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How to Install a Ceiling Medallion

With its elegant lines and eye-catching appearance, a ceiling medallion can serve as the perfect anchor for your chandelier or light fixture. Although these decorative elements may look unwieldy, you can easily complete the installation in a day. Find out how to install a ceiling medallion in eight simple steps.

Gather Tools and Equipment

Before you get to work, you’ll need to select a ceiling medallion that works with the room. Choose one that’s the right size compared to the total square footage of the space, ideally with a ratio of about 1-7. If you aren’t sure whether the medallion you’ve been eyeing will work with the space, try creating a paper or a cardboard cutout and testing it out in the room. The ceiling height can affect how well a medallion fits the space, so don’t hesitate to go bigger in a room with high ceilings.

Once you’ve decided on the perfect decorative element, take a few minutes to gather all the tools and equipment necessary for this DIY project. You’ll need the following:

  • Ceiling medallion
  • Drywall saw
  • Power drill with paddle bit and screw bit
  • Wire strippers
  • Wire nuts
  • Compass
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Screws
  • Adhesive caulk
  • Paint to match the ceiling and the ceiling medallion
  • Paintbrush
  • Sponge
  • Mild detergent
  • Drop cloth
  • Ladder
  • Goggles or eye protection

Clean and Prepare the Ceiling

If you’re installing the ceiling medallion in place of an existing light fixture, you’ll need to clean and prepare the ceiling. First, cut the power to the fixture by turning off the appropriate breaker box switch. Remove the light fixture, and cap the electrical wires with wire nuts. Finally, use a sponge and a mild detergent to clean any accumulated dirt and grime from the installation site.

Mark the Medallion

While you can purchase ceiling medallions that are ready for installation, many require you to cut the center hole for the light fixture. To prepare yours, position the light fixture’s canopy on the center of the medallion. Use a pencil to trace around the circumference, and then set the canopy aside.

Next, use a compass to draw a slightly smaller circle on the medallion. Aim to make a circle that’s about a half-inch smaller to leave behind a lip that supports the light fixture while leaving the wiring completely out of view.

Cut the Center Hole

Use a handheld drywall saw to cut out the smaller circle, which will serve as the center hole for the medallion. To create a starting point for the drywall saw, use a drill with a paddle bit to create a small hole in the center of the medallion. Position the drywall saw blade inside the hole, and cut to the edge of the smaller circle. Then cut around the smaller circle’s entire circumference.

After removing the center of the medallion, use a medium-grit sandpaper to leave the cutout smooth and clean. Use an eraser to remove any remaining pencil marks.

Dry Fit the Light Fixture

Ceiling Art Store AMANY-32-AB / SKU: 15239812

Before securing the medallion and light fixture in place, you’ll want to make sure the assembly works together. Hold the medallion where you plan to install it, and confirm you can adequately reach the wiring and hanging hardware through the medallion’s cutout. To make the cutout slightly larger, use sandpaper, and then retest the fit.

Next, ask a helper to hold the medallion in place while you screw the canopy into place on the junction box’s mounting bar. Confirm that the assembly fits and that you can tighten the light fixture properly. Then take the assembly apart and paint the medallion your desired color, which typically matches the trim or the ceiling.

Install the Medallion

Once the paint has dried, you’ll be ready to install the medallion. Turn it over and apply adhesive caulk to the underside. While the adhesive caulk is still wet, center the medallion around the junction box and press it into place on the ceiling.

Attach the canopy to the junction box and secure the canopy in place. Shift the medallion as necessary to center the canopy perfectly. When both the medallion and the canopy are in place, use a drill to drive two screws into the medallion to keep it securely in position. Use additional screws to secure a larger medallion, and take care to drive them slightly below the surface of the medallion. Remove the canopy before caulking or touching up the medallion.

Caulk Around the Medallion

After you’ve placed the medallion, you’ll need to touch up both the decorative element and the ceiling. First, apply a small amount of caulk on top of each screw, and allow the caulk to dry. Next, check for exposed areas between the ceiling and the medallion. If you noticed any, apply a bead of caulk all the way around the medallion to eliminate voids. Be sure to smooth the caulk after application.

When the caulk over the screws has dried, paint over it to create a flawless surface on the face of the medallion. Use the paint to touch up any additional areas on the medallion or on the ceiling.

Install the Light Fixture

Once you’ve secured the medallion in place, it’s time to install the light fixture. Remove the mounting bar from the junction bar, and secure the nipple on the mounting bar. Feed the light fixture’s wiring through the nipple and mounting bar, and then screw the assembly together.

Use a pair of wire strippers to expose a half-inch of each of the light fixture’s wires, and then ask a helper to hold the light fixture in place. Reattach the mounting bar to the junction box, and feed the wires from the junction box out of the ceiling. Connect the matching wires, and use a wire nut to secure the connection.

Position the canopy, and secure it in place on the medallion. Finally, switch the power back on and enjoy your handiwork.

With the ceiling medallion and light fixture in place, you’ll easily take your room’s décor to the next level. From the living room to the dining room to the entrance hall, ceiling medallions offer a much-needed splash of luxury.