Installing a polystyrene ceiling medallion | Hello Victoria

A long way back, I wrote about how we installed a plaster ceiling medallion (‘ceiling rose’ here in the UK) in our living room. It was far more difficult than we originally thought, due to the weight of the large plaster ceiling medallion (we used this one from B&Q). So when it came time to finally add another ceiling medallion to our bedroom, we decided to try a polystyrenee one instead!

See, we were lazy, and didn’t want to spend all that time and money on installing a plaster ceiling medallion. That, and the fact that the selection was incredibly limited at local DIY stores – we couldn’t find one in the right size that wasn’t insanely expensive. So, after our success in installing plastic coving in our kitchen, we decided to go the same route with our ceiling medallion. Plus, it takes like 5 minutes to put up!

We ordered this ceiling medallion from Amazon, as the middle circle was large enough to accomodate our IKEA pendant light. Many medallions had detailing too close to the middle, or were too pricy. This one had detail right in the center, but the smooth expanse around it was wide enough for our needs. We simply cut away the middle detail, as our light would cover it anyways.

Installing a polystyrene ceiling medallion | Hello Victoria

When we received it, I was a bit disappointed. It wasn’t smooth and ready to paint, like our coving had been, but resembled polystyrene packaging. It had that rough nubbly surface. So, I thought I would try a trick I read about on Daniel Kanter’s blog Manhatten Nest. He painted his plastic medallions with watered down plaster/filler to help make them look older. I mixed up some, but I think I made it too wet… when my first coat of primer dried, huge cracks formed all over the surface!

Installing a polystyrene ceiling medallion | Hello Victoria

I was sooooo bummed, as sanding a detailed medallion is ridiculous. I tried to remove the larger cracks with sanding, and then hoped that a few coats of primer would fill in the rest. Well, it took like 6 coats before they started to look okay, but even then had more texture than I would like. After primer, I used our ceiling paint to do a couple more coats.

It still has a bit of a rough/sloppy look when you see it up close… but definitely doesn’t look brand new! If I were to redo this, I would skip the joint compound, and simply do a couple rough primer coats, allowing the paint to soften the edges.

Installing a polystyrene ceiling medallion | Hello Victoria

Once it was all painted, I simply applied some No More Nails to the back, and stuck it up in place! Took me all of 5 minutes to install. Then I just re-attached the lamp, caulked around the edge, and painted it once dry.

Installing a polystyrene ceiling medallion | Hello Victoria

So my verdict? I would definitely recommend polystyrene medallions for the ease of installation, and removal. They are so quick to put up! But, I do still prefer the look of the plaster one. Maybe it’s just because I know it’s plaster, but I feel like it has more visual weight to it. Or maybe that’s just because it’s bigger 😉 The one that Daniel Kanter used in his kitchen definitely had more presence to it, so perhaps it’s not because it’s polystyrene, but because we chose one that was too thin. Hmmm…

Installing a polystyrene ceiling medallion | Hello Victoria

I think in the future I’d use plaster ones in my forever home, because I like the thought of using real permanent materials, rather than plastic. But for this wee flat?

Polystyrene my friend, hands down!

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2 Comments on Plaster vs. Plastic: Installing a Polystyrene Ceiling Medallion

  1. Hi, hope you dont mind the question. Just reading your article. How did you actually secure the pendant to the ceiling/rose, after the ceiling rose was on the wall?

    We have a polystyrene rose, and a lovely light pendant to also fit to it, but can’t figure out the best way to do it, without seeing the screws from the pendant, in the ceiling rose?

    How did you go about that bit please?


    • Hey Sarah, so sorry about the late reply. I’m sure you no longer need the answer but I’ll provide it anyways. It all depends on the exact pendant you’re using; the IKEA one that we used had an internal mounting plate with screws, then the actual pendant rose twisted on to it. So there were screws involved, but you never see them from the outside.

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