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Decorating With Ceiling Medallions

Apr 27, 2008
A ceiling medallion is a circular, oval or square decorative panel, often made of polyurethane that can be affixed to the ceiling over the outlet of a lighting fixture or ceiling fan. The fixture then appears to hang from the center of the medallion.

Ceiling medallions are usually mounted in the center of the ceiling. They add dimension and design to an otherwise boring and often overlooked area. As well as their decorative promise, they can also hide unsightly conditions of plaster or drywall that can be difficult and expensive to repair.

Decorating with ceiling medallions has been traced back to early Middle Eastern times, though details of their use are sketchy. We know the medallions were duplicated in later years throughout Europe. They caught on particularly well in France and Italy. Italian and French motifs today heavily reflect medallions - many times the medallions are the focal point themselves of the entire room.

In history, medallions were made of very heavy materials such as iron, plaster or marble. They were often extremely ornate and detailed. Famous artists spent many months, or sometimes years, hand painting these works of art.

Today's medallions are more flexible in their usage. There are endless possibilities to design, colors, textures and materials. Medallions can be made of wood, plaster, polyurethane and other material. They are also available as a custom made marble. However, these are extremely expensive and should only be installed by a qualified installer, due in part to their weight.

Ceiling medallions range in size from six inches to as large as 74 inches and larger in diameter. When decorating a small space, like a hallway, a smaller diameter medallion should be sufficient without being over powering. Larger spaces can accommodate the larger styles. This is merely a suggestion, not a rule. You can have a medallion as large or small as you see fit.

One of the best features of using a ceiling medallion is the unlimited amount of options for coordinating fixtures, lamps and other decorative pieces to tie a room together. Many designers will paint or faux-finish them to accent the other colors and textures in the room.

One such faux technique is to create an antique finish by using a base coat of paint and a gold antique finish, which is applied with a rag and a dabbing motion. Different textures of rags will bring different results on your medallion. If you don't like the results from ragging, try a feather or a sponge. It's best to practice your techniques before attempting it with your finished medallion. Always paint or otherwise finish your medallion before installing it.

Medallions can be installed by a professional or by the average do-it-yourselfer. However, if you are not comfortable with electrical wiring, it is best to hire a certified electrician for the light fixture.

Installing a medallion is relatively simple. If you have decided to tackle the project yourself, the first step is to turn off the power to the fixture at the breaker box. Professional electricians recommend you place a piece of tape over the switch to be sure someone doesn't restore the power while you are working.

Your next step is to loosen the screws or fasteners that hold the light fixture to the ceiling. Loosen the wires by unscrewing the wire nuts and gently pull the wires through. Drill four pilot holes in flat spaces where they won't be noticeable.

At this stage, double-sided tape is a big help. Use it to secure the medallion temporarily to the ceiling so you can fish the electrical wires through. Re-attach the wires to the light fixture.

You are now ready for the permanent nails or fasteners. Secure them to the light by putting them through the pilot holes. Nail holes can be concealed with white caulk.

If your medallion is white and it is mounted to a white ceiling, many experts advise filling the gap with caulk around the medallion where it meets the ceiling. This will minimize gaps and shadows.

Many have found additional uses for decorative medallions such as accents to a window frame. Try mounting them directly on the frame at the top corners. Hanging a swag or loose scarf window treatment will complete the look and allow the drama of the medallions to shine through.

Don't limit yourself with the use of ceiling medallions. Give them a try - you'll love the result!
About the Author
Visit GoCeilingMedallion today for a look at some of the most unique styles and the largest selection of ceiling medallions on the internet.
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