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An Introduction to Ceiling Medallions

ceiling medallion

No matter whether you’re building or remodeling, homeowners want their personal style reflected in every detail throughout their homes. One of the most often overlooked areas of any room’s design is the ceiling. The first step to adding a simple, inexpensive touch to any room is by installing a ceiling medallion. Find out what these ceiling adornments are about and how you can install them.

What are Ceiling Medallions?

Ceiling medallions draw attention to the area on your ceiling where you suspend fans or lights. These flat medallions bring a finished look to your room and allow you to reflect your personal decorating style on your ceiling.

How to Choose a Ceiling Medallion

large ceiling medallion


Ceiling medallions range from 4 inches wide to 4 feet wide and can be installed in any room of your home with a fixture you want to highlight. If you’re building a new home, your medallion will attach above your ceiling fans or hanging lights. During a home remodeling, you’ll have an easier time keeping your lights in place. Moving a fixture is a bit more work, and you would need a professional to move the junction box.


Choosing the right size of the medallion is important. You don’t want one that’s too small and will go unnoticed. You also don’t want a medallion that’s too large that it becomes an eyesore.

Most people place their ceiling medallions to accent a light or fan that’s a focal point in a room. Since medallions are generally installed well above the fixture, they will appear slightly smaller than they actually are. Choosing an appropriately sized medallion is a matter of measuring the room, not the intended fixture.

Calculating the right medallion size for your room is simple by using the steps in the following example:

  1. Measure your room and find the square footage by multiplying length times width (e.g.: 12 feet x 12 feet = 144 square feet).
  2. Divide the square footage by seven (144 / 7 = 21).
  3. The medallion size for a room with these dimensions would be 21 inches or less.

For easier reference, consider these general guidelines:

  • A room with a square footage of 140 square feet or less would need a medallion that’s 20 inches wide or less.
  • A room with a square footage from 140 to 210 square feet would need a medallion that’s 20 to 30 inches wide.
  • A room with a square footage from 210 to 280 square feet would need a medallion that’s 30 to 40 inches wide.
  • Any room larger than 280 square feet would need a medallion 40 inches wide.

While these figures are guidelines, you can choose a smaller medallion if you prefer. Some designers choose bigger medallions to keep the ceiling prominent in the room’s design, while some will choose smaller medallions for a mere pop of stylish flair. If you’re unsure what size you’d like, you can measure out the sizes you prefer on butcher paper and put them on the ceiling to get a better idea of what each size looks like in place on the ceiling.


What are ceiling medallionsCeiling medallion design choices range from simple to ornate. Common styles include Chelsea, Rochelle, Jefferson, Renaissance, and Egg and Dart.

You don’t have to stick with these more traditional choices when selecting your medallion. Many ceiling medallion manufacturers offer dozens of styles with historic patterns, curves, and floral designs in a range of shapes. For a finished touch, consider choosing a ceiling medallion that matches the molding or trim in your room.


Most medallions are plain, white medallions that are easily painted to match your room’s decor. Faux wood or metal finishes or pieces in the room’s accent color yields a stylish touch that brings everything together.

Brushed metal, copper, and stainless steel finishes blend seamlessly with modern lines and sleek designs. Wood finishes give warmth and are exceptional when paired with matching molding and trim. Chalk paint or distressed finishes add a breath of timelessness. For a more authentic piece, choose medallions with mirrors or glass embedded in the finish.


Your choice of material depends mostly on installation. Most finished medallions are lightweight plastic, but some metal and hand-carved wood medallions are available. Consider how much time you’ll need to install your medallion when choosing the material. Heavier medallions need more time to adhere to the ceiling, and you’ll have to use more screws or hold them in place.

How to Install a Medallion

ceiling medallion installation

While many homeowners would consider this task an easy project, you should never do anything you’re uncomfortable with or don’t feel safe doing. Don’t climb a high ladder or do electrical work without another person present. If you’re ready to tackle this challenge, you’ll need the following tools before you get started:

  • Drill
  • Countersink bit
  • Circuit tester
  • Screws
  • Adhesive and paintable latex caulking
  • Wood filler

You’ll need to paint or apply a finish to the medallion before installation.

Don’t be intimidated by the installation process. Follow these simple steps below:

  1. Turn off power at the breaker box before removing the light or ceiling fan.
  2. Remove the fixture and protective plate over the wiring.
  3. Loosen wire nuts and check wires with a circuit tester to ensure all power is off.
  4. Drill holes in the medallion using the countersink bit.
  5. Thread the chain and wiring though the medallion’s center hole; make sure nothing comes between the medallion and the ceiling.
  6. Make sure the medallion’s decorative side faces down. Apply adhesive caulk to the back side of the medallion and attach it to the ceiling.
  7. Reattach wiring and secure with nuts.
  8. Screw in the medallion without overtightening the screws.
  9. Caulk gaps around the ceiling with paintable caulk.
  10. Patch screw holes with wood filler and touch up paint as needed.

With your ceiling medallion finished and installed, you’ll love what this decorative element adds to your room.

For a simple, inexpensive way to add a stylish pop or design point to any room, a ceiling medallion is an attractive option. Now that you know how to choose the right medallion and how to install it yourself, what’s keeping you from embarking on this adventure to liven up an overlooked area of your home?

Questions about ceiling medallions? Share them in the comments section below!

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