Modern, lightweight urethane medallions look identical to the much heavier plaster versions of the past.

How to Decorate Walls With Ceiling Medallions

by Michelle Radcliff

You can add texture, form and color to walls with grouping of ceiling medallions, the decorative moldings designed to fit around the canopies of chandeliers. While the medallions may look expensive, you can find reasonably priced versions at many home improvement centers. Most medallions come primed and ready to refinish or embellish any way you want.


Most modern ceiling medallions are made from urethane, a lightweight material with a density similar to that of pine wood. Unfinished urethane medallions look very similar to plaster, and you can leave them white for a strong contrast against a dark wall. However, painting the medallions provides a custom look that will match any type of décor. Faux finishes such as gold leaf, antiquing or marbleizing effects provide a vintage look, or you can paint them in bold, bright colors for a modern or eclectic look.

Monochromatic Grouping

Ceiling medallions painted in varying shades of the same hue create a simple yet effective wall display. A sharp contrast between the wall color and the medallions helps them stand out. Paint chip samples provide an easy solution for color selection. The unified look of monochromatic colors gives the display a chic, designer edge.

Medallion Mirrors

Many ceiling medallions come with precut holes in the middle for chandelier canopies. These holes provide additional decorating opportunities, such as small, round mirrors cut to size and mounted within the space. Canopy hole sizes vary. Medallions without precut holes are designed so that you can cut out the hole yourself according to your canopy size. If you already have a round mirror you would like to frame with a ceiling medallion, look for a design that would accommodate the mirror’s size. If you plan on painting the medallion, do it before you install the mirror.

Texturing a Wall

Ceiling medallions painted the same color as the wall become texturally rich architectural features. On a white wall, you only need to mount unfinished urethane medallions by running a bead of adhesive caulk around the perimeter of each one. For a colored wall, paint each medallion first with the same latex paint you used on the wall before mounting them. Use a variety of sizes with various designs and patterns.

Medallion Borders

Small ceiling medallions create three-dimensional borders when mounted around the top of a wall or at chair rail height. Hand painting each one may take time, but the results will be well worth the effort. Ceiling medallions designed for easy installation around an existing chandelier come in two pieces. Half-circle medallion arches make lovely accents over windows, wall panels, shelves or mantels in addition to being used as borders.

About the Author

Michelle Radcliff owned a retail home furnishings business for eight years. Radcliff offers decorating advice on her blog, Home Decorating News, is a regular contributor on interior design at and earned certification as an interior decorator from Penn Foster College in 2013.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images