"Vintage" is the cool term. "Antique" is the less approachable term, the one that evokes either expense or undesirable relics left in someone's attic over the decades. At least, that's what I seem to observe. To me, though, vintage means newer items, from the fifties and up. Forties and thirties are kind of in that in-between time where I'm not sure where to include them. Antiques are simply older than that. So when I think of vintage, I think of trinket jewelry and felted wool hats and things like that--so usually things to wear. When I think of antiques, I think of lasting items. The vintage things have only lasted a few decades if that, so whether or not they will last much longer is not always certain. But the antiques, they've made it and they will make it. Beautiful wood pieces, rich in their natural color and detailed in their design. Cameos carved of shell. Silver utensils and serving dishes. Etc.
And when I think of repurposing things, I have a different perspective than seems to be most popular at the moment.
I keep an antique serving dish to hold my chalk eraser and a little silver cup that holds the chalk itself. A Victorian biscuit jar I use to hold tea bags (since I don't use many tea bags, mainly just loose tea, I wanted a separate and neat place for the tea bags that I do end up having around). A brass toothbrush holder (at least, I think that's what it is) I use to hold my eyeliner while my makeup brushes I keep in a little crystal vase.
But things that are still useful as what they are? I keep them that way. Silverware. Hats. Pictures. Wooden tables and shelves (including my two beloved whatnot shelves) (remember, they need no paint: wood is beautiful). And the serving dishes that don't end up holding chalk or perfume or whatever else can also still hold food.
I'm of the perspective that if there are things that still exist that are nice, why make new things? If I can buy a nice antique coffee table, why buy a newly made one? If that silverware is still useful as silverware, why turn it into something else?
It's cool to be all "vintage style." But when I look around at my things, I'm amazed at how many antiques I keep around me and just use as part of my day. I don't really do the vintage thing. I just look for quality pieces that I like that I know will last, things that lasted someone else's lifetime and will last my lifetime and will last someone else's lifetime once I'm gone.
I guess that's why I think of vintage as little bits of clothing, like a silk scarf or a pair or silver earrings, that I add to an outfit and antiques as the things on which I build my home's style.
Antique versus vintage--what do the words mean to you?