The Differences Between Casework & Millwork
RC Smith
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The Differences Between Casework & Millwork

There’s a general misconception that “casework” and “millwork” are interchangeable terms. While it’s true that millwork and casework work well together for many types of commercial and office projects for all sorts of industries, these are distinctly different design approaches. Let our experts at R.C. Smith explain the differences, so you’re informed through every stage of your project!

Whether you’re interested in high-performance shelving, top-quality office furnishing, or advanced cabinetry, there’s a casework or millwork solution for your unique needs. Casework is typically prefabricated or modular, while millwork is built to your specifications. Deciding what type of constructive blueprint will fulfill your interior design depends on your budget, space, and desired features, among other factors.

Let us help you determine which type of building material and strategy is appropriate for the design services you have in mind by taking a closer look at the differences between casework and millwork.


Millwork gets its name from the mill factories that produce the wood used to build millwork projects. It’s a highly customizable architectural approach compared to casework, as the project is custom-designed and fabricated for the space requirements.

How Is Millwork Used?

Millwork is sometimes utilized to create general furnishings, such as shelving, storage, and cabinetry. However, it is more frequently used when the design calls for a decorative or custom approach, such as intricate display cases, sophisticated countertops, or any designs that require a personalized, artistic touch.

Endless Customization Options

Millwork is a more lavish architecture concept than casework tends to be. Imagine designs that are aimed to visually stimulate as much as they can enhance productivity or convenience.

With that in mind, millwork projects tend to require more time and higher budgets than the average casework installation. They need careful fittings and attachments of varying molding styles to fit as designed.

In the end, millwork comes at a higher cost, since you’re paying for specific measurements and a customized finish.


Organization, adaptability, and affordability are the three primary traits that define casework. Generally, casework refers to cabinets that are built according to a set of standards, meaning it is mass produced and not custom-made for your space. Some customization is possible with modular casework designs.

Casework tends to be more environmentally friendly than millwork, utilizing eco-centric materials that are crafted for durability and rigorous reuse.

Common Examples of Casework

Casework usually applies to cabinets, drawers, racks, shelves, or any other modular design needs. It is utilized in spaces that require optimized productivity, such as pharmacies, laboratories, or any rooms that require high volumes of organization and storage.

Modular Casework for Customization

Casework comes in set dimensions and sizes, meaning exact measurements of your room or space are necessary before casework design and construction.

Modular casework allows for more custom design flexibility, as it is made with a reconfigurable modular design. It’s also more affordable because the dimensions are prefabricated, making it the budget-friendly option.

Industries That Benefit From Custom Casework & Millwork

With DIY on the rise and personalization as the trend, having a unique design option offers more efficiency and flexibility in almost every industry. Custom casework and millwork can cater to your employees and customer's needs; They are commonly utilized in every sector, especially hospitality and healthcare.

From enhanced display counters to more efficient nurse's stations, customized casework and millwork offers greater aesthetics, durability, and unmatched functionality.

Benefits of Custom Casework or Millwork

Modern-day workspaces, research laboratories, and hospitality sectors need a design that offers safety and enhancement, and custom casework and millwork come with many different advantages.

Enhanced Flexibility

Get a functional design that works well in even small spaces to help maximize storage capacity and efficiency.

Consistent Branding

Branding is critical for any business. Custom casework or millwork offers a consistent appearance that helps clients recognize your business, fostering a sense of comfort and ease.

Improved Organization & Efficiency

Every space is unique, and custom casework or millwork can help accommodate this by offering enhanced storage solutions. This ensures your customers and employees can quickly and efficiently meet their needs, resulting in higher satisfaction and productivity levels.

Improved Aesthetics & Property Value

Interior design experts will tell you that any improvements you make to your existing property will help enhance its value. Custom casework and millwork require expert craftsmanship, making the property more functional and aesthetically pleasing, which can be an attractive addition for potential buyers.

Casework vs. Millwork: Which One Is Right for You?

At the end of the day, anyone looking for more intricate, customized, and permanent furnishing solutions should consider millwork, while those in need of a more modestly priced project catered to optimizing organization and flexibility might prefer modular casework.

At R.C. Smith, we’ve been providing design and architectural solutions to a wide variety of industries for nearly 50 years. If you’re curious to find out whether commercial casework or millwork is right for your business, please contact us today to schedule a consultation, or call 800-747-7648 to speak with a professional designer immediately.

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