Introduction

ceiling medallion »
If you would like to add a touch of the baroque to your home without going all broke, consider putting up a ceiling medallion. A decorative disk centered overhead can turn a plain expanse of drywall into an architectural focal point. And luckily, what was once made from heavy, fragile plaster is now available in molded polyurethane—lightweight, more forgiving, and much easier on the wallet. As This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers shows on the following pages, installing a medallion means little more than a morning on a ladder with a tube of construction adhesive. Add a nice chandelier to the equation and your abode will start to feel downright fancy. (Just resist the urge to start dancing a minuet.)
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    Tools List

    • abrasive sponge
      Abrasive sponge for cleaning the ceiling
    • pencil compass
      Compass
    • drill
      Drill/driver fitted with 3/8-inch paddle bit
    • drywall saw
      Drywall saw
    • caulk gun
      Caulk gun
    • wire strippers
      Wire strippers for installing the light fixture
    • caulk gun
      Paintbrush

    Shopping List

    1. Ceiling Medallion Available online or in home centers, in diameters ranging from less than 10 inches to more than 70 inches. You can order a medallion with a center hole precut or get one without a hole and cut it yourself.

    2. Mild Dishwashing Soap to clean the ceiling in preparation for the installation.

    3. Medium-grit Sandpaper to smooth the medallion's center cutout.

    4. Threaded Nipple to attach the light fixture to the ceiling’s junction box. Most fixtures come with the appropriate nipple, but you may need to get a longer one to account for the thickness of the medallion. 5. Adhesive Caulk to stick the medallion to the ceiling, fill the screw holes, and cover voids between the medallion and the ceiling, if necessary. Choose a paintable caulk such as Phenoseal Does It All or Liquid Nails All-Purpose Adhesive Caulk.

    6. Trim-head Screws to fasten the medallion to the ceiling while the adhesive caulk adheres; 3½-inch screws should be long enough, though thicker medallions may require longer screws.

    7. Paint to match the ceiling or the trim in the room. A flat finish will show off the carved details best.

    8. Wire Nuts to connect the light fixture.