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If you’re building or remodeling a residential home or commercial property, there are many interior design considerations to make that determine what will work best for your intended use and sense of style. There are different categories of carpentry when it comes to interior design. There are a few terms that often come up when discussing this type of woodworking. 

To begin with, millwork means any woodwork produced in a mill. Items of this nature can include various types of wall paneling, trims, moldings, doors, and crown moldings. Depending on a client’s needs and preferences, these items (as well as wooden flooring, ceiling, and siding) can be made-to-order. When interior carpentry of this nature is tailor-made for the given space, it is considered custom millwork. Custom millwork can be minimal or ornate; again, this is based on the desired aesthetic and function of the space. Pieces of custom millwork are built to the size and specifications of the space; they fit in naturally within the space. 

Another type of woodwork that is often involved in interior design is casework. Casework consists of box-like structures or frames. It includes items like cabinets, bookshelves, and other types of storage spaces. These are not custom made for the particular build; they are prefabricated and meant to be interchangeable or modular. They often come in pieces and require assembly – like Ikea furniture. Since these pieces are not individually made to suit the space, they don’t tend to blend in with the room.

Between custom millwork and casework, each type serves a purpose and has its advantages; one is not inherently better than the other. Contractors will often make use of both. Casework is great for providing a quick storage solution. These pieces come in a predetermined variety of finishes; meanwhile, custom millwork pieces are unfinished for expanded customization options and are built right into the space. Due to the bespoke nature of custom millwork, it is often more expensive than mass-produced casework. 

Properties such as hotels and rental units favor casework to provide standardized features within individual units. High traffic spaces such as lobbies, malls, corporate offices, gyms, and other commercial builds utilize casework due to its cost-effectiveness. If something breaks, it is quickly replaced by an exact replica.

On the other hand, boutique shops and private homeowners are more likely to favor custom millworking because it adds a personalized touch and unique sense of style to the space. For those building, buying, or remodeling homes, custom millworking adds value to the property. 

Decisions involving a choice between casework and custom millwork are often based on budget. Those on a tighter budget may wish to go with casework for less visible areas and add custom millworking accents where they will garner the most attention.