When you want to furnish your home with beautiful things from the past, it helps to understand the terms used and how they are often misused. Many people use the word "antique" to describe anything that's really old. "Old" is quite a relative term. Almost all professional antique dealers will tell you that home furnishings are not antique unless they are at least 100 years old. If the approximate age of something cannot be determined, it shouldn't command antique prices. Sure, you can get Depression glass at an antique shop, but its not technically an antique -yet.
"Vintage" is another word often used to mean old, but rarely used in its original grammatical sense. The word should be pared with its era, to mean a fine example of a particular era. However, it is currently used to describe anything that is not quite old enough to be an antique, or maybe even a long way from being an antique.
"Retro" is a nebulous but legitimate style, but when the word refers to individual objects, it means something designed to look as if it's from a bygone era. The item itself is fairly new. Read up on the definitions and common use of these terms in home decorating at Apartment Therapy. Just be aware that everyday people selling old furnishings often don't use the terms correctly.
(Image credit: Continentaleurope)