Everyone likes nice things, and they like to decorate their environment using those nice things. One of the more basic ways people decorate their environment is through antiques and collectibles; while the two terms are usually paired, there are differences between the two that need to be discussed. While there is some overlap, and thus why they are paired, when you are looking for something to decorate your home there are some very real differences that need to be considered when looking for something to decorate your environment.
What Are Antiques?
At the very simplest, antiques are items that have withstood the test of time and have some sort of intrinsic value. That is, the items have some sort of utilitarian feature that gives them some sort of practical value; for example, dishes, a table, or even a hat rack. These items, at least at some point, had some sort of actual function and they were designed with that function in mind. These items have also been around for a long time, usually fifty or more years; the item needs to have demonstrated some level of permanence. That combination of perceived practicality and proven age is what helps to define an antique.
What Are Collectibles?
Collectibles, on the other hand, are more artifacts of popular culture, regardless of when that culture was around. This is where paintings, comic books, and general memorabilia come in; the idea here is that the objects have very limited practical value, with almost all of their value being in the memories that they evoke. Note the “limited practical value”; while plates and glasses have some practical value, for example, most of their value is related to what they mean to someone. This is the difference between Depression glass and collector plates: The former can still be used while the latter has no real practical value beyond whatever they celebrate.
It should be noted that there are some objects that do not fit easily into either category. Some older paintings, for example, are sometimes considered antiques despite the lack of practical purpose due to their cultural value. The difference between antiques and collectibles does create some practical considerations; antiques usually require little maintenance while collectibles must be meticulously cared for. Also, antiques tend to be worth more. However, those differences do not matter to the person looking to use them to decorate with; all that should matter is whether or not they work for your decorating scheme.