Posted on: 23.09.2022 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

Wood is an essential material that has been used for decades. It can be used for both functional and aesthetic reasons. The demand for millwork is increasing as more and more people show a growing desire to enhance the aesthetics of their homes.

Millwork refers to any woodwork that comes from a mill. It is one of the building elements that architects use to give a house aesthetics and character. Millwork has been an art practiced only by elite carpenters for decades, to make a bold statement.

This article will provide you with the following information about millwork:

In this article, you will learn:

  • What millwork is
  • The history of millwork
  • The current state of millwork
  • The general use of millwork
  • Various types of millwork
  • The difference between millwork and casework

What is Millwork?

As mentioned above, millwork is a broad term that refers to any woodwork made in a mill. If you pay attention, you may notice that decorative accents are incorporated into the doors, ceilings, and walls of your home. Such trim pieces are some examples of millwork. They are intricately and meticulously crafted to achieve the perfect finish for your home.

All millwork items are made from raw lumber. Some commonly used woods include pine, maple, oak, spruce, poplar, and hickory. The installation is relatively easy, requiring only nails, screws, or adhesives. However, a carpenter needs to put in a lot of effort to ensure that the wood constructions are precise. Only then do they bring class and elegance to a building.

History of Millwork

Although millwork is currently very popular, it has been around for years. This is particularly evident during the boom period between 1880 and 1910. During this time, most houses were made of wood, from window frames to floors to trim. Due to population growth, there was an increased demand for residential and office spaces. The result was the massive growth of the millwork industry.

But what led to this massive growth?

  • During the Gilded Age, industrialization led to large machines that could cut and carve wood faster and easier. As a result, carpenters and woodworkers were able to produce better-crafted products.
  • The forest area was vast before European colonization.
  • Industrialization led to the development of better transportation. Therefore, it became easier to obtain wood from different parts of the USA.
  • There were many cheap laborers employed by the wood companies.

During the Gilded Age, the woodworking styles were Victorian, Colonial, Spanish, Prairie, and Craftsman styles.

  • Victorian millwork is considered the pinnacle of British woodworking. Its catalog consists of elegant homes with high ceilings and intricate moldings and arches.
  • Craftsman homes were a style predominant in the US but originated in Britain. The homes were simple, with earthy interior and exterior spaces. The house design relied mainly on wood with crafted exposed beams and wood trim.
  • Colonial Revival is classic American architecture. Its millwork included wood from mahogany, oak, and black walnut. It also had 18th century Queen Anne furnishings. The millwork was simple. It has been popular since the 1890s to date as the designs are timeless.
  • The Prairie style became famous around the 1900s in Chicago. The style has influences from the Midwest as well as Japanese elements. The design and craftsmanship of the architecture emphasize purity. Additionally, the millwork includes spacious interior spaces with wood bands and horizontal facades.
  • The Spanish Revival style emerged during the expansion between Panama and California. Its style was inspired by Spanish colonization. Moreover, it is exotic with Spanish influences and Mediterranean color tones.

What about Millwork Today?

The golden age had an incredible impact on the growth of the millwork industry. The trade that has been around for over 120 years now uses both wood and non-synthetic elements such as glass, polishes, decorative finishes, and fasteners.

Technological advancement allows for creative cuts and designs with the highest precision and accuracy. Additionally, millwork elements can now be applied in other areas besides doors, windows, and entrances.

Common Uses of Millwork

The common use of architectural millwork is to provide a building with functional and aesthetic value. You can create a classical, modern, elegant, or decorative look simply by using the right type of millwork.

Here are some common elements you can create with architectural millwork:

  • Built-in cabinets and shelves. They are the best way to save space while creating an elegant environment. A professional architect should have no problem creating shelves and cabinets that match the theme of your home.
  • Desks and workspaces. Architectural millwork is a great way to modernize your home office furniture. You can hire a professional to design the desk to your comfort.
  • Columns, moldings, and handrails. You can make your home or property even more elegant and stunning by using carefully crafted handrails, supporting columns, and unique moldings. Learn more about a property before investing.
  • Restaurant and bar furniture. The ambiance of a restaurant determines whether you receive customers or not. Customers not only pay attention to the quality of the food. They also want to share the experience with someone else. An architect is great at designing and can help you with that.

Various Types of Millwork

Millwork describes the interior and exterior features of a woodwork made on a lumberyard. Therefore, it gives any interior or exterior space a special character and personality. You can categorize millwork into either interior or exterior.

Interior millwork includes:

  • Cabinets
  • Fireplace mantels
  • Doors
  • Stairs and railings
  • Moldings and trims

Exterior millwork includes:

  • Pergolas
  • Exterior railings
  • Column posts
  • Cupolas and weathervanes

What is the Difference between Millwork and Casework?

Although they fall under the same umbrella term of carpentry, both millwork and casework have specific applications.

Millwork includes finished building products made in a mill. Some examples include countertops, doors, custom kitchen cabinets, and trim. It does not include integral parts of the building such as floors, siding, and ceilings, even if they may be made of wood. Therefore, it is only fair to say that the main purpose of millwork is the development of ornamental products.

On the other hand, casework involves the fabrication of furniture in boxes. It can include shelves, storage spaces, cabinets, kitchen drawers, or bookcases. Since the furniture is not custom-made, it is modular in nature. The main idea behind casework is to create a product that can be easily assembled on-site.

The key difference between the two is that casework is modular, while millwork is custom-made. It is easier to produce casework in mass, while millwork cannot be replicated as the dimensional requirements constantly change depending on the project.

Both millwork and casework have their pros and cons. It’s not easy to determine which is better of the two. However, if you are looking for quick storage options, you may opt for casework. But if you want to accentuate your project and increase the value of your interior design, you may choose millwork.


Millwork plays a significant role in interior design. Woodworking has been around since the Gilded Age and is an outstanding part of our rich architectural history. Today, you can use the same classical skills or add a touch of modernity to bring millwork to life. While it serves both a functional and aesthetic purpose, its most important advantage is enhancing the look of furniture, cabinets, or even walls or other architectural elements in your home.

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