I’ve had lots of requests for this post, and figured a DIY tutorial was in order. It’s no secret I’m a big fan of ceiling medallions, as you’ve probably noticed them throughout our home renovations in the past. They’re very simple to install and really elevate the look of any light fixture. It’s a simple piece of millwork that feels like the finishing touch on the ceiling- especially if you have a beautiful fixture you’d like to emphasize. Obviously we’ve had millwork on the brain as we’re mid renovation in one of our guest bedrooms. Last week I shared our tutorial for installing panel moulding, and this week we’re shifting gears to focus on the ceiling. Click through for our complete tutorial on how to install a ceiling medallion, my thoughts on medallions with textured ceilings, why medallions vastly vary in price, how to determine what size medallion you’ll need, examples of how I’ve used ceiling medallions in the past, and to see which light fixture I landed on for our guest room renovation- spoiler alert… it’s beautiful!
I’ll begin by saying, pre-painting your medallion is the easiest thing to do, but you’ll still end up doing some touch-up painting at the end of the installation. I used “Ceiling Bright White” by Sherwin-Williams for my medallion this time around.
SUPPLIES + TOOLS
- finishing nailer (with compressor)
- sanding block
- light fixture (linking ours for this project)
- ceiling medallion (linking ours for this project)
- longer screws (you’ll want these to match the thread of whatever screws came with your light fixture… just longer!)
Step 1 // Remove the existing fixture. Whether you’re planning to keep your existing fixture or replace it, you’ll need to completely remove it before installing your ceiling medallion.
Step 2 // Caulk the backside of the medallion. This is an important trick we’ve learned over the years. Caulk works much better than a construction adhesive because it gives us wiggle room and time to perfectly center our medallion while securing it to the ceiling.
Run a bead of caulk all the way around the perimeter of the medallion and position it on the ceiling. The caulk will hold it in place until you’re ready to permanently secure the ceiling medallion.
Step 3 // Wire the light fixture. Next, it’s time to wire your preferred light fixture. You can do this by following the instructions on your specific fixture. It’s pretty self explanatory.
Once you have it wired up, stuff the wiring up into the housing, out of the way- like shown below…
This is where your longer screws will come in handy. The hardware that comes with your fixture are most likely too short to go through the medallion. Secure the hardware loosely, but do not fully tighten it at this point…
Step 4 // Center the medallion. Since you loosely secured the fixture to the ceiling, you should be able to slide your medallion (thanks to the caulk) until it’s centered with the light fixture canopy.
Once you have it adjusted and centered, go ahead and fully tighten and install the fixture.
Step 5 // Install a few finishing nails. This step is more important for larger ceiling medallions (15″-20″ or larger), but we tackle this step for all sizes… just to be safe. Tack a few finishing nails around the perimeter of the medallion, on an angle. This will keep the medallion from sagging as time goes on. The light fixture is actually holding the medallion to the ceiling, not the caulk– so adding these small nails will ensure it stays in place without drooping over time.
Step 6 // Fill the nail holes, sand, and touch up the paint. Next, you’ll want to fill the nail holes, sand the excess filler, and touch up the paint on the medallion.
Step 7 // Finish installing the light fixture. The final step is to finish installing the light fixture. In our case, we needed to install the pedant portion of the fixture, a lightbulb, and the glass “bubbles”.
Isn’t this bubbles chandelier from Annie Selke so beautiful?! This has me really excited to keep pushing to finish this room. You can catch the entire guest bedroom design plan here. This light fixture has been apart of the equation from the very beginning! It’s going to be amazing once it’s totally finished. I’ve got big goals for this space.
Now that you know how to install a ceiling medallion, I’ll share some examples from our home renovations and I’ll answer some questions you sent over! Ready? Let’s do it!
What about textured ceilings?
My ceiling texture preference is always smooth. However, I think ceiling medallions can work with a multitude of ceiling textures… so don’t let that deter you. Our current ceilings are textured throughout our home. As we renovate, we’ve been replacing the ceilings or skim coating them. However, I’m fairly certain we won’t smooth every single ceiling in our house. There are some ceiling textures I can live (like our current texture) and others I cannot (like popcorn ceilings). Depending on your ceiling texture, it’s important to weigh the ROI, consider the extent of your renovation plan, and determine if skim coating or replacing the ceiling altogether is worth the expense.
For now, we’re addressing the ceiling as we renovate… and some rooms might not get a perfectly smooth ceiling. Our ceiling texture isn’t terrible. I’ve seen much worse and it doesn’t bother me like a popcorn ceiling would. If I had to predict how we’ll approach this- the bedrooms upstairs will probably keep their textural ceilings, but the main level and basement will most likely get new ceilings because of the extensive renovations we have planned for the future (knocking down walls, taking a space to the studs, etc). We’ve only had to do minor drywall repairs upstairs, so replacing the ceiling doesn’t feel worth it. The main thing to remember is to keep things cohesive and intentional!
Why do ceiling medallions vary in price so drastically?
Ceiling medallions can range from $10 – $1,000. It’s kind of crazy! The price difference boils down to intricate details (like gold leaf or gilded features), the material, and the size. We typically like to stay in the low to middle price range. Our preference is a single piece medallion because they are easier to install (rather than two pieces split down the center that have to fit together), and we prefer plaster, wood, or primed polyurethane (which looks and feels like hard foam). The medallion in this tutorial was a lower end option, which cost $17 for a 16″ round medallion made of polyurethane.
What size of medallion do I need? How do I determine that?
You have to consider the size of the room rather than the light fixture itself. Measure the length and width of your room in feet. Multiple the length and the width, then divide by 7. This will give you the proportionate medallion size in inches. For instance… a 10‐by‐14 foot room calculation would be: 10 feet x 14 feet = 140 square feet divided by 7 = 20 inches diameter. You can use that dimension as a starting point and determine what looks best with your light fixture, plus or minus a few inches.
Should you always paint your ceiling medallion white?
No- I do like it to match the ceiling though… unless I’m intentionally designing a space with contrast trim or millwork. In our previous bathroom, I painted the ceiling medallion black. It was really more for texture and added millwork interest.
I hope this post was really helpful! If you have any questions, please leave them for me in the comment section below. Have you ever installed a ceiling medallion? Are you a fan of the look? I’ll link a bunch below, if you’d like to give it a try! Everyone have a great week.