Interior Design Published April 21, 2011 By Aaron Schoenberger
Improving Home Value, Appearance With a Lightweight Ceiling Medallion

Decorative ceiling medallions are one of the most gratifying home improvements. Affordable and easy to install, they add visible beauty and value to your home.

The disk-like medallions installed above light fixtures, lift the eye with architectural detail. They add dimension, character and a customized feel to an otherwise empty ceiling. Made to look like classic heavy plaster, wood or even iron, most modern ceiling medallions are constructed of a far less expensive lightweight polyurethane foam or composite wood.

Do-it-yourselfers can hang an average modern medallion with ease from a ladder—using just adhesive and a few screws. There are also specially manufactured medallions, which lock into anchor attachments screwed into the ceiling. If changing a light fixture is a project you feel comfortable with, then hanging a ceiling medallion will be straightforward. If you prefer not to touch any wiring, install a 2-piece medallion, made to piece around the existing light fixture.

Choosing a Ceiling Medallion
Lightweight medallions come in every size and style—with diameters from 4″ to 36″ and designs from Classical to Colonial. Choose a piece, which is consistent with the proportions and style of a room, whether for a closet or a grand entryway.

The diameter of a medallion should be about the same as the light fixture, though it can be smaller than a fan. The general formula for determining medallion diameter is to divide the ceiling square footage by seven.

Many ceiling medallions come with a center hole for feeding electrical wiring, but if there is no hole, you can easily drill or cut one into the permeable polyurethane. Metal medallions are more difficult to cut. The center hole of the medallion should be large enough to allow direct access to the electrical box in the ceiling, but small enough to be hidden by the light fixture’s decorative canopy plate, trim ring or a separate ceiling medallion center.

Before Installing Ceiling Medallion
Save yourself extra effort and pre-finish your ceiling medallion before hanging it. Paint it to match your walls or the crown moulding bordering the room. Or stain the medallion with an antique or faux finish to look like wood or metal. You can also purchase ceiling medallions already prefinished.

Always turn off the electrical power at the circuit breaker panel before removing or installing any light fixture.

Tips for Installing Ceiling Medallions
Clean the ceiling around where the old light fixture has been. Mark off any sections of the ceiling near electrical wiring or plumbing, which you want to avoid if drilling screws.

Check that the threaded nipple, or hardware, hanging from the mounting bar in the ceiling is long enough to reach through the ceiling medallion to where the light fixture needs to attach.

Methods for Installing Most Ceiling Medallions: Apply adhesive caulking to the underside of the ceiling medallion with a caulk gun. Affix the medallion to the ceiling—centered under the hole of the electric box. You can mount the medallion with just adhesive if it is smaller in size—20″or less in diameter. But drilling just a few trim head screws into any size medallion will hold the piece more securely before and after it sets. Apply caulking to the outer edge of the medallion where it meets the ceiling and touch up screws with paint or stain.

Rewire the light fixture to the electrical box. Be sure to feed wires through the decorative canopy plate, which covers the ceiling hole. Secure the canopy to the bottom of the medallion by screwing the collar nut into the hanging hardware from above.

Alternative Method for Installing a Ceiling Medallion: Specially designed medallions, made by Focal Point Architectural Products, can be mounted to the ceiling without adhesive or exposed screws. Instead, the medallion mounts to the ceiling in a lock and key design. The base of the medallion locks into small anchors screwed into the ceiling.

A ceiling medallion can cost anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. It is one of the most modest investments of time and money for the value. Modern materials used in making medallions and mouldings make it possible for any homeowner to lift the look of a room—from typical to notable.

QUICK TIPS

  • A decorative ceiling medallion is affordable, easy to install and adds visible beauty and value to your home.
  • Lightweight medallions come in every size and style—diameters from 4″ to 36″ and designs from Classical to Colonial.
  • Most modern ceiling medallions are constructed inexpensive, lightweight polyurethane foam—made to look like plaster, wood or iron.
  • If changing a light fixture is a project you feel comfortable with, then hanging a ceiling medallion will be straightforward.
  • Install a 2-piece ceiling medallion if you don’t want to rewire the light fixture.
  • Save yourself extra effort and pre-finish your ceiling medallion before hanging it.
  • Always turn off the electrical power at the circuit breaker panel before removing or installing any light fixture.
  • The hole in the center of a medallion should be large enough to allow direct access to the electrical box in the ceiling, but small enough to be hidden by a decorative trim ring.
  • Most modern medallions affix to the ceiling with adhesive caulking and a few small screws.
  • Alternative medallion designs mount onto small anchors screwed into the ceiling—in an easy lock and key installation.

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About Author

Aaron Schoenberger is a marketing executive, entrepreneur, and real estate investor with a passion for business. He writes about a wide variety of topics ranging from real estate marketing to fixing and flipping homes, and has had his work published on numerous industry-related websites. Mr. Schoenberger is a thought leader and is viewed as a authority when it comes to online public relations, social media, and search engine optimization (SEO).


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