How to Install a Plastic Ceiling Medallion

Kevin Ann Reinhart

Medallions, painstakingly molded in heavy plaster, once were used to decorate ceilings. The same effect can be produced today using lightweight and far less costly ceiling medallions made of polyurethane foam. The medallion can be a stand-alone feature to add detail to a ceiling or used as a focal point to highlight a ceiling fan or chandelier. A row of smaller medallions can be used to dress up a hallway. Installation is not difficult. Instructions are given here for medallions around light fixtures; for a medallion by itself, skip the steps on cutting a hole and dealing with wiring.

A ceiling medallion adds interest to a room.
  1. Turn off power to the light fixture at the fuse/breaker box. Remove the fixture. Push dangling wires into the junction box. Make a wiring diagram for reference when reconnecting the wires through the medallion and cover plate.

  2. Clean the area on the ceiling where the medallion will rest using soap, water and an abrasive sponge.

  3. Center the light fixture's cover plate on the face of the medallion. Use a pencil to mark reference points around the cover plate. Draw a circle on the medallion one half inch inside the reference plate using a compass.

  4. Drill a hole inside the circle with the portable drill fitted with the 3/8-inch bit. Using a drywall saw, start in the hole and continue to cut around the marked circle. Sand the circle's edge with the medium grit sanding sponge.

  5. Center the medallion over the electrical box and hold it while screwing the fixture's cover plate into the threaded nipple to ensure that the nipple will be long enough to tighten the cover plate over the medallion. If the cover plate is not snug, a longer nipple is required.

  6. Remove the cover plate and medallion. Paint the medallion to match the ceiling or wall trim.

  7. Spread a bead of adhesive caulk to cover the back of the medallion. Center the medallion over the junction box on the ceiling. Attach the fixture's cover plate to temporarily hold the medallion in place. Drive four countersunk trim head screws around the medallion. Remove the cover plate.

  8. Fill the screw holes with a dab of caulk and caulk around the medallion. Let dry. Touch up the screw holes with paint.

  9. A ceiling medallion dresses up any chandelier installation.
  10. Thread the wires through the nipple and medallion. Re-attach following your wiring diagram. Push wires through the medallion and into the junction box. Replace the cover plate and secure it against the medallion by tightening the collar nut beneath the plate. Restore power to the light fixture.