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 polystyrene 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 accommodate our IKEA pendant light. Many medallions had detailing too close to the middle or were too pricy. This one had detail right in the centre, 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 anyway.

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!

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 have liked. 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.

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.

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…

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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