You know how sometimes you’re chopping jalapenos and you get distracted and forget to wash your hands immediately and then you absent-mindedly touch your face and 15 minutes later your face bursts into flames? No? Me either. I don’t know what made me think of that.
So I’m sitting on my couch with a cold washcloth on my face feeling AWESOME and searching Craigslist for mid-century modern furniture, which gets frustrating when posters do not seem to grasp the popular nuances of the words retro, modern and vintage.
Technically refers to anything “from times past,” but we can generally accept that in the popular vernacular retro indicates items produced from 1940-ish to December 31, 1979. The 80’s aren’t retro yet and the 30’s are antique. Also, “retro” refers to the modern style as opposed to items from the same four decades that feature traditional decoration like scrollwork, lace, what have you. The second you carve a claw foot into the leg of a piece of furniture, it becomes an instant antique. That’s a rule.
Not interchangeable with “contemporary.” Contemporary simply means current. “Modern” refers to a specific, clean-lined aesthetic popularized around the 1950’s, but is also applicable to current designs in the same style. The term “Mid-Century Modern” pretty much explains itself. No excuses for getting that one wrong.
Also, let’s not be afraid to use the word “antique.” Some people like that kind of thing. People who don’t will be annoyed when they click on your ad for a retro, modern, mid-century, vintage dining table and see a picture of some mahogany beast with claw feet and a Celtic knot carved in the center. We’re not blind.