Some decorative painting projects require lots of time and artfulness, but this one is so straightforward that it's fine for beginners. The secret is a flexible, semicircular stencil, which you use twice to create a full-circle medallion. There are plenty to choose from; here, decorative painter Ingrid Leess used the Georgian Ceiling Medallion (about $55; Cutting Edge Stencils), which stencil designer Janna Makaeva based on historic plasterwork. "This stencil would suit a pendant fixture, too, or no fixture at all, to add interest to a plain ceiling," says Leess, who trimmed the center of the stencil to fit this large ceiling-mount fixture.

Before choosing a stencil, she recommends folding large sheets of paper into quarters and cutting out rough templates to determine the right size for your project. Though this medallion goes up one half at a time, "the whole thing took only 45 minutes," Leess says. Add 15 minutes to practice the technique on poster board beforehand, and you're still done in an hour. Not bad, given the dramatic impact on the ceiling—and the room.

Shown: For a unified look, choose a paint color that echoes the finish on the light fixture.
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    Tools List

    • dense-foam paint roller
      dense-foam paint roller
    • stencil brush
      stencil brush

    Shopping List

    ceiling-medallion stencil

    poster board

    repositionable spray adhesive

    painter's tape

    styrofoam plate

    paper towels

    metallic craft or latex paint, about 4 ounces

    liquid soap for cleaning up