Removing a Decorative Ceiling Rose

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife

  • Chisel

  • 3-inch putty knife

  • Hammer

You may need scaffolding to reach awkward areas, such as over staircases.
Image Credit: Hemera Technologies/ Images

Removing a decorative ceiling rose requires no special tools or expertise, but it will damage the ceiling. Old plaster rosettes or medallions, which are more common terms, were bonded to the ceiling with wet plaster. Newer plastic or foam versions are usually glued with construction adhesive. If the rosette encircles a light fixture, disconnect the electricity at the breaker or fuse box and remove the fixture beforehand. After removing the rosette, repair the plaster or drywall and reinstall the light fixture before turning on the power.


Video of the Day

Step 1

Cut a shallow score, approximately 1/8-inch deep, into the drywall ceiling around the rosette with a utility knife. If the ceiling is plaster, cut or scrape a groove through the plaster and down to the lath around the medallion with the sharp edge of a chisel.

Step 2

Direct the leading edge of a 3-inch putty knife's blade against the outer edge of the rosette. If the ceiling is drywall, the blade should fit between the medallion and the drywall. If the ceiling is plaster, the blade should fit into the chiseled groove and under the plaster.

Step 3

Tap the end of the putty knife with a hammer to push the blade under the rosette. Repeat around the perimeter of the rosette, lifting or separating the outer edge. With a plaster ceiling, pry up the underlying plaster to loosen the medallion.


Step 4

Tap the putty knife handle to force the blade closer toward the center.

Step 5

Pull down gently on the putty knife handle, prying loose one small portion of the rosette or plaster. Adjust the blade left or right, then pry again. Repeat around the rosette until it is loose enough to pull off.

Step 6

Grasp the edges of the rosette and pull it off the ceiling.


It is difficult to predict the amount of drywall damage that removing a rosette will produce, but cutting the score around the rosette prevents drywall paper from peeling across the ceiling.

Repair drywall damage such as chips or peeled paper with a thin coat of drywall or plaster repair compound.

Repair the resulting hole in a plaster ceiling with a drywall patch. Cut a patch to fit the opening and fasten it to the lath with drywall screws. Spread drywall joint compound over the seam, cover it with drywall seam tape and spread another layer of compound over the tape. Sanding will smooth the dry compound. Several coats of repair compound may be necessary to conceal the patch.

For a more seamless, but difficult plaster repair, fasten a drywall patch to the lath, then spread plaster repair compound over the patch and several inches of the surrounding ceiling. Press a thin sheet of fine wire mesh into the wet compound, then cover it with several more layers of compound. Feather the edges of each compound layer onto the surrounding ceiling with a wide drywall seam taping knife.


Removing a rosette from a weak, cracked or loose plaster ceiling can cause a significant amount of plaster to fall.

Utility knives are extremely sharp; drawing the blade toward you can result in serious injury.



Lee Carroll

Lee Carroll

Carole Oldroyd, a writer based in East Tennessee, has authored numerous DIY home improvement, Human Resources, HR and Law articles. In addition to holding a degree in paralegal studies, she has more than 10 years of experience renovating newer homes and restoring historic property.