furniture. Now, I grew up surrounded by antiques, with parents who were complete connoisseurs, and they would absolutely be outraged to know that people consider something less than 100 years old an antique. So, an antique is something that is at least 100 years old. A lot of stores will say that something is an antique, when in fact it probably has more of a lean of maybe something along the lines of a vintage piece. So, you know, the “traditional” sense is an antique is 100 years old. I guess, you know, a good way to find a piece that is an antique piece is, you know, you can go right back, you know, to the 16, 17, 18, even the early 1900s. There are several ways that are giveaways to whether a piece is an antique furniture or not, and first way is the construction, which is easy for you to have a look at. If the piece has a drawer, just pull out the drawer, and you’ll see here we’ve got the dovetails, which are an indicator that the piece has been well-made. It doesn’t actually say what date it’s been made, but we can see the construction has the integrity that it’s been put together with a dovetail construction. Prior to that, if a piece was cut by hand, you would often find the dovetails, but they would be less, and they would be not perfect, obviously, because they were cut by hand. So, that’s always a really good indicator. Another thing is that, you know, with old furniture or vintage furniture, oftentimes it’s a piece that doesn’t – oh, we’ll look here, actually. Now, this is a great piece here. As you can see, it’s got this wonderful distressed look, and it’s a great-looking piece. The indicator is, is the construction. Now, there’s no dovetail in sight here. You can see that it’s just simply been screwed – actually, not screwed, but nailed and glued together. So, that’s a really fast track indicator of how the construction of the drawer has occurred, actually. The other thing is that people use the term “vintage” a lot now, because it actually helps sell a piece. It sounds much more exciting and sexy than, say, “used,” because prior to vintage coming in, it used to be just used furniture. So, hope those tips have helped, and I’ll see you next time.


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