Install a Ceiling Medallion

I bought this ceiling medallion on Craigslist three years ago, before I had a place for it. I moved it three times to different homes; I let it take up space by leaning it against the wall, but I never used it. I’ve finally found a place for it in my office, and the wait was worth it.

My office is quite bare; it doesn’t even have curtains yet. (But bare is better than a project dumping ground, which is what it was before.)

I have things lined up in the garage waiting to get spray painted. I have curtains to make and hang, other light fixtures to replace, and hundreds more projects waiting to be finished. Instead of focusing on one room, we’re redoing all of the rooms in this house at once. Progress seems slow until I look back at our original house photos.

It is insanely gratifying to have finished something with big impact. This is the kind of project that you notice the difference with less than an hour of work.

Ceiling medallions can be made with heavy plaster, but this one is lightweight polyurethane. If you need to give it a fresh coat of paint, use spray paint for even coverage.

Apply Liquid Nails or other construction adhesive and glue it to the ceiling.

Now this is where other normal people would tap in a couple of nails to hold it to the ceiling while the adhesive dries, but we were reluctant to put holes in it. We propped it up with boards and old pillows. Naturally.

You’ll want to go around the edge with caulk to make it seamless with the ceiling.

The vintage chandelier was a gift from my neighbor who lives down the street.  I found the ceiling medallion on Craigslist, but if you buy it new, this one is almost just like it.

The room’s ceiling height is the standard eight feet, but that didn’t stop me from using this oversized medallion. It makes the ceiling look higher.

This project feels like real progress.

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I love it! What a gorgeous piece! I think I’ll be adding one in our living room since the new fan the sellers put in left a gap where you can see a gap…quite unsightly. Can’t wait to see the office all done!
    Kait Palmer´s last post…Little by Little

  2. Wow and double wow, that is super impressive. A timeless classic to boot :)
    Tasmanian Minimalist´s last post…Calling All Readers- HELP REQUIRED

  3. Karen (Scotland) says:

    OK, this is actually to do with the You Might Also Like post: I’m a Quitter, not a Knitter because I can’t see the option to leave a comment on that post anymore. I must have missed that post when I read your archives.
    Just read it and almost fell out the chair laughing. “I still don’t have an afghan. I have 104 coasters.” Maybe the best line I’ve read this week.
    Karen (Scotland)
    PS Ceiling rose is pretty but all I can think of is the dusting. I was given two feather dusters for Christmas from female relatives which I think shows my aversion to dusting…

  4. That’s lovely! I also like the way you’ve played with proportions.
    Rachella´s last post…A year of good things: perfecting the recipe 24/365

  5. That is just the coolest thing ever! I love to see when people do something really unique to a home. And it’s things like this that truly transform a house into a home. Can’t wait to see more!

  6. Amazing how much impact one project can make! Plus the chandelier is gorgeous!

  7. What a transformation!

  8. Gorgeous!

  9. Yay!!

  10. It’s so pretty!!

    But I could never do that in our house. Noel is 6’4” and doesn’t appreciate fixtures that end up directly in his face. :)
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…Book Review: Dublin Dead

  11. Wow, what a great statement piece! Congrats!
    Erica {let why lead}´s last post…How to Prepare Artichokes

  12. Wow! I love this!!! You are such an inspiration… I may have to copy you again! Thank you from Nebraska!

  13. Gorgeous! You have fabulous taste.

  14. I love it! Great idea!

  15. Love love love this! I have a beautiful fixture we took out of our dining room and I bought a more simple medallion at lowes and I want to put both in our bedroom in the worst way …. My husband says no way! ;) wishing and praying for a little girl so I can put it in her room! In the mean time I used a bold ribbon and looped it around the medallion for a “wreath” for the front door!

  16. I love this! The apartment I live in has not 1, not 2, but 3 rooms with gaping holes in the ceiling with wires sticking out where lighting fixtures used to be. So I think I just found a solution via your FABULOUS blog which I am now addicted to BTW! I don’t know how you do it, but each post is an INSPIRATION in FINISHING a project! I have about 10,000 started, and 0 finished. :) Thanks so much for the post, photos and as always, inspiration. MC crampmtsyle
    Mariclare´s last post…How to Hem a Wedding Dress with No Pins, Thread or Clue

  17. Wow it looks great :)

  18. It’s amazing what a difference a light fixture can make to a room. We just got rid of the last brass/glass 90s light fixture in our main living area, and it made me so happy! We found all our “new” ones at the ReStore or places like it–just love older pieces like your medallion and chandelier.´s last post…So, we’re not all a-fire this week…Luckily, other bloggers have some good stuff going on

  19. That is stunning!
    Heidi @Adventures of a Thrifty Mom´s last post…Broken Arm Saga

  20. The medallion looks really nice!

    I think it is interesting to read that you carried this piece around to 3 different homes, yet you are such a minimalist! I don’t mean that as a criticism, at all. I just have noticed that on some home/lifestyle blogs there is on the one hand this theme of minimalism, this exhortation to get rid of what you are not using–but on the other hand bloggers are constantly suggesting that one “shop one’s home” and use things one already owns for decor/organization. It always seems to me that, well, if you are going to “shop your home” you have to have extra stuff hanging about that you’re not using! I wonder how you resolve that possible contradiction, or dilemma, for yourself. How do you decide when or how long to keep something that isn’t actively being used?

  21. Tims Mum says:

    Beautiful! Well done; I love it!

  22. I bought a ceiling medallion years ago and it’s been under my couch in the original packaging ever since. You’ve inspired me to get it out and get it put up. I think I need to find the perfect chandelier though. I love yours.

  23. i didn’t even know what a ceiling medallion was till just now, but i’m looking up at our boring ceiling lamps and thinking a change is in order …

  24. what a beautiful piece! :)

  25. That looks great!!! I’ll admit, I didn’t even know what a ceiling medallion is…and now I kind of want one. It really adds a lot to the room. I can’t wait to see more of your house. The way you turned a 70’s ranch style house into a beautiful, white palace is amazing. Keep going!
    Jennie´s last post…The Games We Play

  26. that looks fantastic! It’s giving my ideas for my bedroom….
    Diane @ The Stripper Project´s last post…Oh Lexi.

  27. This looks like such a clever project! It must make your bedroom look so regal. :-)

    And you made me laugh when you showed us how you held it up with boards and pillows! What a good idea. I too, wouldn’t want to put any nail holes in that beautiful piece.

    Love watching the renovation of your home.

    Mary from Mary’s Nest´s last post…When Diets Don’t Work … Might The Light Weigh Help?

  28. And the room is now finished! Even if it’s empty, it’s finished. That medallion and chandelier are the bomb diggity.

  29. Wow, that is beautiful. I love it when you find something special and perfect…for something…and years later realize how to use it! Makes me believe in synchronicity.
    Catherine´s last post…In defense of magic

  30. It’s beautiful.

    Are your ceilings higher than standard?

    • They’re the standard eight feet, but it could also look higher from the way I was holding the camera.

  31. What a huge difference!
    Jessica´s last post…Earth’s Best Wishes