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Add to Your Light Fixtures with a Ceiling Medallion

by Marcus Pickett

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A ceiling medallion is an easy way to spruce up the lighting fixtures throughout your home. By adding one of these simple additions to the base of any ceiling lighting fixture, you can add an air of elegance and class to the living areas in your home.

Ceiling Medallion Basics
A ceiling medallion is simply a decorative, usually circular, ceiling addition that you apply to the base of your fixtures. Think of elegant homes, and how there's rarely any small, brass, dome light fixtures that fit directly into the drywall. Instead, light fixtures are surrounded by a decorative garnish, anywhere from a few inches to several feet that add an extra aesthetic appeal to an area. Usually decorative medallions are graced with flowing curves, floral patterns, and other traditional decorative patterns.

Ceiling Medallion Design and Materials
A medallion can be made from any of a number of products. Traditionally, they were cast in plaster, which translated into beautiful results but also heavy, fragile fixtures that modern homeowners no longer abide. Newer decorative ceiling medallions are usually made of a polymer plastic that is lightweight, durable, and very easy to install. Almost all medallions are painted, or appear so. That said, if your budget allows, there are specialty manufacturers that make metal medallions of stunning brass, copper, and stainless steel, for higher end decorating solutions.

Choosing your medallion is mostly a matter of personal preference and current home design. You want to choose a medallion that matches your personality and your home. Before you decide to purchase, however, there are a few steps you ought to take to make sure you're making the right choice.

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  • Proper Sizing: One of the biggest homeowner mistakes is purchasing a medallion that is too big or too small for the room where they want it installed. To avoid this problem, cut out paper templates of various sizes that you can hold up around your light fixtures to get a better idea of the impact your new medallion is going to have on your room. It'll take half a Saturday to do right, but it can save you major headaches down the road when you realize you've ordered a medallion that swallows up the room, or that isn't big enough to be noticed.

  • Decorative Cohesion and Light Fixtures: It's very important to look at decorative cohesion before purchasing a new medallion. That medallion is going to be a centerpiece of your room, and people are going to notice if it clashes with the existing light fixtures, crown molding, or other decorative trim in your home. Take note of your current design features, and make sure to buy a medallion to match.

  • Ceiling Medallion Installation: Ceiling medallion installation is a feasible DIY project for a reasonably handy homeowner. But it's also more difficult than it looks and the potentially negative consequences are often graver than you imagine. You'll be working around electricity, so make sure you know what you're doing and turn off electrical sources at the fuse box before you start any work. And consider that this is a decorative addition: Sometimes it pays to hire a professional experienced in finish carpentry and other decorative home improvements just to ensure that you don't scratch, dent, damage, or otherwise blemish what is going to be a decorative focal point of your home.
    Marcus Pickett is a professional freelance writer for the home remodeling industry. He has published more than 600 articles on both regional and national topics within the home improvement industry.