Should Ceiling Medallions Be Painted?

Ceiling medallions come in so many different styles and designs. They provide ornamentation and architectural interest in a room, but they can also be used when changing a lighting fixture to cover up gaps and holes from previous lights. Many people wonder if they should paint a ceiling medallion and what color to paint it. WE did the research to answer these questions and more.

Ceiling medallions can be painted based on your own individual preference. There are many ways that they can be painted to coordinate with the existing features in a room or to fit with a certain theme you have in mind.

If you're interested in painting a ceiling medallion, keep reading to paint it to coordinate with different room parts. This article will also cover various finish options, materials needed to paint a ceiling medallion, and how to paint one effectively.

white ceiling with medallion and wooden ceiling fan. Should Ceiling Medallions Be Painted

How To Coordinate A Ceiling Medallion To The Room

ceiling fan with wooden blades attached to a white ceiling medallion

Ceiling medallions can be painted to match the ceiling color, trim color, a favorite piece of furniture, or the overall theme of a room. Because they are sometimes thought of as old-fashioned or regal, a finish can also give them an antique look. The most common color choices to use are white and metallics, but there are other options.


Because white is a common ceiling or trim color, many people choose to paint their ceiling medallions white as well. If the ceiling is white, painting the medallion white can help the medallion blend in. This look almost makes the medallion appear to be part of the ceiling. 

If your ceiling isn't white, but you have white trim, painting the medallion white can help the trim stand out more, especially if your trim and medallion have designs on them or are ornamental. Having the medallion and trim accent each other in this way will make the ornamentation stand out and provide visual interest.

See More: Do Ceilings Always Have To Be White?


For a bold look, paint the ceiling medallion a metallic color such as gold, silver, or bronze. Painting it a metallic color is a great way to draw attention to the ceiling medallion and light fixture, especially if the medallion has a unique or interesting design. However, when painting a ceiling medallion metallic, the look works best if you match the metal on the lighting fixture. For example, if the metal part is gold, the medallion should be painted gold as well.

Other Colors

If you have a specific piece of furniture you love that is the focal point of the room, consider painting the ceiling medallion the same color. Doing this will help the medallion stand out as an accent and help balance the furniture simultaneously. 


Ceiling medallions can also be enhanced using finishes such as verdigris, wood, or marble. Verdigris is a great choice if you like an antique look. Applying this finish can make a metal ceiling medallion appear to be tarnished or oxidized, creating the illusion that it is older and antiquated.

If your medallion is made of wood, you can paint it with a wood stain to change the color. If you're talented with a paintbrush, you can also make any material look like wood by painting wood grain on it. Or you can marbleize it by painting it to have a stone-like appearance. The video below shows you how to paint a faux marble finish.

Get Creative

If you're feeling creative, you can always stencil or hand paint a design onto your ceiling medallion. This is a great option if your medallion is plain, without any carved designs or decorations. There is no limit to what you can create using paint or stencils.

Check out this simple ceiling medallion on Amazon.

Or, click here to see this more decorative option, also from Amazon.

How to Paint a Ceiling Medallion

painted red ceiling medallion

If you are buying a ceiling medallion to install in your home, most of them already come in white. That's great news if you want a white medallion. But if you want to paint a white medallion a different color or change the color of an already painted medallion, it's not a challenging process. If you want just one color, the easiest way is to use spray paint. Follow these steps to paint a medallion using spray paint.

1. Choose a Location

Before you use spray paint, you should choose a well-ventilated location. This is due to the fumes that are produced by spray paint. Outside, a garage or a screened porch are the best options. 

2. Lay Something Underneath

To protect your porch, garage floor, or yard from getting paint on it, you should spread something out underneath the ceiling medallion before you paint it. Drop cloths work best, or you can use trash bags or newspapers instead.

3. Prepare the Surface

If you buy a ceiling medallion, usually the surface will be ready for painting. But if you are painting a new coat on an older medallion, you will want to prepare the surface so that the paint sticks. For best results, clean it, sand it, and use a primer before painting.

4. Test the Paint

Before using a new can of spray paint, shake it well. Then, on a separate area of the drop cloth or a piece of cardboard, test the spray paint to make sure it works and the color is what you want. You will also want to do a few test sprays to get the paint to flow well.

5. Apply a Thin Coat

Apply a thin coat of spray paint to the ceiling medallion using sweeping motions to move the paint across the surface. Start at one side and move across to the other side. Repeat the action until the whole surface is covered. Apply more coats as needed until the paint is consistent and to your liking.

6. Let It Dry

Give the paint plenty of time to dry before you move and install the medallion. Drying time will depend on the spray paint brand you have and how many coats you used, but the can should have a recommended drying time on it. The video below will show you how to spray paint a ceiling medallion and apply a metallic finish.

When Should You Use a Ceiling Medallion?

In the 19th century, ornamental ceiling medallions were mostly used for decoration and were a sign of wealth. Today, ceiling medallions have many uses, but the most practical use is to cover gaps or holes in the ceiling made by replacing a light fixture with one with a smaller ceiling box.

Sometimes, the hole created when installing a light fixture is too big for the ceiling box and the plate that covers it. Medallions extend several inches out from the ceiling box, and installing one is the best and easiest way to cover a hole. 

See More: How Can I Decorate My Bedroom Ceiling [10 Awesome Suggestions]

What Are Ceiling Medallions Made Of?

In the 19th century, ceiling medallions were made of either plaster or carved wood. If your house was constructed during this time and the ceiling medallions are original to the house, they are likely made of one of those materials.

Today, most ceiling medallions are made of polyurethane plastic and are mass-produced. The good news about them being mass-produced is that there are tons of different styles and sizes for you to choose from.

How Do You Attach a Ceiling Medallion?

Attaching a ceiling medallion is an easy process that can be done with a few tools. Here is what you'll need:

  • Caulk
  • Trim-head screws
  • Wire nuts 

Follow these steps to install a ceiling medallion.

1. Remove the Light Fixture

Turn off the power to the light that you're installing the medallion on. Once the power is off, remove the light fixture and cover the ends of the wires with wire nuts. Clean the area of the ceiling around where the light fixture was removed. 

2. Prepare and Attach the Ceiling Medallion

If you wish to paint your medallion and haven't yet, do so now. When the paint on the medallion is dry, apply adhesive caulk to the back of it. Place the medallion so that it is centered over the hole from the light fixture and press it to the ceiling to attach it. 

3. Secure the Medallion and Reattach the Light Fixture

Use trim-head screws to secure the medallion to the ceiling. The screws will help to hold it in place during and after the caulk dries. Cover the screw heads with more caulk and touch up any paint if necessary. With the power still turned off, carefully reattach the light fixture. Make sure to turn the power back on when you're finished.


Ceiling medallions provide both a functional and decorative purpose. There are so many styles to choose from and ways to paint your medallion to showcase your unique personality or fit with a room's theme. Hopefully, this article gave you the information needed to paint and install your own ceiling medallion. Thanks for reading!

One comment

  1. The ceiling of my new house has a medallion that’s been covered with ceiling paint. It has a nice floral pattern and I would like to add some subtle color to it. What type of paint would you recommend using.
    Thank you

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