How Do I Choose a Ceiling Medallion?

Written by Milan Jara on 19th Jan 2023

Adding a  ceiling medallion to any room can instantly give it a glamorous and elegant look without much effort. These decorative features are ornate in fashion and are usually round in shape. They can dress up any ceiling and add a feeling of royalty to any room.

Traditionally made of plaster, ceiling medallions became popular in the 19th century when many middle- to upper-class homes began to install them to create a more decorative  ceiling.

Today, ceiling medallions can give any room in any home an instant facelift. Many even have a nice ceiling fan to go with the light. Modern ceiling medallions are lightweight and easily installed with construction glue or similar.

If you're wondering, "how do I choose a ceiling medallion that's right for my room," read on as we explore everything that goes into picking the perfect one.

What Are Ceiling Medallions Made Of?

From the bottom looking up, you might be inclined to think ceiling medallions use heavy wood material in their construction. However, new designs have changed the ceiling medallion game by using these decorative features boasting wood or polyurethane foam. The foam designs are lighter, cheaper, and easier to install. However, no one will know the ceiling medallion material from the floor level.

Typically, you will find each ceiling medallion fixture installed between a hanging light fixture and the ceiling, giving it an extra pop. Medallions do not serve much of a functional purpose in the home, they're just decoration.

Instead of being handcrafted and ornate, most modern ceiling medallions come from factories. With hundreds of designs available, homeowners can easily find a ceiling medallion that fits their home design.

How Do You Choose the Right Ceiling Medallion?

You cannot simply install a ceiling medallion without first thinking about it. There are some considerations before installing a ceiling medallion in any room.

The Room Size

First, look at the room you want the ceiling medallion to go in. The room size will determine what kind of ceiling medallion you choose. The ceiling medallion should be proportionate to the room size.

You can measure the room, get the square footage, and then divide by seven to get an appropriate diameter in inches for your ceiling medallion. Be aware that this will not work for every situation, but it is a good starting point if you are unsure how to start!

The Style

Next, consider what style of ceiling medallion you want to help enhance or bring to the room. With larger rooms, ornate ceiling medallions with intricate designs would be great matches. For smaller rooms, more delicate and simple designs would do the trick.

Crown moldings are great for gauging what kind of ceiling medallion you should install. The patterns in the  crown molding can help you determine what medallion you need.

The Lighting Fixture

You will also need to consider the size of your lighting fixture when deciding what kind of ceiling medallion you need. The light fixture will be the main focal point in the room, so the ceiling medallion must match it.

You can choose a ceiling medallion larger or smaller than the lighting, but room size is still important. Smaller rooms will not typically have larger light fixtures. That means a large ceiling medallion is probably not in the cards for the smaller room.

The Budget

And lastly, determine the price range you want. Ceiling medallions can be pricey if made from authentic wood and intricately designed. However, your budget may not require a large, ornate ceiling medallion.

You can certainly opt for a lighter, less expensive option with the foam medallions that look just like the real deal. But knowing how much you want to spend is key to finding the right ceiling medallion for your space.

Shapes and Sizes

With new interior designs taking old features and turning them into fresh looks, ceiling medallions have gotten a bit of a facelift over the years. Ceiling medallions are available in various shapes and sizes to meet your specific interior design preferences, instead of just the traditional round, ornate fixtures.

Sizes range anywhere from four inches in diameter to 36 inches in diameter. You may need to install more than one ceiling medallion for much grander rooms.


Beautifully designed circular ceiling medallions provide the perfect accent to any room. Their designs often mimic leaves or flowers, as seen in the above picture. You may also find plain and simple circular ceiling medallions that give a modern space just the right touch of elegance.


Unique describes the square ceiling medallion perfectly. These types of ceiling medallions aren't typically intricate in style, which allows them to bring a more modern, crisp look to a space. Rectangular ceiling medallions are great for larger areas that need something on the ceiling to take up a great deal of space. The same rectangular ceiling medallion in a smaller room would not look as polished.

The square ceiling medallion draws inspiration from older historical patterns and designs. Should you choose a solid urethane material, it will be durable, lightweight, and easy to install without sacrificing the character and detail department.

Unique Shapes

These unique ceiling medallions work perfectly with Napoli fans and help finish the look with the right touch. Ceiling medallions of this style are intricate, and sophisticated, bringing a touch of old-world style to any home. Of course, uniquely-shaped ceiling medallions fit specific purposes, so be aware of your design surroundings before purchasing an out-of-the-box ceiling medallion.

Scalloped Edges

Simple yet classic, scalloped ceiling medallions are perfect for any home that adds more style and elegance. The design will enhance any room and bring a touch of class to any space. The unique shape is intricate and aesthetically pleasing without being overpowering.

How to Install a Ceiling Medallion

Installing a ceiling medallion is a good DIY project for a homeowner to tackle - as long as they understand the steps involved and the installation is done correctly. Ceiling medallions are easy to install and can significantly elevate the look of your light fixture.

What You Need for a Ceiling Medallion Installation

Keep in mind this is just a general list and is in no way extensive. You may find that your installation requires additional tools or steps, or you may not require some of the tools we have listed.

Before starting, make sure the power to the fixture is disconnected and off at your electrical box.

  • Ceiling medallion
  • Finishing nailer
  • Wood filler
  • Sanding block
  • Paint
  • Light fixture
  • Trim head screws or coated screws
  • Liquid Nails or another adhesive caulk
  • Wire nuts

Are you planning to keep your existing fixture or replace it? Either way, completely remove the current fixture before your ceiling medallion installation. You can then use caulk on the backside of the medallion.

Sometimes an adhesive caulk will work better than a different type of construction adhesive because it allows you some wiggle room as you find the best placement for your ceiling medallion. The caulk will hold your medallion in place until you are ready to secure everything.

Next, you will wire your light fixture. Be sure to follow the instructions that come with your selected light fixture and follow all steps when it comes to the electrical wires of your light fixture.

If you have a large medallion, you need to use finishing nails after it is in place and everything is screwed in. A few just around the perimeter of a large medallion will ensure that it stays in place with more than just the adhesive caulk you used during installation. Remember that the ceiling medallion is attached to the light fixture, so it should be secure.

Longer screws are good to use here because they are long enough to get through the light fixture and the medallion.

Use your wood filler to fill any nail or screw holes you made during installation. Sand away any excess wood filler and touch up the paint on your plaster ceiling medallion if necessary.

Here are more detailed instructions on  how to install a painted ceiling medallion.

Modern Ceiling Medallion Ideas

A small architectural detail like a ceiling medallion can go a long way to add personality and character to a space. For example, if you recently removed a popcorn ceiling and found it difficult to smooth out the texture around a light fixture, a ceiling medallion is a great way to disguise this and hide the imperfections left after removing textured ceilings.

Painted Ceiling Medallion

If you found the medallion you wanted but were not excited about the color, paint it! You can easily change the color of plaster ceiling medallions to match your tastes. You can also use an airbrush to add details.

Classic White Ceiling Medallion

You can also keep your ceiling medallion a classic white color so that it blends in with its surroundings while still adding some character. Don't be afraid to go a bit bigger for your ceiling medallion when you keep it a crisp white.

Stained Glass or Mirrored

For an even more unique look and tons more personality, a stained glass ceiling medallion or mirrored medallion can be placed around your fixture or assembled like a puzzle. This will add a modern touch to the space and effectively reflect the light.

As Wall Art

You're not limited to a ceiling medallion location, either. You can use a decorative ceiling medallion as wall art. You can find medallions in different sizes, colors, and patterns and use them to create stunning wall art in the home. They make great focal points and are great conversation starters.

Plain white medallions also work well as wall art, especially when they are of varying sizes and have detailed carvings that pop and add depth to the room.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, choosing the right ceiling medallion for your room isn't difficult, and it can easily dress up an old fixture or plaster ceiling. After uncovering some of the basic design elements of your room, you can identify what kind of ceiling medallion you should use. As well as how many you will need to complete the look.

You should also consider the ceiling design. You may want a large ceiling medallion if you have tall ceilings and ornate molding.

Always keep the design elements you already have around the room in mind, such as the crown molding and wall color. These will determine what kind of ceiling medallion you need and what type will look best in your space. You want to create a cohesive and put-together look.

Ceiling medallions are just one home improvement project you can do to add character to your home affordably and easily.

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