Millwork and Casework: What’s the Difference?

If you’re looking to incorporate woodwork into your residential or commercial space, you’re likely to come upon these two words: millwork and casework. While many people assume these two terms can be used interchangeably, there’s actually a world of difference between the two. Understanding this difference will help you make the changes you want to see in your home or workplace. Here’s what you need to know.

millwork casework mahogany inc

What’s the difference between millwork and casework? Take a look.


We’re experienced when it comes to both millwork and casework, but let’s start with our specialty: millwork. If there’s one key word you should keep in mind when characterizing millwork, it should be ‘custom.’ You will often hear this word used in conjunction with millwork, because it, by definition, involved custom wood.

But what does millwork look like? It is distinct from hardwood flooring, as well as wooding sidings and ceilings. As a rule of thumb, remember that millwork is any custom wooden element that is built into a space (as opposed to furniture, which can be removed from a space). It could take the form of crown molding, door frames, ceiling trims, or a fireplace mantle.

Before we move on, let’s clarify one thing: people sometimes define millwork broadly to include anything that was traditionally made in a mill—including casework. That’s all well and good, but we still think the distinction is a worthy one!


Now that we’ve discussed millwork, let’s take a look at our other topic: casework. In contrast to millwork, casework is not custom. For this reason, it generally does not cost nearly so much as millwork. Consider how furniture is much cheaper when you get it from Ikea than when you work with a local craftsman to have a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of furniture crafted.

Generally, ‘casework’ refers to the production of storage boxes. This could include anything from cabinets, to bookcases, to shelving.  Here at Mahogany, Inc, we most commonly use the term to refer to our work in laboratories and other educational spaces.

Keep in mind also that the difference between casework and millwork is not always so clear. Take, for instance, the example of custom cabinetry. In this example, the product fits the definition of casework in that it is a storage box. But it fits more closely with the definition of millwork, in that it’s customized to suit the space.

Are you unsure whether your commercial space needs millwork or casework? Contact us, and we’ll chat about the possibilities. Mahogany, Inc. can’t wait to transform your space!

Contact Us

Whenever you’re ready to build or renovate a business, Mahogany Inc. has your back. Call us at 410-727-0334 with any questions and speak to one of our licensed professionals. To see examples of our work or to gain inspiration for your next project, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest



This entry was posted on Friday, April 2nd, 2021 at 10:31 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.