Who Doesn’t Love ‘Vintage’?

by Susan Custis / Vintage Fusion Suntree, Florida

Once was, if you heard folks deep in conversation about the best vintage they’d be talking about bottles of wine. Wines that carry a vintage year were produced from grapes from a single year, hence ‘single vintage’.

Now days, folks deep in conversation about great vintage might also be talking about the increasingly popular trends in home décor where ‘vintage’ can refer to either the time in which a piece of furniture or other decorating item was manufactured or the ever popular Vintage style of decorating. In the latter case, items thought of as vintage are recognizable and of enduring interest, attractive in design, and of good quality.

When the term ‘vintage’ is used to reference a period of time, an item is generally considered vintage if it is older than 20 years, but not older than 100 years at which point it is considered an antique. The rise in popularity of decorating with vintage pieces or in the vintage style blends a nostalgia for the past with the affordability and trends to reuse, repurpose, and recycle pre-owned furniture and household items. There’s nothing more fun than the ‘wow’ moment of a flea market find that might set the tone or guide the design for an entire room.

Decorating with vintage can take many forms, from using a single piece to make a statement to filling entire rooms with carefully selected and coordinated pieces. Another approach to decorating with vintage is to showcase a collection of vintage pieces, such as pottery or glass, in a setting that has another design focus, like traditional or contemporary.

Vintage as a style of decorating is generally attributed to using the designs of the 1940s and 1950s, whether in reference to original pieces or items that are newly manufactured but created to look like they hail from that period. Certain decorating styles, such as Rustic, Farmhouse, and Country often blur with Vintage decorating with the addition of older pieces of the same style into room design and décor.

The reference to vintage decorating is also often confused with ‘shabby chic’, wherein items are deliberately designed to look old. While the term ‘vintage’ tends to refer to a particular historical period, shabby chic is more about style where interiors are characterized by a faded, worn look, often with flowery patterns and pale color choices. Shabby chic also includes upcycling something old (vintage) to something that looks worn or distressed, but not dirty.


Here vintage and shabby chic increasingly intersect with the evolution and popularity of using mineral based paints on ‘vintage’ furniture, or from any era, along with other DIY trends in decorating. Decorating with vintage is fun and affordable, and can truly make a room, apartment, or whole house feel like a home, regardless of your favored core decorating style.

Florida’s Space Coast is a great place to shop for ‘vintage’ furniture and accessories. Flea markets, thrift shops, and estate sales abound, along with specialty brick-and-mortar shops that offer a wide selection of vintage items. Grab a friend, plan a day, clear out the back of the SUV, and take off for a day of shopping for vintage treasures right here in Melbourne and throughout Brevard County.