Is it vintage, retro or antique? Or are they the same? Antique usually refers to something 100 years or older. Whether in style or design, a vintage item should represent, in maybe an iconic way, the era in which it was made and should be at least 20 years old. (Otherwise, it’s just used.) Retro, on the other hand, can be brand-new as long as, due to design or style, it harkens back to another age. Sometimes retro and kitschy are interchangeable.

So whether your brief specifically mentions vintage design or a retro feel or whether you’re just looking for a creative spark, bringing back the best of the past can make people look twice. Look for unusual color combinations, textures and patterns. Hand-lettering with a retro flair. Old wooden tabletops and rusted surfaces. A popular design trend, today’s consumers mix vintage pieces into their wardrobes and home decor with wild abandon.

Interior decorators deliberately mix antiques and contemporary decor to make a home look like it’s grown organically over time. Which means, at the end of the day, that choosing images with a hint of vintage can really look quite modern.